Chances are good that you’ve done at least some online shopping in the last few years. Online and even brick-and-mortar stores have every year reported significant increases in both the number of online transactions that have been processed, and the amount of those transactions. Apparently, people are figuring out that Santa’s the only thing you can get at the mall these days that you can’t get online!
And why not? Holiday shopping is stressful, expensive, aggrevating, and time consuming. If you wait until the last minute, you’ll have to contend with tens of thousands of other shoppers possibly all looking for the same thing you can’t find, and then to top it off, there’s the crush of traffic clogging up every street in town, keeping you from getting anywhere in a reasonable time. You’ll spend money on gas, wear and tear on your vehicle, chance the weather causing an accident, and possibly even end up in jail if you start a shoving match with someone over that toy your kid says is the only thing they want for Christmas!
So, we know that online holiday shopping can save you some frustration, but how can it save you money? You might just be surprised!
Gas - Most obviously, you’ll save gas money since you aren’t actually leaving the house to do your shopping. Also, it may surprise you to find that this savings won’t necessarily get eaten up with shipping and handling charges, either. Most of the major online retailers like Amazon and online traditional stores offer free shipping when your order exceeds a certain amount. Usually, it’s relatively low, like $25 or so!
Sale pricing - One of the arguments that brick-and-mortar stores have against online stores is their ability to discount items much more deeply than traditional stores can. This has to do with the online store’s lack of significant overhead. After all, they’re working out of just a handful of warehouses and offices, not a bunch of stores on every street corner! They pay less in salary cost because they have fewer employees, less in insurance, less in taxes - all this equates to giving you a great discount on the stuff you want!
Impulse buying - While the online retailers are working hard to get you to impulse buy, there’s nothing quite like standing in that checkout line for ten minutes to make that candy bar start singing to you! Traditional retailers have got impulse buying down to a science, and they fleece consumers like you and I out of millions of dollars every year with those strategically-placed goodies!
Comparison Shopping - Online, it’s easier to comparison shop. Rather than driving to three different retailers to get the best price, (see also the gas savings listed above) you can quickly navigate to three or more websites to find the best price, and you may even get free gift wrapping, as well! One word of caution, though: There are a host of scams online that purport to offer the best prices on popular items, but which in reality are simply ways to steal from consumers too eager to take a chance on what appears to be a once-in-a-lifetime deal. Rather than following other suckers over the cliff, remember that if a deal appears too good to be true, is significantly lower price than anyone else, then chances are it is too good to be true!
This holiday season, do yourself a favor and try online shopping for all your gift giving. You might just be surprised by how great the experience can be!