To buy or not to buy— is the question that arises once an individual logs on to a shopping website or clicks open a mobile application. Some people genuinely need a particular item while others just scroll through the vast categories and check it out just like they’d scroll through Facebook or Twitter. The time crunch has made people prefer this mode of spending their moolah and hence the e-commerce sector is growing.
But with so many start-ups ready to serve the customers, the competition is increasing and hence, they’re finding different ways to attract the customers and win their trust. The latest tricks that are apparently working on the consumers are ‘promo code’ (promotional code) and cash back offers.
A promo code is a series of letters or numbers which provides certain amount of discount once you are about to pay for a service. These promo codes are mostly used by customers during their initial purchases in a particular website or app.
The best example would be the promo codes offered by ‘Uber’ and ‘Ola’ where the first rides are free—when one downloads the app for the first time (new customer gets a promo code by a regular customer which makes them both get discounts or cash back on their rides).
Ritika recalls her first ‘Uber’ ride where she missed out applying a promo code. “I felt sad not using a promo code. It would’ve helped me save some amount if I had used it. But then, I got a code myself which I can send to my friends and their first ride will give me some discount on future rides.”
This new trick of providing offers to customers seems to work as there has been a reported boost in sales. It is common among urban youth to use mobile applications or websites to shop online and get the goods delivered at home. The ease provided by this system makes the thumb-effort worth it.
But what is worth noting is that people are splurging more even if they don’t wish to. Cash back is an amount of money which is given back when the consumer purchases goods. It is an easy way to lure more customers, as some amount is refunded, which can be used later. The best cash back offers are provided by companies like ‘Paytm’ and ‘Freecharge’ where even a simple mobile recharge returns some money back to your digital account (example Paytm wallet).
Even a mobile app like ‘Crown It’ is providing crowns in return every time you check-in into a restaurant and upload the bill. With the gained crowns, one can buy vouchers and use it while shopping. These offers are advertised through social media, mails and text messages. The continuous push messages by the apps, about the latest offers, does have an impact on the psyche of a consumer and one easily gives in to check it out. Few websites such as ‘Oxolloxo’ are not using promo codes to promote their sales. They’re going ahead by using traditional discounts and are offering free delivery.
Raghav, a college student says that even though he shops online and is a regular visitor to certain shopping websites, he finds it hard to control his expenditure. “I end up buying a lot more than I should because of such intense promotional activities. I admit that I get lured easily but then, it is addictive because no one wants to lose out on peanuts that these companies offer in exchange for cash.”