electronics

Negotiate a price when buying online

The recently-launched website Aroxo is helping consumers to save money and negotiate a good deal in the midst of the credit crunch. Capitalising on the fact that when money is tight, sellers are often willing to bargain with buyers to secure a sale, the founders of Aroxo launched a site to allow you to negotiate a price even when buying online.

The system works quite simply – sellers have registered a list of products they stock and their “normal” prices. Buyers then browse the site and find a product that they wish to buy. Instead of comparing prices, or competing in an auction, the buyer then enters the amount of money they would like to pay for the item. All the sellers of the item are notified of this intent to buy, and make offers to the buyer – the buyer then reviews the offers and can choose to accept any of them, or to negotiate further if they wish. The buyer doesn’t commit to a purchase with their first offer, so there is nothing to lose.

Because it takes time for the offers to be made by the sellers, this approach lacks the “instant purchase” appeal of normal shopping online – but if waiting a day or so can save you a lot of money then surely it’s worth it – and the chances of buyer’s remorse are lessened also. Aroxo is currently focused on consumer electronics but they have plans to expand into other markets, and if you planned to make such a purchase it could save you a significant amount in these tight times. However, don’t buy things you wouldn’t normally have bought just because you got a good deal – that’s not the way to save money!

More details are on the Aroxo website.

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Thursday, August 6th, 2009 Consumer Goods, Economy No Comments

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The cost of Japanese goods

While we often look at foreign currency exchange rates with our minds on our holidays and how much the food will cost us abroad (see my previous post), they affect us in other ways when we are still at home.

A strong pound can affect British businesses, impacting their export sales as their products cost more abroad and therefore fewer people buy them. The opposite, of course, is true – a strong pound makes importing foreign goods cheaper, and a weak pound makes it more expensive. With so many consumer electronics made abroad, this affects us at home.

I’ve been watching the price of camera equipment, much of which is made in Japan. A year ago, there were more than 200 Yen to the pound, which meant that buyers over here could get a good deal on lenses and the like. However, compare this graph of the cost of a Canon lens with this graph of the pound vs. the Yen. As the pound dropped as low as 122 Yen, vendors in the UK have had to increase their prices almost £100 (on that lens – more expensive products have gone up more).

As the pound gathers strength, it is climbing back up against the Yen and the cost of consumer electronics will come back down. With the country still in a recession, retailers will be competing for sales and should therefore lower their prices as soon as the rates get more favourable – passing the savings on to us! I hope so, at least – I really want that lens.

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Saturday, June 20th, 2009 Consumer Goods, Foreign Currency No Comments

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