How to pay less for new electronics

Let’s face it – buying pretty much anything electronic is generally not going to be a cheap day out at the shops. TVs, surround sound systems, Blu-Ray players, set top boxes and PVRs can all run into the many hundreds or thousands of dollars. It could be tempting to say “Choose life” instead, but how are you going to watch Keeping Up With the Kardashians that way?!

Buying at least some electronics is nigh-unavoidable these days, so it can pay to shop around and get the best deals possible. Overall there are a few retailers that stand out among the rest for slashing prices, having great price matching policies and offering cheaper prices if you pay with cash (i.e. not credit). These stores are generally ‘big box’ chains that have the purchasing power to offer the consumer the best experience possible. So who are these retailers, and how can you grab a bargain?

electronics retailers techAussie Electronics Retailers

There are six leading electronics retailers offering Aussies the opportunity to potentially save a bundle of cash. They are:

  • Bing Lee
  • The Good Guys
  • Harris Scarfe
  • Harvey Norman
  • JB Hi-Fi
  • Kogan (online only)

When you’re in the market for a new product with a price tag of a few hundred dollars or more, you really do want to get the best deal possible. And getting a bargain can be far easier than you might think – all it takes is a little research and a simple question: Can you beat this price?

All of our top-rating electronics retailers have a ‘price match’ or ‘price beat’ policy, so this is why doing your homework is so important. There are also a couple of other retailers worth considering. To help you out, here is the lowdown on what each retailer promises by way of price matching.

Bing Lee

The first cab off the rank, Bing Lee offers some pretty standard fare when it comes to price matching. It lists the full policy under its ‘Competitor Pricing Policy’ and it’s really ‘common sense’ stuff. The price matching policy is pretty standard over at Bing Lee and comes with a handy list of conditions, such as ‘the competitor must be registered and have physical stores’. This excludes eBay retailers. Also excluded are retailers including bonuses such as free gift cards as part of the deal.

Interestingly – and you will hear more on this – is that it will not price match on ‘grey import’ stock. Stock must be Australian-delivered. While few physical stores have grey import stock, many online retailers appear much cheaper because they source their products from overseas. This can affect things like warranty and specifications, so it pays to be wary of this the next time you buy online!

The Good Guys

One of the main selling points of shopping with the Good Guys is its ‘pay less’ incentives, and as you might expect there are several ways to save through The Good Guys.

  • Bargain Buys: Daily price checks online where The Good Guys aim to price beat other retailers.
  • We’ll Beat It: If you find a lower price from a ‘major competitor’ and have proof then The Good Guys will beat it. Competitors include JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman amongst others.
  • 30 Day Price Guarantee: If you find a lower advertised price within 30 days of purchase, The Good Guys will pay back 120 per cent of the difference. So if you bought something for $100 from The Good Guys and it’s only $90 elsewhere, these Good Guys will pay back $12!

See further details and terms and conditions on The Good Guys’ website.

Harris Scarfe

Perhaps the oldest retailer in this list, serving Australians for over 160 years, Harris Scarfe is surprisingly with the times in regards to its price matching policy. Perhaps not as generous as The Good Guys, Harris Scarfe does offer to price match on the spot to make it more convenient for you, under a few conditions:

  • The product must be exactly the same
  • You must have proof of the price offered (have a catalogue or phone handy)
  • The competing retailer must have the product in stock
  • Australian retailers only, excluding online retailers
  • Clearance items and previously purchased goods are excluded

For the full terms, visit Harris Scarfe’s Price Promise policy page.

Harvey Norman

Big box giant Harvey Norman has a pretty standard price match policy. It guarantees to match the cheapest price on an identical product, but like with any policy, there are conditions. The conditions exclude sale items, package deals, cash back and other bonuses. Also excluded are offers from deliveries outside Australia (i.e. grey market imports).

