If you’re looking to buy discount electronics you may or may not already be familiar with Bic Camera, Yodobashi Camera and Yamada Denki, three of the biggest electronics chain in Japan. Unless you shun technology altogether, you are quite likely going to buy something from one of these retailers at some point while you’re in Japan.
In many shops in Japan, the listed price is usually what stands. Haggling over the price isn’t usually the “done” thing and you’ll be met with heartfelt apologies accompanied by rigorous bowing, with no change in cost. (Rules may vary in Osaka I hear where anything is fair game).
However, these shops try to be competitive on price and they would rather you buy from them than any of their rivals. So, if you notice that the price is cheaper at another electronics retailer then take a snapshot of it and show it to the store you want to purchase it at. Often, they will match the price. Of course, if you find it cheaper at another place, then why wouldn’t you just buy it from there? Well, the main reason may be that you already hold a point card with a certain store, and so it ultimately pays off to continue accumulating points there.
Another option you may also like to consider is to search for prices from online retailers. A prime example of one of these websites is called Kakaku.com.
Just enter the name of the product you are looking for on the site and you’ll find the cheapest price, often significantly lower than what the major retailers are selling it for. If you decide to buy from Kakaku, you will need to use a credit card for payment and wait for delivery of the product. However, if you show Kakaku’s price to a store employee then they will often match the price to get your business.
There is one caveat though. If they give you the product at the listed price then you may have to forgo any points. Yet, it is often worthwhile to overlook this, as the discount would far exceed the 10% of points you would get anyway.
Another thing to note is that some store assistants may still refuse to give you a discount. This is generally due to the lazy attitude of sales staff, mainly because they have to go through a time-consuming process of amending the final price. Don’t let this discourage you though, either you can find another salesperson or go to a different store.
Finally, if you are purchasing a big ticket item then you should try to request the staff to throw in some freebies (like memory cards, carrying cases, extra batteries etc.). They often have a bunch of free stuff that they are authorized to give out to entice sales. If you never ask then you will never know.
Look out for the store’s magazine in the electronics shop (especially for tv, audio, or cameras). They usually cost 1,000yen or so, but inside there should be a bunch of coupons at the back that provides further discounts. This can amount to a significant percentage or a flat monetary discount off the list price (depending on the price of the product this can be anywhere upwards of 2,000yen). This obviously pays itself off, including your initial outlay of 1,000yen. If you’re lucky you may even be able to take the magazine for free (depending on the generosity of the sales staff or your foreign charm) and therefore save on the entire cost of the brochure.