Online discount stores bring malls to your homes

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 July, 2013, 1:38am

Finding a great bargain used to mean trawling through haphazardly stacked goods at remote warehouse outlets or lining up outside stores for hours before they opened, ready to elbow out other customers at biannual sales. Thanks to the digital era and the spawning of flash group deal sites, however, it's possible to score steep discounts without ever leaving your computer.

The most famous flash group deals site is Groupon, which has a localised Hong Kong website but there are many home-grown options to shop from that consumers should not miss.

Websites such as Group Cow, Purrrchase, and Royal Buys provide a myriad of deals that span everything imaginable - from kitchen gadgets to camping gear and edibles like frozen American steak. For instance, you can find 35 per cent off Broadway tickets and a similar discount for the buffet at the Park Lane Hotel.

Hong Kong Mall is another online player, though the site is built to resemble a physical shopping centre more closely. Brands set up online stores within the site similar to Alibaba's Tmall. Companies such as Parisian fashion label Guy Laroche, home appliances brand German Pool and electronics company Kingston Technology have outposts there.

Bee Crazy is another multi-category site but is particularly good for beauty and fashion deals - it offers the most for luxury listings. A Givenchy Pandora small messenger purse, one of the year's "it bags" is HK$6,100 instead of HK$7,880 and a pair of Roger Vivier ballet flats is marked down to HK$3,550 from HK$4,300.

All of the above sites have an A-to-Z approach but there are a handful that are more specialised. Twangoo caters to a mostly female audience making it a good bet for anything related to beauty, spas or lifestyle. Wine aficionados turn to Wine Deals, which typically gives customers a 20-30 per cent discount.