You have seven days to stake your price matching claim, and you will need appropriate proof. Interestingly, advertising errors from either party are explicitly referred to as voiding the price match guarantee. We wonder how often this happens…

See Harvey Norman’s website for more details and the full list of conditions.

JB-Hi-Fi

JB-Hi-Fi does not state any specific price matching guarantee on its website, but you can probably still negotiate a cheaper price in much the same way. It’s all about your supporting evidence and being bold enough to ask for a better deal. Generally, the same conditions that apply to other retailers would feasibly apply to JB Hi-Fi as well.

  • Look out for the ‘Ask for a JB deal’ tag on the product/s you want. This usually means that staff are more willing to move on price.
  • Generally at JB Hi-Fi it’s somewhat expected of you to ask for a better deal, especially on big-ticket items like TVs.
  • If they are unable to move on price, ask if they include any extra goodies for a low or otherwise discounted price. For example, a laptop might need a laptop bag and/or a wireless mouse.

Generally these points apply to the other stores mentioned here as well, but JB Hi-Fi’s openness when haggling is admirable.

Kogan

Kogan is different from these other retailers in that it’s an online-only store, and many of its products are ‘grey market’, meaning they are not Australian-delivered stock. This is why, upon visiting the site, you may be amazed at the extreme discounts on offer. For example, expect heavy discounting of big-ticket items like TVs. Kogan also makes its own cheap TVs that offer great ‘bang for buck’.

  • Kogan sources many of its products from overseas, so it’s not on an even playing field to other retailers
  • This works the other way too – Kogan might be immovable on price more so than other retailers
  • You have to contend with shipping costs and wait times
  • Warranty periods and other conditions may differ with this foreign stock than with Australian stock

With that said, if you find Kogan to offer a distinctly average deal, the good news is the retailer also price matches. However, it remains to be seen how much of a discount might be offered. More information can be found here.

Overall, out of these retailers, The Good Guys seems to offer the most transparent policies on price matching. The retailer also offers generous ‘price beat’ guarantees, such as the 120 per cent price difference makeup. JB Hi-Fi is also quite good with its open policy on negotiating in store. No matter the retailer it pays to shop around and do your research.

Handy hints for getting a better deal

When it comes to getting a better deal on new electronics, it can be worth having a bit of prior knowledge and ammo up your sleeve:

  • Have a base knowledge for prices. You can gather this information by perusing online before you go in-store. In fact, you can just purchase online, but then you likely have to contend with shipping costs and your bartering ability will not be put to the test at all!
  • Go in-store with said acquired knowledge and back-up evidence. Many retailers won’t price match or beat it without a catalogue, or online supporting evidence. Bring your phone and save the webpage where you saw the discount and have it ready if asked.
  • Be prepared to walk away if the price is still unsatisfactory. Do not be unreasonable, but with expensive big ticket items such as new TVs, it can pay to be a little persistent. If negotiation fails, ask the salesperson to chuck in a few extra goodies as lower prices. But if you’re not satisfied, just walk away and try somewhere else.
  • Be aware that some items have little room for manoeuvre. Major Apple products, for example, like the iPhone, iPad and Macs, are unlikely to be reduced by a great deal, as they are strictly price controlled and make little profit for the local retailer. They’re also insanely popular with many consumers more than willing to pay retail prices.
  • Apple accessories on the other hand do make retailers a lot of money and are where you can bargain a bit. For example, you may need an extra charger, a case or protective glass for that shiny new iPhone. Retailers might be willing to include this in the price of a bigger item, or for discounted rates.

At the end of the day, the Australian retail landscape is changing for the better. With the advent of online ‘disruptors’ like Kogan, physical store retailers have to sit up and take notice. They can no longer afford to sit on their haunches, and instead have to always be moving and offering the next best deal. After all, there are many retailers nowadays, and consumers are willing to shop with their feet or go online. This affords us a better deal, but negotiating further and getting a price beat guarantee can save considerable dollars. Happy shopping!

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