Monday, December 26, 2011

NZ Discount Internet Shopping Tips

Spend to Save
Save money, whether if a cash strapped student or cost conscious consumer, by looking for bargains both offline and online, and by using discount cards, coupons, fly-buys, price comparison websites, shopping search engines, and other types of incentive schemes. Browse local NZ auction and discount or deal websites but also include overseas retail, auction, and eCommerce online stores. Major global online shopping sites like Amazon eBay, Overstock, Walmart, Harbour Freight, Bizrate, Borders, NexTag, Macy's, and others provide a vast range of products including at discounted prices. Though there may be shipping costs and country exclusion regions (e.g. NZ) to contend with, but you can try use third part shipping companies. Image by djayo.

Generally products sold online in USA have a vast range not easily (or readily) purchased in NZ. I have purchased many watches, batteries, chargers, and car parts from USA based internet stores, cheaper than in NZ, of which some items were not available in NZ at the time. I describe in my PC blog, a segmented approach on how to purchase online Mustang car parts from USA. But of course online shopping can be dependent on consumer internet shopping or browsing habits (e.g. if goal focused or experimental) as described in this report from California State University. Also a consumer choice, e.g. transport, temporary price reductions, transport costs, bulk buys, etc in an attempt for overall savings as researched by University College London and other research institutes.

But for NZ related discounts, their are specific discount cards, stores, vouchers (e.g. grocery shopping), and websites to help with savings for purchases or services. Auckland University and the NZ Health Council Research has shown discounts for healthy food was more effective than nutritional education as described in their health food report (pdf file). So not just monetary savings, but other benefits can be attributed

 Graph of Individual Online Purchases by Age For 12 Months For 2006 and 2009
(Click For Larger View)

NZ Online Purchase Data for Individuals
Source: adapted from Statistics New Zealand

NZ Internet for Bargain Deals
Go shop...Online
Student ID Card
Generally apply when enrolled at your tertiary institution, e.g. Auckland University, Open Polytechnics, and Otago University. The password or pin coded card is often required for online services, library resources, assignments, exams, and similar services. But also useful for discounts for bus travel, academic books, takeaways, clothing, music stores, movies and related entertainment, shopping, and in-store savings. Many campuses provide brochures or booklets with current discounts, and their websites and perhaps local advertising media (e.g. radio) advertise specials and discounts. Of course always ask at stores you frequent for using it, and remember to carry it particularly at your institution. There is also the International Student Identity card (ISIC) for worldwide benefits and discounts. This include hostels, budget hotels, travel, museums, entertainment, and more. Image by ilco.

NZ Student Card
Can you as a student be without it? Might depend on lifestyle, spending habits, but then again their may be times when it might come in handy. So perhaps be prepared for such times by signing up and enjoy savings and deals on a range of products and services. This includes for travel, entertainment, automotive, food, clothing, household, and more, from major brands and companies, such as Vodafone, Burger King, Pascoes, Inter islander, and many more. Remember to carry it around, and to actually use it.

NZ Comparison site which compares pricing for 1000's of consumer electronic and computer products. Search by sub categories, brands, to view a range of products NZ stores offering the lowest (and highest) prices. Categories include for Computers, Home Appliances, Audio/Video, Mobile phones, and more. Can also filter based on brands, product features, user ratings, no. of stores, specifications, and more. The site is comprehensive, so may take a while to get use to it with it's vast range of comparative data. But the site links out to physical online stores for you to visit. And save. Don't forget to use the search function, if you know the brand, and to check the store (as in ring them) if the product is currently available.

Videos of Savings Reward Cards

AA Smart Fuel DiscountAir New Zealand Air Points

Is a nice simple shopping comparison site to quickly find and compare price for various products including electronics, home and garden, fashion, beverages, gifts, office items, and more. Perhaps sign up to their newsletter, and visit their popular items, and brands section. Priceme's research indicated that pricing is an important factor, as well as purchasing from reputable brands. Product reviews and video demonstrations are also important.

Comparing Digital Cameras on Pricespy
(click for larger view)

pricespy for comparison discounts

Well known and heavily visited New Zealand auction site to search for bargains. If new to NZ, then sign up, because you can make money by selling. But you may want to learn a few tips, e.g. auto bidding, setting reserve pricing, auto selling, photo listing, etc by visiting their help section. Some selling tips from my Trademe related blog. There is also the success secrets book. I'm sure many NZ's with a internet enabled PC visit to at least browse the site almost daily, so if you have not, them perhaps do so. But be vigilant of unsolicited emails claiming to be from Trademe that request contact details, as there have been known phishing scams, which might involve fake Trademe sites. Also cheap offers that may never occur, as described in tips for safe internet shopping.

Trademe for Bidding, Buying and Selling
(click for larger view)

trademe for students

STA Parts
I mention this site because of the huge discounts I have experienced for certain automotive parts, accessories and service products. Even after shipping a few products, I still made significant savings. The downside though is some parts may not be available, or you may have to wait a while before parts become available. Best to ring them.

Videos of Visa Debit and Onecard Shopping cards

Visa Debit BenefitsOnecard Shopping Features

Discount Cards and Coupons
There are many NZ discount or credit related, competition, free samples, coupon, and online survey websites (e.g. I participate in NZ Valued Opinions for gift cards) for credits. Such stores often relate to shopping (e.g. Farmers, The Warehouse, etc), airline travel, chemists, hotels, cafes, text books, hair salons, membership clubs, phone calls (chat cards), merchant stores, restaurants, cinemas, and so on. New Zealand discount and related websites include one day deals, deal a day, 3 deals, go voucher go, voucher store, ezycoupons, and many more.

