By Nitin Saxena
Festival season has started and newspapers are full with special pages of advertisement with various products offering discounts to the consumers and forcing them to think about their products. As per one study the volume of sales between Dussehra to Deepavali is equivalent to the sales volume of the remaining part of the year. Hence show owners in olden days used to play all tricks of the trade to do more business. During this period Earlier we used to see colourful boards offering discounts before shops in business centers attracting customers. Now with the change in times and penetration of internet e-commerce has replaced brick and mortar shops. E-commerce and on-line shops are offering variety of products and brought to the markets to the finger tips of the consumers.
Amazon is the king of all e-commerce sites in the world. The king of Indian e-commerce sites is Flipkart. Every day new e-commerce sites are being added and it is difficult to cut through the clutter.. Both these are offering Festival sales for big-brand products as well as local products with huge discounts during this period.. The consumer should verify cautiously before placing order. This is followed by digitalization of commerce. The Government has started digitalization of business and physical currency is also replaced with electronic payment and payments are being made through plastic cads. Covid-19 situation has further improved digital business eco-system.
As per RBI reports (February 2019) the total number of credit cards grew to 944.5 million adding 13.28 million new cardholders. Indians generally do not borrow money through credit card loan because of high interest rates say 36-40% , whereas in western countries credit card laons are more. There are various reasons for this, but our people are against excessive spending and we try to live within our means and try to save every odd penny like offering Scratch cards and lottery tickets with open lucky draws.. Now discounts are being offered by shops and e-commerce sites in addition to various schemes offered by credit cards. Most of the credit cards are offering instant discounts or cash back that varies from 5% to 10%.to the card holders as and when big purchases are made. The other various deals include life style shopping, dining travel, entertainment, online shopping health and wellness etc. The sale consideration can also be converted into easy EMIs with no interest or processing fees. But the crdit history of the customer is important and CIBEL score of the customer should be considered for all practical purposes before converting the amount into EMIs.
In general e-commerce companies are playing a vital role now a days through discount sales. Mobile phones are most commonly sold items in these sales. Some sites are offering free gifts in addition to discounts to customers. Products are offered to customers under various pretexts like festive season discounts, end-of-season sales, stock clearance sales and the items offered in these sales include clothing, ethnic wear, foot wear, jewelry and watches, bags, lingerie, mobile phones, laptops T.Vs. Furniture, books toys and other electronic devices. Special sales are also there for women, kids etc. Public is using digital payments routinely and credit and debit cards are being used routinely for payment. Credit card companies are offering various kickbacks to customers and wooing them to use their cards in purchases.
Coming to various offers on credit cards the best offers on credit cards on dininr include privileges like discounts complimentary drinks, cash back and other offers. Many youth used to avail the benefits. But during the Covid 19 period the restaurant business has come to a grinding halt, hence consumers are using the same. Typical holiday planning on credit card include interesting discounts throughout the journey. These include instant discount on domestic and international flight bookings to cash back on international dining experience, lounge access for 2 persons per quarter across the country for domestic passengers. Some cards are also offering travel assistance, car rentals business services etc.
Credit Card offers on entertainment include ticket offers through various websites and discounts on its use in coffee shops. Some card issuing banks are having special merchant tie ups so that consumers will be benefitted on purchases. Cash backs are offered if utility bills are paid through credit cards. Credit card offers on grocery spends include 5% spend on transaction as consumers will generally purchase household goods and food items and will save money if payment is made through credit cards. In addition to Banks are having tie up with e-commerce stores like Amazon, and Big baskets are also offering cards. But a word of caution is that card users should know that money received through credit card is not an additional source of income and non-payment of the amount in time will invite severe consequences. At these time of job losses, salary losses and dip in household income one should think before going for purchase. One should always remember the saying that purchase of unwanted article will deprive you from purchasing five important articles. So go for shopping expedition only when it is very essential.
The author is President All. India. Consumer. Education. Society and recipient of. National Award for Consumer Law