Thursday, November 28, 2013

[Rant] Buying PC parts in Japan


If you are thinking of buying a PC in Japan, the first place that comes to your head is Akihabara. That's where I bought my first PC from. But that was a mistake. Why? Because you can buy one for much cheaper if you buy online.

Why is it cheaper?

Two simple reasons.

Firstly, you can find the cheapest prices for the items that you want to buy via websites like Kakaku. One items could be cheaper at one shop but another item could more expensive at the same shop than another shop. You cannot go to every shop and not down all the prices. However, there are shops that are not registered in Kakaku.

Secondly, you won't have to pay hundreds of Yen for transport and waste your precious time. And how are you going to bring the stuff home? Are you going to tell them to ship it to your address? You could have done that from the comfort of your own home instead. No need to physically go there and tell them to do that. If you buy stuff valued more than JPY5,000, you will (at almost all the shops) not have to pay for delivery. And they get delivered (again, by most shops) within a couple of days. Some shops (for example, Dospara) say that if you order within a set time period, they can be delivered on the same day. That's valuable information! Amazon also has one day shipping if you order within a set time of the day, but for that you have to have Amazon Prime subscription, which is not free. You have to pay like JPY3,900 annually. I used to have it, but not anymore. I can wait an extra day. There are other benefits too, but I don’t care much about them.

Thirdly, what if the shop that has the cheapest price is not based in Akihabara? What if it is at a place that you usually don't travel to? You might end up paying a lot for transport, where you might actually end up paying more for it compared to buying it from elsewhere.

Fourthly, sometimes they sell stuff cheaper online. For example, on Tsukumo, many items are cheaper than the showroom price. But this is not always the case. There are instances where you might get a better deal if you go to the shop. Those deals are not incorporated in the online prices.

Still, I recommend buying it online because the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

Another thing is that almost all the shops in Japan, these computer shops also offer points based on the value of the stuff that you buy from them. Sometimes they increase the price and offer points. That is no use. But once in a while, they price them similar to the competitors AND then give points on top of that. Those are the deals that you should be looking for. These points are common to online purchases as well as off-the-shelf purchases.

Basically, I shop from the following four online stores.

Mostly because I’ve dealt with them before. And they are big shops. They are not going to go away so I won’t have a problem with warranty. Plus, I don’t feel like giving away my credit card details to small shops which might not even have proper security.

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