So ask if your student card  is applicable when shopping (including online) or for services being done for you. But find out how discounts work, as it may based on a loyalty system, minimum spend, nominated referral, accumulated credits, survey participation, certain days or time restricted, and other types of involvement or conditions. There are also student specific discount products, notably for software, e.g. at lap shop and yoobee. Perform a Google NZ site search for finding discounts, adding relevant search terms such as products, location queries, and common deal terms, e.g. books, clothing, software, glasses, appliances, savings, competition, free, promotions, giveaways, etc.

New Zealand laptop Internet Global Shopping for Savings
Laptops for Online
Global Shopping Engines
For a more global perspective for best seller deals, ideas, and discounts, try well known shopping comparison, and auction sites like Amazon (best seller list - listed after conducting a search), ebay pulse, Yahoo Buzz, [Google Shopping - Google Suggest (Drop -down queries in Google Search) - Google Keyword Tool (for alternative queries and terms)], Shopping Com (Top 100), Price Grabber Com, Next Tag Com, Etsy Com, Shopzilla Com amongst many others. The trick is you need to sometimes find or think of equivalent names and related part numbers (if needed) for certain products to conduct a quick and relevant search. Laptop Image by jscreationzs.

Online Shopping Browser Add-Ons, Extensions, and Mobile Apps
These help improve your online experience, when product browsing in Google's Chrome, Firefox, and Safari Internet Browsers. Features include displaying lower prices (if available), comparisons, reviews (helpful if no reviews on your current shopping site), related items, trends, discount codes, and coupon specials. You need test to find which utility is suitable, and generally apply to US, UK, major retailers, and well known branded online stores. Popular add-ons include Invisible Hand, ebay sidebar, Price Blink, Ciuvo, Window Shopper, and Amazon "Add to Wishlist" (from any site). Pricing comparison add-ons, including for the Chrome browser are reviewed at The Hongkiat blog.

Invisible Hand Add-On displaying on a Popular NZ Online Store
(Click Image for Larger View)

NZ price comparison addon for internet

Mobile shopping seems to be increasing. This is noted in IBM's benchmark report, from 500 USA leading retailers, that indicated a double increase (5.6% to 14.6%) in December 2011 compared to 2010, initiating from mobile devices. Popular Mobile Apps include ShopSavvy (scans bar codes), Shop Nearby, Compare Me, and are reviewed here. Visit Firefox add-ons, the Chrome web store, Google Shopper (for Android and iPhone mobiles), and maybe read comparison reviews. But there maybe history tracking when searching for certain products to be aware of with certain apps or add-ons.

List of Shopping Search Engines

comparing online discounts from search engines

Sometimes browsing Asian supplier/manufacturer sites (e.g. Alibaba) for cross referencing equivalent names and associated part numbers can help. This has helped me a lot with aftermarket products, then search with any alternative names/manufacturers/reference numbers listed. Some items are re-branded or named differently in different markets or regions. Often I have ended up after comparison research, on Amazon (even for car parts surprisingly - after I found out equivalent part names via a Asian manufacturer/supplier site) and eBay for overall best buys. Also using Google's image search can help for quickly finding product's websites.
Recent News about Internet Shopping

Google Search - Advanced
In addition to a standard search, use Google's advanced operators to find relevant discount websites or related properties (e.g. forums, videos, shopping engines, directories, etc). Try combine operators like site search, intitle, and the quotes (" ") operators, and specifc search terms to focus on discount stores. For example start with [ intitle:discount "save"] which produces these search results. Then further refine by adding (or subtracting) specific query terms, such as regions, products, and other save type terms (queries) you think are relevant. For example bus travel discounts in the South Island but excluding Queenstown; Or for restaurant discounts excluding motels. But of course you need judge what a discount really means, - is it a reasonable percentage off regular pricing, is it for the day, or does it involve other conditions, etc. Hence best to ring or email once you have found online a discounted store or facility. Also check if your student card is applicable. But perhaps start with a standard Google search of which your query might be sufficient...

Custom Search

Wiki Mind Map Displaying Segments of Online Shopping
(Click for Larger View)

mind map search for internet shopping

Created from - Visit to unfold sub categories and descriptions from Wikipedia

Internet shopping for discounts, product variety, and comparative research is increasing and has become more global. Google's "ZMOT" report from Google's Think Insights, describes consumer decisions prior to purchase as zero moment of truth, with many other online shopper behavior studies. Without doubt, online shopping benefits the consumer (including students) looking for bargains and items unavailable in New Zealand. But evaluate shipping costs and methods, currency conversion, (online calculator) secure payment method, return and international warranty policies, sellers ratings, and other buyers reviews.

The NZ Ministry of Consumer Affairs has a guide for Internet Shopping and references to the fair trading act and consumer guarantee act. Then their may be import custom duties and tax to consider, as described by NZ Custom Services for overseas purchases. Indeed their are benefits for online shopping, if you are willing to search, sometimes extensively, or by utilizing specialist shopping engines and search techniques. Apply this with a security conscious mindset, then discounts from the Internet can be easily evaluated, hopefully at least satisfactory to you, the internet shopper and consumer.



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