Tag Archives: Online Shopping

Can Online Shopping Help Shoppaholics?

I hope your Halloween weekend was eventful, fulfilled, and ended in a candy induced frenzy. And speaking of frenzies, Black Friday is only a few weeks away! As the end of the year creeps closer and closer, I we find ourselves with the one thing that we just can’t get enough of, and that is possibilities. In fact, there are so many possibilities during this season that most of the time, we don’t know what to do with them. While these possibilities aren’t only limited to what we can buy at stores, it does seem that this is where a large portion of our expanded choices stem from. With sales going up faster than holiday decorations, we find ourselves browsing through stuff that we normally wouldn’t and begin impulse buying at a ridiculous rate. Why? “Because it was on sale, duh!”

And here we come to one of the major dangers of shopping. Sales are obviously ways for stores to draw in and attract customers and for most shoppers, it may seem that there is zero harm in buying something that is marked down and that mentality stays with us throughout the day until we find that we’ve spent so much more money than we normally would have. Now of course, you have to ask yourself if this is even a real problem at all. For some people, going on a shopping spree and giving the wallet a workout isn’t that big of a deal. As for me however, I get a severe case of buyers remorse whenever I spend too much money. That is not to say that I regret getting new stuff, rather, I regret losing money and as a result, tend to curb my shopping habits.

As far as finding a practical cure for these “sale fevers” of the holiday season, the most effective solution is the preventative measure of self-control. However, if it were that easy, then marketers would have done away with the idea of “sales” a long time ago. But is there another way to shop without getting sucked into the myriad of holiday sales? Probably not, however, that doesn’t mean we can’t look for one. As you could have guessed from the trend from the past few weeks (or by looking at the title) Online shopping can be a probable solution.

As always, I will present both pros and cons of the argument, for the sake of a full discussion about the topic. First the cons:

The only major flaw with trying to save money while online shopping is the fact that the only method of payment is through debit or credit cards. This may seem innocuous, however to is a very important factor to consider. When you pay online you only see numbers on a screen that tells you the price of your purchases. For many people the significance of these numbers is lost on them until they compare it to their bank account statement. As a result, people may be more inclined to spend lots of money while shopping online because there isn’t the feeling of spending money isn’t emphasized. When you go to a store for example, and pay with cash, you are physically handing away your money, when making a purchase, thereby making the loss of money a real thing. Even when paying with a debit/credit card, we are forced to physically give over our cards and make the transaction a physical thing, rather than seem like a game on a computer.

Now the pros of online shopping: Firstly, sales tend to loose some power when making purchases online. On a computer, we see a marked down price, perhaps with some bold lettering that says “SALE”. However this is nothing compared to the sensory overload of going physically going to a store and being bombarded with dozens of giant “SALE” signs everywhere. Secondly, there is no peer pressure for spending money. Take Black Friday for example. Everyone’s favorite holiday, as indicated by the mass of people that line up outside stores before they open. When those doors are first opened, a wave of people swoop in to get to the best sales before they run out. Because of this pressure, people are more likely to make a quick purchase in fear that if they wait, they will miss out on a good deal. While this risk may exist in online shopping, such as lettering that indicates “ONLY 1 LEFT IN STOCK” the feeling of urgency is immensely mitigated by the fact that there is no physical rush. Lastly is that with online shopping, there is not as much temptation to browse items. Part of the fun of going to a store is to walk around the whole store and buy what interests you. While shopping online, there is a greater tendency to look for items that you need and browsing, while much more convenient, is a little more boring. Thus the chances of making a purchase on impulse is again reduced.

So with that said, I know many people will still probably go out on a spree on Black Friday, I know I probably will. But for those of you that want to build a thrifty habit, try shopping online and see if that helps you curb your spending spree.

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Have You Started Your Holiday Shopping Yet?

Holdiay Shopping

Have you really not started your holiday shopping yet? Can it “really” wait? Well, if you say so…

Have you ever noticed that most of you do the most shopping at around this time of year. Think about it for a moment. You have Halloween: Candy shopping, Costume shopping, decoration shopping, and seasonal foods shopping (pumpkin pies). Then Thanksgiving: decoration shopping and Seasonal food shopping (turkeys). Then right after Thanksgiving there’s everyone’s favorite holiday… Black Friday: clothes shopping, food shopping, decoration shopping, tech shopping, and basically shopping for everything that’s marked down, because “hey, it’s on sale”. Then after the Most Wonderful Time of the Year we have Christmas and the shopping frenzy that it brings like: Christmas trees, christmas decorations, and present shopping. And finally there’s New Years where everyone has to have obligatory party hats, glasses in the shape of the New Year, and an almost unhealthy amount of Champagne. If we count that out, that’s five different major holiday events that most people (at least in the US) celebrate. And that all takes place in the span of about 8-9 weeks. The fact that some people can actually pull of going out shopping for five different events in the span of 8-9 weeks and still carry on with their lives is honestly amazing.

Yet of course it is obviously stressful right? I mean, how often around this time of year does a store “run out of an item” or is suddenly “out of stock”? Too many right? Suddenly your back is against a corner because your kid is expecting a ridiculous present from Santa but unfortunately the “elves” have run out of stock. Or maybe your significant other is expecting a romantic gift and delicious home cooked meal and suddenly your scrambling around town trying to piece together the ingredients for a perfect night. Whatever the situation, I’m sure most of us have been victimized by stresses that come with the three different celebratory seasons that are packed into these last few weeks of the year.

