Buying at full price is for those with deep pockets? Not quite, everyone likes a good deal whether it’s a brand new product or a refurbished one. We introduce you to the not so secretive world of deal aggregators.
Whether or not you have any inhibitions regarding online purchases, one thing’s for certain – online deals can never be matched by brick-and-mortar retailers. However, for a complete shopping experience you need to have elements of both worlds which would be, one, an abundance of information and reviews. Two, experiencing the look and feel of a product in your own hands. Which is why major brick-and-mortar shops are focusing on improving their digital presence and online retailers and venturing into the physical world. But that’s a discussion for another day, our focus here is on three main scenarios here – purchasing from within the country, outside the country and finally video games online. We’d like to warn you right now that most of these web sites send a bucket load of emails everyday so getting a separate email ID is advised. We’ve featured a few websites which you should go through, though, almost all websites swap content regularly with each other and feature the same deals. After a while it’s quite likely that skimming through deals will become part of your morning routine.
Buying from India
There are an umpteen number of online shops in India and going through each one of them is counter-productive. By the time you are done going through each and every site you risk missing out on a timed deal. Also, not everyone has the time or the resolve to plow through 20-30 websites just to save a few hundred bucks. So here are a sites you need to go through first, if you don’t find a good deal for whatever it is that you are looking for then proceed to the arduous task of scanning each and every site or you could play the waiting game. Buying online from new websites is always a sketchy business, specially when it’s a facilitator between multiple retailers, so do take care when dealing with them. Most web sites that aggregate deals follow a similar format, the only difference is that certain offers are specific to a particular website so you won’t find them on other aggregation websites. This is partly due to affiliate programs and partly due to the actual work undertaken by the site administrators. Free Kaa Maal has been around for about three years now and is pretty much one of the most prominent deal aggregators in India. The site also has a section for coupons but rarely do e-commerce sites allow for coupling of two or more offers so if you do end up getting in on a good deal then it is likely that a coupon can’t be clubbed with it.
Moreover, they also host a forum which covers quite a diverse spectrum of deal hunting. Members vote on certain deals and the feedback decides whether it attains a “featured deal“ status or not. You can even find freebie deals which could entail free home delivery of sample packs. We’ve heard of folks making multiple accounts to get a month’s worth of toiletries. You even get the scoop on international freebie deals, then you can get a bunch of people interested in the same product to get a discounted shipping deal. This is quite similar to a GO(Group Order).
If you doubt the veracity of any of the featured deals then there is even a review section to help settle your qualms. One last thing you can get done is have others help you find a deal on whatever product you wish to buy. While not every query goes answered you can easily expect a few responses. Khojguru is another site which hasn’t been a victim to an aggressive takeover that others which started around the same time have been.
The banality of landing plenty of deals is something that metropolitan cities enjoy and the rest of India doesn’t. For those staying in rural areas, even if you were to find a great deal online there is the possibility that they might not deliver to your location.
Buying from abroad
A very common occurrence is when one of your friends or relatives are coming from the United States, you’d ask them to get a little something for you. Given the free-trade agreements that it has with almost every major manufacturing nation it enjoys the best prices you can find. And to make the deal sweeter we’ve shortlisted a few websites for you.
The most common destinations for buying cheap electronics incidentally has a high volume of Indian tourism. They are Singapore, UK, UAE and the United States. If you’ve got Singapore in your crosshairs then check out Deal.com.sg and Mustafa Online. Both of these are the best places to look for online deals in Singapore, but the actual action takes place at Sim Lim square and Funan Mall. Unfortunately, Funan Mall doesn’t have any price lists which you could refer but stores on Sim Lim square do. We found one particular store which kept an updated list of prices for computer components in particular – BizGram.
For the UK there is Hot UK Deals which should be more than enough for your shopping needs. The United States has pretty much the best prices of them all, and Slick Deals should cover pretty much all of them. Getting $250-300 off on a medium to high configuration laptop is one of the most common deals you can get. International warranty is somewhat a concern here since the policies change from nation to nation, so if you were eligible for a 3 year warranty in the US that might not be the case by the time you get your product shipped to India. However, given the massive discounts one can hardly complain.
The UAE is also a great place to get electronics for cheap but there are hardly any online sites which one can refer to.
