I’ve been shopping for years. (Clothes being my specialty) I’ve been to many a mall at 8:30pm during the holiday season, waiting in line while my feet ache and sweat ran down my brow. The thought of carrying bags, and boxes from one store to another in search of the right gift, for the right person, at the right price, is nothing short of terrifying.
Think about it for a second. How does the average person shop? There are two main ways. By impulse buying, or by making a list and following it. When you do the impulse buying thing, you put your god given memory skills to the true test. You’re out driving back home from work or it’s the weekend and your running around for one reason or another. You see a store, you say, “I’ve enough money to get some of these gifts out of the way. You pull in the parking lot and from that moment on your time is gone, your body is about to be worked out and you don’t even know if your going to find the gift your looking for. You walk around hoping you’ll see a gift for the right person, at the right price. Good luck! You might have some time left in your day to catch a movie later if it works out. There’s no guarantee of success.
Let’s look at the other way. You plan your list and your time. First of all it has to be a day off, and I do mean a whole day off. After you’ve planed to shop on a certain day you have to go down your list and think about who gets what and how much you plan to spend. You’re ready. It’s off to the mall or to one of the all in one superstores. You’ve a good plan but who knows how much your going to spend on each gift, an how long it’s going to take. Best case scenario you get all your gifts, for all the right people at the prices you expected. Guess what? Bags and boxes that’s what! If you did get everything, you needed, you still have to get them to the car and unpack the car when you get home. Not to mention the gas money and the mall’s food expense to keep your energy up.
Nearly everything you can find at a mall or a superstore can be purchased on line at a competitive price with easy delivery. Your only added expense is shipping and handling, and if you get all the items you need from one online store, the shipping and handling charge will be far less than the price of gas to the mall and something to eat while you were there.
Let’s look at a comparison:
Shopping the old way………
1.) Get all the items you need for your holiday shopping. That’s it! The only thing you can be happy about is that the shopping is done.
1.) Time…The average impulse shopping experience last 1-2 hours per session. The average planned shopping experience for the holiday season is over 15 hours spread out over a week or two.
2.) Gas…..You spend at the least a half a tank of gas shopping around for all that stuff. With gas prices the way they’re now, that could be about 20 bucks for the old SUV or minivan.
3.) Physical Stress…Walking back and forth to the car is a workout. Walking around a mall or superstore is a workout. Bringing the bags in the house is a workout. If you wanted a workout, you’d have headed to the gym. Right?
4.) Mental Stress…Having to go to different stores to complete your shopping list when you don’t know if the items will be the right gift, for the right person, at the right price is stressful.
Now let’s look at shopping on line………..
1.) Time…Self explanatory this one is. It takes the average person 1 minute to get online. 1 more minute to go to their choice of online store. Another 10 or 15 minutes to check off some names as you select your items, about another 5 minutes to enter your payment information into the appropriate places and print out your receipt. Walla!!!!!! 30 minutes tops! Think of what you could do with all that time. (Definitely catch that movie huh?)
2.) Gas……What gas? You don’t use any. You save it all for those trips to the movie theater. You don’t even need a car. You just need an address to send your gift too. You could even send the item to the person your going to give the gift too no matter where they’re in the world, and save yourself time wrapping it!!! (Ever get a gift in the mail? It’s a great feeling.)
3.) Physical Stress…there’s none!!!! No bags to carry, no walks through the malls, no lines to wait in, no fumbling with credit cards, receipts, money or bags while your in the store. All you’ve to do is lift a finger to click a mouse.
4.) Less Mental Stress…Think about all the planning that gets into doing all of your shopping the traditional way. All you’ve to do here is make a list, and check it off as you go.
1.) You must have a computer with an internet connection. Which you already have because you’re reading this article. That’s the only negative…
There are some things that every serious online shopper should know before they begin their online shopping experience. Here they’re:
1.) To make the best use of your time, pick an online store that carries more than one type of item. It should be a mini-mall. They should have products that you’d buy for yourself and something for everyone you want to shop for.
2.) The store should have a shopping cart. This feature will allow you to pick up different items while your shopping, and put them together in one place, for review (whether you buy the items or not) before your final purchase.
3.) The store should have some kind of FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page that can help you with anything that you might need to know about the store. If not a FAQ page, definitely some type of Customer Service Contact Information.
4.) The store should have a picture of the item with a good description next to it. That’s right!!! An actual description of the item. When you go into a traditional store, the only time you’ll get a description given to you is when it’s a high-ticket item like a car or expensive electronic item. To find the description yourself you’ve to check one of the 6 sides of the packaging. Online it’s right there in front of you. How great is that?
5.) The store should have a way to put your name and email address into its data base so that they can contact you for customer specials the store might have. This can be a great way to get discounts from that store. You’ll get all kinds of notifications about sales, special offers, and possibly some coupons to save you money on your next purchase.
6.) The store should have different ways to accept your payments. Credit cards, check cards, online checks, print out order forms that can be faxed or mailed to them to process orders. The more the better.
7.) The store should have a money back guarantee. This should let you know that if you’re not 100% satisfied with your purchase, the company will refund all your expenses without any questions asked.
8.) The store should also be listed with the Online BBB.
9.) The store MUST have a secure connection in which to receive your payment. If a company doesn’t have this, I would not suggest using them. Usually you’ll see some sort of notice that talks about security as it pertains to ordering items online, and a picture of a padlock somewhere.
That’s it!!!!!!!!!!! If you’ve those nine things you’re ready to go. Try this method of shopping and decide for yourself. You be the judge. If you’re serious about making your life easier when it comes to shopping for the holiday season, then you can’t help but giving online shopping a chance. I think you’ll agree that you can’t beat shopping online. Good Luck and Happy Shopping!!!!!