Air Conditioners are one of the most important home appliance that you might purchase in 2020. With temperature levels as they are in most of India during summer, Air conditioners have become a necessity almost. You might be thinking of purchasing one pretty soon too. So while the summer is coming up, lets talk about buying an air conditioner online. Is it recommended? Reliable? Safe? Lets see more details on the topic.
Benefits of buying an Air Conditioner online
There are quite a few benefits to buying an air conditioner online. Some of these are
- Ease of Comparison:
- Check all important information at once:
- Save time by browsing at home:
- Enjoy better prices:
- Fast and Scheduled delivery:
- Make use of bank offers:
- Make use of 0% EMI offers
- Make use of return service if product does not match your expectation
- Option of 24×7 Customer Support
- Option of buying related products and services
- You can get many online only exclusive models
Unlike retail stores where you might find it tedious to compare various products simultaneously, most e-commerce websites have made it very easy to compare products on their website. Both Amazon and Flipkart infact have product comparison tools which will let you easily compare the differences between different products at a glance.
Amazon and Flipkart are making a huge effort to ensure that the experience of buying an air conditioner online is comparable if not better to doing it at a store. One of the best features of buying an air conditioner online is that you get to see all the important features of the products right up front. This means that you do not have to wade through dense manuals or self congratulatory brochures from manfacturers. These information tend to hide important aspects of the product that you might only find out later. So when you check out products online, you can get the full picture. Most websites today even include a link to the full product manual so that you can check out more details if you are so inclined.
The biggest advantage I have found for buying air conditioners online is that you do not have to spend time by going to a physical store. With the state of traffic today, it is a daunting task to go out of the home and into a store just for an exploratory visit. With e-commerce websites like Amazon and Flipkart, you will have the freedom of browsing products from the comfort of your own home. You can even make use of time that you might not otherwise use to do your shopping. Commuting time maybe? Or maybe 20 minutes from lunch break could do?
Since e-commerce websites do not have the additional costs of running retail stores, they are able to save costs by getting better margins from the air conditioner manufacturer. This will mean that you will see better prices on Amazon and Flipkart as compared to any retail outlet. With the rise in e-commerce, this trend is being seen in almost all products. Starting from mobile phones to even large appliances like air conditioners today, e-commerce websites are becoming the lowest cost sellers .
When you purchase an air conditioner from a retail store, very often you will hear from the retailer that the delivery of your air conditioner can take anywhere between a week to a month. The reason for this is that the retailer depends on enough units of your particular model being available to be shipped to you. If there are not enough of that particular model with the retailer, then he has to look for that model with other retailers in the same city. If this too is not available, then the retailer has to check in other locations. Even if a unit is found, it can only be shipped to you if there are other items scheduled to be delivered near you. This ensures that the delivery economics are cost efficient.
For an e-commerce website, when they have hit a certain amount of scale, deliveries will always be going out to locations near you. This means that they need to transfer the air conditioner that you need to the delivery hub nearest to you and then send it out for a local delivery to your home. Due to the efficiency of the supply chain already setup, the air conditioner will reach within a week at the latest even if you live in a small town. This was so far not possible with retailers and is a massive advantage for e-commerce companies like Amazon and Flipkart.
Many banks and financial companies use e-commerce companies as a partner for generating sales and for acquiring customers. So if a bank funds an additional discount of 5% during a sale being conducted by Amazon, it gains brand recognition among customers who now recognize the bank as providing a good deal for customers. This encourages more customers to sign up and also increases the transactions from existing customers. Overall, it is a great tool for banks to improve their standing with customers. In such a situation, many banks have been providing very attractive offers to customers on Amazon and Flipkart. If you check their websites during sale events, which happen every few months, you will see these offers.
These offers are not usually available with retailers since they cannot provide the tech integration and reach that these online e-commerce companies can provide. This is a further point for the case that you should purchase air conditioners from e-commerce websites.
Due to the ease of technical integration and also due to the demand by finance companies, both the large e-commerce companies in India – Flipkart and Amazon have started providing no-cost EMI schemes to their customers. These schemes essentially let you purchase large ticket items in easy instalments. The best part abou them is that they come at no additional cost to you. The finance companies and the manufacturers pick up the bill. They do this with the aim of customer acquisition and retention. Once you get a great deal from a company, it is likely that you will come back to make another purchase with them.
