MANILA – Private school teacher Grace Esmaya proceeds to check out only after browsing as many online stores as she can, knowing that in the "Hunger Games" for bargains, the relentless shopper gets the steepest discounts.
Esmaya, 23, will be one of some 50 million shoppers scrounging online marketplaces Shopee and Lazada on Nov. 11, where up to 80 million deals are up for grabs in a 24-hour sale.
With 11-11 and before that, 10-10 and 9-9, Shopee and Lazada compete for shoppers' wallets, enlisting stars like Sen. Manny Pacquiao and Cristiano Ronaldo, and offering vouchers and games for even more discounts.
Repeat customers like Esmaya offered some tips to make the most out of 11-11, especially those who want to do their Christmas shopping early.
Esmaya estimates that for every P1,000 budgeted, she saves P100 to P200 using discount codes. That's enough for a Starbucks Christmas drink for those collecting stickers for a 2020 planner.
“It's not really a matter of who gets to check the sale first in the app or website, because online shopping sales are not like seat sales in airlines. It's actually about who's willing to do an intensive search of discounted items,” she told ABS-CBN News.
“Those who search for the discounted items and compare prices before buying are the ones who win this Hunger Games-like online shopping sales.”
Lydelle Agaton, a barista, employs the same tactic. Online shopping spares her from sitting through traffic jams, she said.
“Kung saan may biggest savings, doon ako (I shop where I can save the most)," she said.
Last year, the top-selling items in Lazada were electronics, baby products, and health and beauty goods.
On Shopee, the top categories are health and beauty and electronics bases on 5-5 sale data for those in Metro Manila, the "online shopping capital." For those outside the capital, fashion products and Korean-style apparel and footwear are the top draws.
FILL YOUR CART AND WISH LIST
Coffee shop owner AJ Magsuci, who is doing her Christmas shopping online, adds to her virtual shopping cart early then checks out on the day of the sale.
The items on her wish list serves as reference for future sale events, she told ABS-CBN News.
"Then nila-like ko na rin ‘yung mga gusto kong bilhin in the future para ‘pag sale, doon na lang ako mamimili,” she said.
(I 'like' what I want, so that if I want to buy it in the future, I know where to shop.)
JOIN THE COUNTDOWN
In the days or weeks leading to the 24-hour sale, shoppers can win prizes or play games for even more discounts on Shopee and Lazada.
Lazada will stream a game show across Southeast Asia on Nov. 4 and a variety show on Nov. 10, where users can avail of vouchers. It also urged shoppers to form groups of 11 to 22 to partake in “missions” from Nov. 1 to 10 where they could get coins and prizes.
The group with the most coins will win the 11-11 Grand Prize, Lazada said.
Shopee started its “Super Days” on Oct. 15, offering daily sales on apparel, baby needs, electronics, fashion, groceries, health and beauty items, and vouchers.
Customers who play Shopee Games can earn coins which can be used to apply for discounts 2 days before the Nov. 11 sale. Bargain hunters can collect more vouchers on Nov. 10. Three days after the 11-11 sale, Shopee will also hold “Thank You” sales.
STAY LOGGED IN 'NO MATTER WHAT'
Marielle Gonzales, a graphic designer, stays logged in to her shopping app to take advantage of limited sales. She advised shoppers to turn on notifications.
Aside from app notifications, subscribing to mailing lists can also help keep shoppers updated on bargains, she said.
"Stay logged in no matter what and watch out dun sa ina-eye mong item. Add it to cart kaagad and ‘wag kang maniwala sa available stocks kasi super bilis talaga," entertainment writer Karen Ng added.
(Stay logged in no matter what and watch out for the item you’ve been eyeing. Add it to your cart immediately and don’t believe the number of available stocks because they sell out quickly.)
KNOW YOUR SELLER
Shoppers are also urged to browse products in the official Lazada Mall and Shopee Mall or buy from "preferred” sellers for authentic products. This allows for “safe and secure transactions,” said Nadine Dizon, a 24-year-old copywriter.
Sharmaine So, a 26-year-old supervisor who had wrong items delivered to her doorstep, checks if a seller is "Shopee preferred," meaning the merchant is active, has good customer service and a boasts a large number of successful transactions.
“Chini-check ko rin images na ina-upload ng ibang buyer. Kahit maraming bumili kung madaming complaint, ‘di na ako nag-o-order,” she added.
(I always check the images uploaded by previous buyers. If there are complaints regarding the item, I won’t order.)
So also suggests buying items from the same seller to avail of free shipping and other promos as some sellers offer big discounts for multiple orders.
Reading reviews will let users know if the seller is credible, digital marketer Monica Hernandez said.
CASH OR CASHLESS?
Cash on delivery (COD) is still king when it comes to payment options, Shopee Philippines associate director Martin Yu said.
"It's reflected on our data, a lot of people prefer to pay cash on delivery, and not with their cards... A lot more kahit may credit card, would rather see the product and get it on COD first,” Yu said in an earlier interview.
Magsuci prefers COD for security purposes, while cousins Ayie Esguerra and Cacai Esguerra prefer going cashless for convenience.
"Cashless para hindi na ako mag-iiwan ng pera sa bahay. Receive na lang kung sinuman nandoon," said Ayie, a human resource associate.
(I go cashless so I won’t have to leave money at home. All they have to do is to receive my purchase.)
Aside from COD, customers of both shopping platforms have the option of paying via credit or debit cards, electronic wallet or over the counter at designated payment centers.
SET YOUR ALARMS
Gonzales, the graphic designer, sets her alarm 10 minutes before the start of the same, allowing her to give her cart a last look before checkout.
Lazada co-president Jing Yin said shoppers should be ready with their vouchers and to have fun while hunting for bargains.
“It's about great deals, more deal wallet rebates and get ready to checkout,” he said.