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It's bargain time!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Pics courtesy: Phoenix Marketcity

With sales season having begun in Mumbai’s malls, July has been a month for shopping

It’s been bargain-hunting time for shoppers these last few weeks, as malls—those high temples of retail therapy—have opened up their doors to discount shopping in what is traditionally seen as the low season in the rains. The phrase ‘50% off!’ always gets a gleam in a shopper’s eye, and who can resist getting a free outfit for every two you have purchased? A marketing wizard once pointed out to this writer that the most powerful words in English are ‘You’, ‘New’ and ‘Free’, though, of course, the wise ones usually recognise that nothing comes for free; there’s a good chance that if something is being knocked down, it is either because prices were too high to begin with, or the piece is defective.

Savvy organisations entice customers with unique experiences: Inorbit at Malad and malls at Lower Parel and Kurla are particularly good at this, and have hosted cultural programs through tie-ups with the American and Japanese Consulates, and British Council, among others.

"End-of-season sales are a great marketing tool since everyone is looking for price cuts when they want a particular product," observes Navi Mumbai-based Kamini Mathur, an avid traveller and actor in foreign TV serials. “I am looking for a dishwasher but I will wait for a Diwali sale. I'm not an e-commerce type either. But there was a time one could buy a particular mobile only online. It was a marketing strategy so one had no choice but to buy from the Net, which has its own drawbacks. For instance, the Net doesn't let consumers see if the features work. Also, they may be selling older models which wouldn't have the newer features."

For online and offline shoppers, however, there’s something about the word ‘sale’ that can have your heart stopping and adrenaline rushing as you whip out your credit card to get a great bargain. The world over, people wait for sales season; in Italy, where the Milanese spend fortunes on clothes, they go crazy during the two official sales periods—winter and summer. Like us Indians, Italians are bargain hunters. No one is polite during this time and as people dig through piles of discounted clothing, the scenes can get quite aggressive! This is a worldwide phenomenon and in fact Indians are comparatively civilised; in the United States, when the Cabbage Patch Doll craze first hit Americans in 1983, there were reports of riots, with photographs of grown-ups literally pulling each other’s hair to get the last doll!

In Mumbai, it seems to be sales season all the time, particularly as the weather changes and the festive season begins. By July, no one is buying summer clothes anymore and stores need to clear their shelves for new collections. This month, most malls have announced massive sales. Phoenix Marketcity, Kurla, have just had their end-of-season sale, offering up to 60% off across 300+ brands between July 13 and 15.

Oberoi Mall also had a flat 50% off sale on July 4, from 8.am – midnight. As for Seawoods Grand Central Mall (SGCM) in Navi Mumbai, the *99 Sale of June 29 - July 1, 2018 was  followed by a flat 50% and the Bade Dealwala Sale with flat 50% off ‘The Women Only Sale’ which concluded on July 18. Their mega End of Season Sale is on till July 31. As of date, SGC has been getting more than seven lakh footfalls every month. Says Nilesh Singh, SGCM's Centre Head, “Our *99 Sale garnered a phenomenal response not just from our patrons, but retailers also. Our patrons can choose from 250 national and international brands."

The Kandivali-based 101 Mall has its end of season sale till August 5 with up to 50% off on several brands. Plus, if you shop for Rs 3000 and 01 you can win a holiday for two to Dubai!

If you are looking for items other than clothes and accessories, this is also a good time for bargains; for instance, Akbarally's is offering 50 % off on furniture.

Pics courtesy: Inorbit Mall

Are they worth it?

While you will definitely get genuine bargains if you have the patience to weed through the crowds and spend endless hours in trial room queues, beware. As you loosen your purse strings for all that merchandise at “unbelievable prices”, remember that often deals that seem too good to be true are exactly that—and you can get conned. Stores also offer great deals to ensure repeat business, as Vashi resident Shilpa D discovered.

"Shopping at the Central, I learned about offers on a minimum purchase of  Rs 3,000 with a cashback of Rs 1500 – but there was a catch,” she says. The cashback is given in chunks of Rs 300 over a period of five months, ensuring that the customer returns to the store every month.” Shilpa had spent Rs 2,000 on clothes for her son when the salesgirl tried to persuade her to spend another Rs 1,000 to avail of the offer; she did not fall for the bait.

There’s an urgency to the sales season, which often makes you want to buy things you don’t need. It may be wise to remember, however, that if you have missed one sale, there will always be another. Marketers are always looking for incentives to get you to shop, and if you missed—say, the Dassera discounts—they will be back with Diwali sales. And if you miss those… Christmas isn’t far behind! After all, any time is a good time to take money off you, and it’s even better if you still feel like a winner!

Inputs: Ronita Torcato

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