Video game deals
There are numerous online game distribution platforms but Steam still reigns supreme. However, the competition is doing its part to change this dynamic. While nothing on the horizon will be able to even remotely dent the market share that Steam enjoys in the foreseeable future, it hasn’t stopped folks from trying. Let’s look at the major players here, they have great deals on their own which is why keeping an eye out on these websites/platforms is something that you shouldn’t skip out on.
The Mac daddy of them all, Steam has this innate ability to empty bank balances over a period of one week, spread three to four times over the year. Gamers have been known to go on a diet and skip a few meals in order to squeeze in a few extra games into their game libraries. Steam is cross platform too, so it works on Windows, Linux and Mac.
The success of Origin is purely due to EA’s mighty arsenal of successful games. The fan following is so huge that it took next to no effort to have people jump on to the Origin bandwagon. Though from a deals perspective Origin did very little. It even went to the extent of raising prices in India which caused quite ahuge furore. But all that changed with the Humble Origin Bundle. There has never been a bundle in the history of gaming that could even match up to what EA pulled off with the Humble Bundle.
If you still reminisce about the great DOS games that you enjoyed as a youngster then GOG is a great platform to check out. What GOG does is that it ports all the classics onto the current OS and removes all traces of DRM. You get 10 free games just for signing up! GOG also features a bunch of new titles including The Witcher series and FTL: Faster Than Light.
A relatively new player, GreenMan-Gaming has its own DRM/client called Capsule. What we’ve seen is that its focus is shifting towards Steam DRM and it has a perpetual 20% off coupon system. What stands out about GMG is that nearly all Indian credit and debit cards work unlike on most other stores.
Desura is pretty much the equivalent of steam for Indie games, if it is Indie then it must be on Desura. It regularly has good deals on India games and you should definitely go through it.
The deal mantra
Now that you know the platforms for which you need to be looking out for, let’s outline a simple sequence which you can follow in order to get the best game deals on the planet. You could always visit each and every site that you come across daily to ensure that you are way ahead of the curve but who on earth has the time to do that? The folks who run these “deals websites,” that’s who! However, no one person is ever going to attain the status of “Supreme Guru of Deals”. Which is why crowd sourced aggregator web sites are the way to go. Our aim is to whittle down the entire process down to as few web sites as possible and the ones we’ve featured below should get you on the path to filling up your game library without spending much.
This is the one site that has it all, with a focus on Steam. The first thing you’ll notice is the tab, “magic” that uses their own algorithm to point out the best deals on the websites at that moment. However, we simply prefer sorting according to the discount percentage and then checking the history. They cover eight websites currently and hopefully we’ll see more. Usually games follow a certain pattern and once you view the history chart you’ll be able to guess whether a better deal will be out in the near future or not. It’s a great way to avoid buyer’s remorse. Let’s say a certain game is on deal at 50% off, checking the history might tell you that the game went to an all time low of 80%. So it makes sense to wait out a little while and hopefully bag another 80% off deal. The cherry on the cake is the RSS feed.
Amazon comes up with some great deals every now and then, sometimes, even better than the ones on Steam. The only issue here is that they are limited to the United States only (sometimes Canada as included). What you can do is give the address of any of your relatives/friends and get that hurdle out of the way. You don’t need a VPN to subvert region based IP blocking. Amazon has deals for all platforms so you should always check the DRM tag to verify which platform the game is for before buying.
While the above sites focus on individual games this one deals with bundles. Lately, it has even started keeping track of bundles which have been announced but are yet to start. There is no focus on any particular platform here so you can find bundles for Steam, Origin, Desura and even ones without any DRM. We’ve noticed a slow transition towards tracking individual deals as well but not to the extent that the competition does.
Pretty much the one source which is pillaged by all aggregators is this particular sub-reddit. Given that each deal has its own little discussion, you might come across better deals in the comments. Or if any subversive (gaming the system) approach is needed to make good on a deal you’ll find the steps here. A word of caution – Steam and other platforms actively ban users who attempt to game the system. So if you’ve purchased a game which is region limited(specially RUS/ CIS limited games) and you do manage to activate it using a VPN then you can expect your account to be limited till you can convince Steam to revert
Going through all these websites is somewhat a nine-to-five job, so your best bet is to refer to the entire list of websites once a week or only when you wish to purchase something. Video games on the other hand have a completely different dynamic and the sales have little to do with regional holidays as such. And since it is digital import costs aren’t there in the picture so we tend to follow video game deals on somewhat a daily basis. Maybe you should do the same.