We recently published an article comparing prices of products offered under promotion at GITEX Shopper vs purchasing them online and found out that most of the times, shopping online is cheaper. However, buying online doesn’t necessarily offer the same comfort level that an official retailer brings to the table – as pointed out by Mr. Ashish Panjabi, the COO at Jacky’s Electronics LLC. Here are some of his thoughts on why buying online is cheaper
- Argument of retailers carrying bigger expenses isn’t why they may at times be more expensive than online. We generally all work on single digit margins in the UAE unlike Europe and the US.
- Main difference comes from fact that established retailers have to buy from authorized distributors. Many online sites takes advantage of grey imports where a price delta may exist.
- Many retailers are offering cash vouchers or bundles where there are brand restrictions on dropping prices.
- Many of the online sites aren’t offering a local one year official warranty which recognized retailers offer.
- Most recognized retailers are bound by the regulations set forth by the TRA (hence we can’t sell the new iPhone if not certified by them), the Consumer Protection Department of the DED (where we have to offer things like return policies), the Dubai Service Excellence Award (where we are mystery shopped on a regular basis and certain retail standards are measured) and most importantly the Agency Law which states we should buy from authorized importers.
- I don’t think all the online sites can offer all of the above.
- Remember some of the local online sites charge separately for delivery which is not necessarily shown in the price online.
- That said, there is a market for online commerce and it still needs to mature in this part of the world. Some etailers are on the right path and I hope we see this grow along as there are advantages for certain segments of customers though I still think the charm of events like Gitex Shopper isn’t merely in prices and offers but the whole carnival feel of the event. It gives you a chance to get hands on with devices you’ve seen online and for many brings back memories of the souq days in Dubai where you could bargain for prices.