A week before this post I upgraded and bought myself a beautiful new オブンレンジ (microwave oven) so that I can bake properly. Of course I started looking around at models in the shops, reading reviews online and going back to the shops again to check measurements and prices, but everyone knows you usually barter with sales reps to lower the price of a product and get a better deal than what’s written on the ticket. My technical Japanese isn’t that good and I can get bamboozled, so I was hunting around electronic store websites and forgetting things until my friend Fumiko recommended www.kakaku.com to me.
Kakaku is a price comparison website, listing anything from sneakers to foreign currency rates. It’s convenient to get prices from various (web) stores all in one place. I usually do my electronics shopping at Yodobashi Camera, but on Kakaku I was able to see prices from electronics and appliance retailers from all over Japan.
As an example, here’s the webpage with the oven I bought for myself. You can see the model number, links to the manufacturer website and the price that’s listed as the cheapest (click to enlarge).
The blue bar represents customer rankings about the store. I bought my oven from the third option down called Digi-Style ディジスタイル. They were located in Osaka, so delivery would be fast, they had one of the cheapest prices and their customer review score was 100%. On some websites, if you order before a certain time delivery is usually guaranteed the next day if you live in the same region. I missed the deadline but scheduled delivery for the Monday, when it was delivered into my eager arms at 9pm. I squealed like a little girl but have no regrets.
One downside is that some retailers don’t offer credit card payment. I didn’t mind so much, I just paid the delivery person (they take a small commission, how much depends on where you live). There’s options for bank transfers or payment at the convenience store. I like to pay on delivery because it’s less hassle and waiting time for any transfer to go through.
Of course if you’re buying electronics, go to the shops if you can first and see what suits you best and if the product lives up to your expectations. However, if you want to cut the guesswork and bartering out of prices, kakaku.com is a very useful tool. The listings are easy to understand, there are plenty of options and more often than not you’ll save your wallet. Happy shopping!