I have a love-hate relationship with online shopping. It’s great in the fact that I don’t have to drive anywhere and go into crowded stores to do my shopping. However, is online shopping really that great? Read on to discover some of my tips for online shopping, as well as the pros and cons of shopping on the internet. Since it is December, I will be putting an emphasis on holiday shopping, but these tips will mostly work anytime.
Why Online Shopping?
Since I have mostly lived my life in the age of technology and the internet, I do not know much of the history of online shops. What I do know is that there are a myriad of stores out there where you can purchase anything and have it shipped to your door for free. For many people, myself included, this is very handy. I personally do not like driving and would rather spend my time playing with my cat rather than socializing with customer support at the store. For many people, online shopping could be easier, as they might not be mobile enough to leave the house, or their house is very far away from stores.
What’s the bad?
I’ll start with the bad about online shopping. It’s been proven that people spend less money if they have to actually hand over cash and watch it go away, rather than just swiping, or entering, their credit card number. This happens in physical stores as well, but it takes a whole other meaning when it comes to online shopping. With all the technology on computers and phones nowadays, it’s easier than ever to just order something with ‘one click’. It is likely that you have your card numbers stored online at a store like Amazon or American Eagle, so you don’t have to enter them all the time. This prevents a block from spending money. Instead of even having to take your card out of your wallet, all you have to do is press the ‘check out’ button.
Unfortunately, I do not know many statistics for this next element, but online shopping is bad for the environment. Think about the last time you ordered something online. It’s likely that it came in either a cardboard box filled with plastic bags of air or a plastic bag. The boxes and bags take energy and resources to produce, and, if not disposed of properly, can do so much more harm to the environment. (I am going to take this opportunity to ask you to please recycle. Learn the proper things that can be recycled and teach your friends and neighbors).
Aside from the packing materials, there is also the shipping. With online shopping, items can be made all over the world and sent overseas to the consumer. How are they sent? By plane? What about by boat? Or by a truck? All those ways of transportation use up energy and resources. I’m not saying that driving to the store and buying something that was shipped to the store, in the same manner, doesn’t use energy, it’s just something to think about.
Shopping carts. Have you ever put something in an online shopping cart and forgotten about it, only to be emailed by the retailer several days later with a coupon for that item? Did you buy it after getting the coupon? This is one trick marketers use to get you to go back to their site. They are hoping that when you are there, you will remember something else you wanted to get and add that to your cart as well. The thing with online shopping is that you don’t really see how much stuff is piling up in your cart, unlike in stores, when you can see the dimensions of the product and feel its’ weight.
As I mentioned before, there are some people who either don’t like driving or are unable to leave the house. Online shopping is very easy because all you need is an internet connected device. Also, if you are in the middle of nowhere, the likelihood that the package will be delivered to you is pretty high.
Ease of Use
There’s no denying that online shopping is easy to use. You can even go shopping for your Christmas gifts while watching the rain fall outside wrapped in your heated blanket! How cool is that! Pun intended. Along with this, everything is in one spot. No need to go to multiple different stores to find everything on your wish list. Most of the time, you can even find everything on one site, like Amazon.
Especially around the holidays, stores can be packed with people. I’m not talking about black Friday packed (that’s a whole other level of crowded), but about people and shopping carts so thick that you can’t move around them. An example of this is Costco the day before Christmas. I have not personally been to Costco the day before Christmas, but I have been the day before 4th of July, as well as before a few other less festive holidays. It is not fun. The lines are long, there are people everywhere, and that’s just if you get to the checkout. Sometimes there are so many people that you can’t work your way through the store. A much nicer version is shopping with your cat on your lap, don’t you think?
Tips and Tricks for Online Shopping
We all know how easy it is to buy stuff online, and then open the package a few days later to find multiple things you don’t need. This is why I like using Amazon’s wish list. I put the things I want on there, even from other websites, and I peruse it often (more than I’d like to admit, actually), and most often take a few things off.
The Cost-to-Wait Rule
I heard a tip from one of my friends that if you want to buy something, take the dollar amount divided by 10 (so, 32 dollars would be 3) and wait that many days before you purchase it. This works in stores as well as online. If you still want to purchase it after those 3 days, there’s a good chance it wasn’t just an impulse buy and a better chance that you won’t regret it later. Another thing I like to do with my wish list is to write down why I want the items. Even if it’s shampoo, I’ll write why I like the shampoo. It is just one extra step to prevent impulse buys.
A fairly recent website that I discovered is called Ebates. Now that I know this exists, I can recall all the times I’ve heard people on other blogs and in YouTube videos raving about this website. I don’t know if I would go that far, but it’s not bad. Online shopping rates tend to skyrocket during the holidays, and for an understandable reason. If you use this link you get a free $10 with sign-up. This is an affiliate link, meaning I will get a bonus at no extra cost to you. If you would rather not do that, you can google the website – I promise I won’t be upset.
Funding your Online Shopping
This really works with any shopping, or just if you want to make a little extra money. I have been on this earth collecting material items for almost 20 years. And it piles up! I recently sold some technology that I wasn’t using on Ebay, and traded-in some other stuff on Amazon’s trade-in program. If you are under the age of 18, ask your parents for help. Even if you are over the age of 18, I would still ask for help. Selling online can be quite complicated – there are so many steps! For example, on Ebay, you need a PayPal account to get paid. And you need to figure out shipping for your item. And sometimes there’s a fee for listing your item for sale! Always better safe than sorry.
What are your favorite ways to shop? Do you prefer online or in store? Leave a comment down below.