Another advantage here is that you do not even need to have a credit card to avail no-cost EMI schemes with these e-commerce companies. While Flipkart was the first e-commerce company to provide “kuch bhi on EMI” or EMI offers on debit cards, Amazon has caught up as well. With collaboration from Finance companies like Bajaj Finance, both these e-commerce giants now provide consumers with the option of getting their purchases converted into interest free EMI payments of 3 months or longer.
Lets admit it, it happens fairly often. What we order from e-commerce websites is nothing like what we expected when it finally arrives. It has certainly happened to me numerous times. While this may be a more common occurence for items like clothing and other smaller non-branded items, it can happen with larger appliances like air conditioners as well. Maybe the air conditioner that you receive is damaged or is not of the same brand as what you had ordered. Or maybe it is a completely different model from what you had ordered. Things can go wrong with orders and e-commerce companies recognize this.
To keep consumers minds at ease, both the big e-commerce companies in India – Flipkart and Amazon have started providing risk-free periods where consumers can return any products that they are not completely satisfied. This process is known as reverse logistics since it is different from the usual flow of goods. Both companies have invested considerably in the reverse logistics business and provide anywhere between one to two weeks of risk free periods. So in case you do run into any issues with the air conditioners ordered from either of these two websites, you can be rest assured that you can return the product with no risk or cost being incurred by you.
Another fantastic advantage of e-commerce is that you will have the support and resources of very large organizations with you all the time. So if you purchase something with Amazon and Flipkart, you will have the security of knowing that you have the customer service of these two behemoths available to you at all times. This is not something that a small retailer can guarantee to you. I cannot count the number of times both these companies have gone out of their way to correct some mistake made in long chain of a product being delivered to me. In almost all cases, these companies will also do their best to uphold the interest of end customers.
When you are buying an air conditioner, you also have to think of the other allied products and services you might need to purchase as well. With an air conditioner, you might need a voltage stabilizer, air purification sheets, an air conditioner cleaning spray. Among services, you might consider buying an annual maintenance contract which ensures that in case your air conditioner has to undergo any repairs, the cost of these repairs does not go beyond a certain pre-determined. Think of this like health insurance for your air conditioner.
In the case of an e-commerce company, you will be able to purchase all these products and services at the same time from the comfort of your home. Similar to buying the product itself, this process is easy and convenient and will save you loads of time. I remember shattering the glass of my mobile phone and kicking myself for not buying phone protection insurance at the time of purchasing my phone on Amazon.
Today, many electronics and appliance manufacturers have models that are dubbed as online only. These models are not available in local retailers and hence if you walk into a local store, you might not be able to see a full complement of products from all manufacturers. Therefore to get a view of all products available from all manufacturers, e-commerce websites are a much better source of information.
Disadvantages of buy an Air Conditioner on an online e-commerce website
So now that we have discussed the advantages of buying an air conditioner online, let us also talk about some of the associated disadvantages. While each of the advantage mentioned above can be countered to and be made to look like a disadvantage, we will stick to only actual and documented customer problems which can be termed as disadvatanges.
- Getting your air conditioner installed or repaired can take a while
- Large appliances are not available in some areas of the country
There are many brands available today that are “online only”. This means that these brands only have presence on e-commerce websites like Amazon and Flipkart. They shun any physical presence and hence have no on-ground personnel available. In such a case, when your air conditioner needs to be installed or repaired, the company needs to get in touch with any empaneled technicians in your area.
Now keep in mind that most of these online only comapanies are online only to cut costs. With such a mentality, many of them usually do not have adequate high quality technicians available. Therefore, it might be a while before the company manages to find a technician to come and service your air conditioner.
In some cases, the e-commerce company themselves take over the installation and maintenance responsibilities. Since this is not their primary competency, you can expect this service to be a bit patchy.
If you live in a metro city of India, this is not applicable to you. The big e-commerce companies in India – Amazon and Flipkart have very good delivery coverage in most large cities of the country. However, if you do live in a smaller city, there is a possibility that certain large appliances like air conditioners may not be delivered to your home. This is due to the setup of delivery centers by these companies. So before you make a purchase, first do check if the product that you are interested in is available in your pincode.
Buying an Air Conditioner online – wrap up
So there we have it, the definitive list of all the advantages and disadvantages of buying an air conditioner online. Our final opinion is that the benefits of buying an air conditioner online far outweigh the disadvantages. As always, make sure to do your research before you make a big appliance purchase for your home.
Do let us know your thoughts in the comments section. We always enjoy hearing from our readers.