So is there a way to overcome the stress?

Well last week I compared online shopping with in-person shopping and ended my brisk comparison with the observation that neither is perfect, but each does have it’s merits. Well this week, I’m going to focus on how online shopping may actually be a lifesaver during the holiday season.

Let me preface this discussion first, by saying that in my opinion and as far as I know, there is no online shopping experience as of yet that can replace Black Friday shopping. I mean, the rush of going to a store at 5:00 am, beating people to the best sales, watching two people get into an actual fight over “the last pair of whatever”, getting some amazing discounts and ultimately walking away with a car-load of items that you bought mostly on impulse can not be replicated online. Maybe one day, but as of now it remains one of the few things that technology cannot replace.

However, for the less exhilarating experience of Holiday shopping, we can use the internet to our full advantage. There is of course the convenience factor of shopping online from your home, without having to make it a big deal. This takes about 25% of the stress out of holiday shopping because you can shop from your bed or couch and not have to exert yourself ( I know, sounds really lazy but, eh…).

Another very common problem with holiday shopping, in my experience, is the fact that stores run out of supply so quickly that no one can really keep up with it. Well thanks to the internet, certain stores can post their stock availability online. That way you’re not stuck running around for hours trying to figure out what stores are carrying the items you want. Thanks to the internet, you probably won’t even have to go to the store to purchase your items, because many stores now allow you to make purchases online and have packages shipped to your location.

Having the entire internet at your fingertips also means that you aren’t limited to what’s available on stores, but can also see what’s available on sites like amazon. Maybe they’ll have an item that isn’ available in any local stores, and if they do then you can be sure that they will ship it as fast as possible.

Of course, as I said last week, online shopping even during the holidays, does not (for the most part) have a social aspect to it. While it can potentially eliminate the stresses of holiday shopping you lose a bit of the experience like that random cheery holiday person at the store who gives you advice on delicious Thanksgiving recipes, or the overly helpful store worker who recommends good christmas decorations.

Once the internet can incorporate this into online shopping then it’s a done deal, but for now online shopping remains only the most effective way to unburden yourself from the un-cheery part of the holiday seasons.

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Why Should you Shop Online?

Shopping Stuff Collage

Shopping. It’s something that is universal in societies everywhere and it’s something that everyone enjoys doing. And whether we realize it or not, we spend most our lives working so that we can eventually go shopping. Whether it’s buying clothes, groceries, a new car, or even a house, we work to get money so that we can spend it on things we need or want.

Technology. It’s an integral part of our society. We measure the progress of civilizations based on their technological advancement. But what is it really? In simple terms, technology is any invention or discovery that makes life easier for people. Take the wheel for example – it is one of the earliest technological advancements of humanity that allows people to travel more efficiently and is such a useful tool that we still use it to this day. A more modern example and one of immense social significance is the internet. Now I don’t think anyone would disagree that the internet has revolutionized every aspect of society as we know it – and if you do still have doubts, just remember that you wouldn’t be able to read these words otherwise.

Now you’re probably wondering what shopping and technology are doing at the top of this article, both in bold as if they were equally significant and/or somehow related. Well firstly, technology – by it’s nature – is involved in literally everything, including shopping.

Don’t believe me? Go look back through previous articles and click on a few of the hyperlinks below the images. Where does it take you? Amazon.com – an internet website that launched almost 20 years ago where most people nowadays do their online shopping. Starting off as an online bookstore, Amazon quickly diversified their products and in the 2000s when internet usage became much more common, Amazon became one of the most popular websites to do online shopping.

In recent years, thanks to tech-advances like PayPal and Bitcoin, internet transactions are becoming almost as common as in-person transactions and as a result, the shopping industry is forced to accommodate. Almost every store (clothing, grocery, etc.) now has a website that shows what products are in stock and what certain prices are. Some grocery stores, such as Safeway even allow you to do your grocery shopping online and have it home delivered!

Now like all things related to technological advancement there has to be some sort of “Is technology ruining our lifestyles?” debate. Well since the question is always out there, why not address it, right?

So, “Is Technology ruining the way we shop?”

Now this may seem like a really ridiculous question. Online shopping is simply so much more convenient. You can compare prices of products from different stores, see what certain store branches have in stock and ultimately purchase your desired products, all from the comfort of your own home. You don’t have to worry about the “store’s hours of operation” or be inconvenienced by driving around town just to get to different stores.

However, like all things tech related, there seems to b a certain lack of personal connection. Part of the reason some people go out physically shopping is so that they get to do a little bonding time with friends or family. Some people like to go to clothing stores to get the opinions of people on their outfit selections, and get trendy new fashion ideas.

Now I know I didn’t answer my own question but when it comes to physical or online shopping, each has it’s merits. The former represents the social aspect of shopping and the latter shows the efficiency and convenience of shopping through technology.

In my opinion, a marriage of these two merits is perhaps the ideal shopping experience. The social aspect plus the ease of the technological convenience.

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