“ It's a battle of the Titans... online vs offline (that's shopping in a real store in case you didn't know!) shopping. Which do you prefer? How does one even begin to compare the two? Give us your breakdown on the pros and cons of offline and online shopping. „
"It does seem really hard to get consumers to do the right thing. It is stupid that we use two tons of steel, glass, and plastic to haul our sorry selves to the shopping mall. It's stupid that we put water in plastic bottles in Fiji and ship it here."- John Doer
Me vs Street Shopping - The Battle Begins
I like to think that I am in touch with my so-called feminine side, but even I struggle to meet the metrosexual fashion of loving the shopping experience. The street shopping experience for me, which hasn't happened properly in a long time, is typically faced with "weekend eyes". I am tired and unenthusiastic. Arguments with partners nearly always inevitably arose from shopping excursions. It is a constant theme with me, so the blame probably rests squarely on my shoulders and I acknowledge it. I clearly do not want to be there and my every action is a move to get to the checkout and away from the place. When it comes to most types of street shopping I want to go in and get what I came for
The Shopping Community
Next to tourists, protesters, religious fanatics and people with contagious diseases, the community I feel least comfortable around are "fellow shoppers". They can display some of the worst traits humanity has to offer. From nosey shop assistants and pushy salespeople to aggressive trolley rammers and bustling crowds, you sometimes feel that wearing a suit of spikey armour should be an essential requirement for a rush hour shopper. Supermarkets are probably the worst of places for... just about everything! A major pet hate are the aisle gossipers. These blockages on the artery of time management cluster together to block your progress with their inane chatter about their and just about everyone else's lives - "Of course, our Martin is no longer with Marjorie... No, never did like her". Then, when you have made it through there, often narrowly avoiding screaming children or ensuring your own hasn't picked up items you don't intend to pay for, you face the checkout. Here, if you are unlucky, you can be treated to the worst examples of equal opportunities serving you. People who you would think twice allowing access to a squared piece of paper will eat up more of your valuable time as yet another item does not appear on the system and they have to ask Craig - it is often a Craig, I don't know why - to check for him. You will remember Craig. He is the individual you asked on isle four to look out the back to see if there were any packets of your favourite cereal left. Craig inevitably goes out the back to have a crafty smoke break, only to return empty handed. His equivalent in a convenience store is only marginally better. His favourite line is "If it isn't on the shelf then we haven't got it". Then there are the petrol station cashiers who have interesting questions of their own. Like when you have asked to pay for your food and fuel separately, and they ask whether you want a VAT receipt? No, I clearly have a severe version of OCD and I get freaked out when my fuel and food are mixed!
So, if you are lucky you get to the checkout in reasonable time. Unfortunately this only happens at certain times of the day and inevitably they aren't the times you can make it. This means you have to contend with Derek who insists on getting the right change out (actually I have been a bit of a Derek at times, so admitted hypocrisy there). Worse still is Mabel who wants to chat to the cashier she has known for years about her children who are now grown up and live in Australia!
Self-Checkout - The Answer to my Prayers?
When a system for scanning items yourself and paying was first introduced my heart leapt. At last I could avoid those issues I have with the normal check-out. Now we had a filter. No more would I have to deal with the frustration of people who treat the check-out as an essential part of their social life or want to fiddle with change. We busier people could just get going! That is until my daughter can be trained not to keep leaning on the checkout and ruining my order or Mabel decides to wants to take on the new technology! Oh man! This is not supposed to happen. We are clearly at a crossroads of evolutions here and surely, if we are to follow Darwin's laws, the machine should terminate those who haven't the foggiest how to use it and insist on calling an assistant.
Childhood is Over...
I guess my big problem with street shopping is that I never grew up. As a kid, shopping could be fun. Yes, I got bored, but between hanging off the back of trolleys and looking forward to eating chips at a café at the end of the shopping trip, I got to look at stuff I liked and wanted, and sometimes got. If someone told me a shopping trip would involve me looking around different bookshops and music/video stores with a realistic supply of money, then just call me the happy shopper! I can browse forever in a good bookstore. Hell, I can browse forever in a bad bookshop. When it comes to clothes shopping, food shopping or any other type of shopping, it's a chore.
Christmas Shopping - Avoiding Armageddon
There are few things to dampen any concept of Christmas spirit than shopping during the festive time. Here that community I don't really enjoy at any time of year turn into something I last saw trying to breach Helms Deep. All the traits that Christmas is supposed to represent are woefully forgotten as everyone scrambles and fights their way into the shops to pay extortionate prices for items that will never get used. Of course, intelligent and organized people will have already done their Christmas shopping well ahead of time. Their presents will already be sorted and wrapped by the time the first set of Christmas lights go up. Others will have bought carefully throughout the year, paying sensible prices and actually getting items that recipients will enjoy or find useful. However, for the rest of us great unwashed we will be panic buying at the last moment and just about holding onto our sanity at the endless and relentless stream of awful Christmas pop songs being played throughout the shops. Wizard's "I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day" seemed the most inappropriate tune for my mood and the damn track became the anthem to my annoyance and frustration.
Online - A Better Way
The online choice eliminates all that nonsense. It is not without its faults. These faults include broken connections and problems with delivery. However, the worst problem with online buying is that is perhaps even worse than street shopping in getting you to spend more than you had intended. For the first time, I could empathise with those shoppers who can't resist all the "bargains". With books and films going on Marketplace websites for 00.01p it is hard to resist. Plus Amazon has its suggested accompaniments and generates whole pages of delicious related material based on your purchases. It is like being tempted by the Devil! However, for the most part it cuts out the unpleasantness of street shopping. You have more time to play and educate your child rather than hauling them around the place. You don't have to put up with the blatantly rude or the incurably dithery. And you don't end up taking it out on your friends and those closest to you. I recall getting supermarket orders to my front door certainly cut out those rows on the way home. Furthermore, when it comes to presents you have a far wider scope to choose from. Although, as you might guess, I am still inclined to think of a film or book that the receiver of my present might want.
Online shopping vs Offline shopping?
Well for me I prefer both and for different reasons. I shops at various places online mainly ebay but also Boots, Asda, Tesco and sometimes New Look. I have also used play.com. Offline I go to supermarkets as above and also Iceland, Boots, Peacocks, B&Ms etc.
-you can have items delivered straight to your door
-you can shop day or night
-many online retailers now accept Paypal aswell as credit or debit card as a method of payment
-special online exclusive offers and discounts
-you can obtain money off/free delivery codes from online voucher websites
-you cannot see what it is you are buying as pictures may not always be clear
-things are often out of stock
-you cannot try clothes on
-hassle to return items if not suitable
-delivery charges and times
-items going missing in the post
-no credit/debit card
-not all retailers accept vouchers (printed)
-you can see what you are buying
-you can buy there and then
-you are able to pay cash aswell as debit or credit card
-you can take advantage of any printed coupons you have
-clearance sections instores
-easy to return items
-sometimes cheaper online
-long queues instore
-can be busy at peak times at holidays
I like a mix of both. When it comes to clothes, I prefer offline as I see the quality and try them on before i buy. As with fruit and vegetables, I don't trust a supermarket to send me fresh products and prefer to pick them myself. As I buy on ebay, I find lots of bargains on there in bulk but there is no way I could get the same prices offline so this benefits me greatly.
I have listed what I consider to be the advantages and disadvantages of online and offline shopping however this is only my view and others will have a different view.
Thanks for reading
If, I said you had a beautiful <HTML>'body', would you hold it against me?
It is getting very clear now that since the downturn last year the recession has dug up some unwanted statistics concerning identity theft ; it has soured since the last count over 14 months ago, to heights of a 36% rise compared to 2008. - The increase is due to the evolving digital revolution that has hit the High Street into touch regarding to deals and offers that will change the way people shop for a generation. The statistic estimates 4.3 Million people have suffered this crime through the hands of criminal gang cartels because of the downturn, as many individuals are naïve to internet protocols and criminal systems in gaining access to bank details via the ISP Internet Server Provider. Online deals serve as a 'honey-trap' to the victims who then divulge their credit card information without checking the internet's site security. This is a simple pad-lock logo that is visible next to the page link, if the logo isn't present do not enter. This is common sense to many of us but too many people who've just received Broadband access have been seduced in this scheme, giving the online retailer a bad press, regardless of the reputation the online retailer holds.
I thankfully was one of the young guns who saw the problematic oddities that swamped my mailbox about five years ago that came from false Amazon accounts, Amazon being one of the most successful online trading machines around. Fraudsters had collectively tried to gain access to trading contacts and also posed as Amazon wanting to offer me incredible deals. This wasn't about Amazon, but also Barclays, and Lloyds TSB. The mass mail-outs from criminal gangs had effectively opened up a huge amount of ID thefts for years to come and now in 2009, the criminals have started to unravel their master-plan. - If, you go back to the theft of TK Max credit cards only two years ago, you will realize how lucrative your identity is. Half a million account details have been stolen on that raid alone. - Other account thefts have come from the HO Home Office around the same time in 2007 whereby mass numbers of accounts have been collected from lost drives belonging to the HO, that include your home address, incomes and also how you paid your parking fine, including account numbers and date of birth.
The main problem is that not everyone clears their cache on a daily basis, so when you online shop the card details is available for an internet hijacker to quickly swipe your account details via a MT Wifi transmitter; within 200 yards from your front door. The cartels are then able to copy your details back to a huge database; that will then activate a de-tracer software package that will hide any online account hijacking. - the sad thing is that it is impossible for the Police investigation units to actually trace any wrong doing, but what is imperative is having a third 'Firewall' to help stop the hijackings to take place, remarkably, only 12% of internet users have activated security software. - The same people who haven't got the security software view their online credit report every week without fail which in itself can be hacked into with you knowledge. The biggest blunders seem to be the numbers of individuals who do not shred financial details which inevitable comes from High Street Banks and retailers, who systematically send out details 'no holds barred' straight via the migrant postman. An incredible 64% of the UK public bin financial documentation without shredding - All of which helps fraudsters gaining your details on every turn.
Online trading has significantly increased recently hence why many identity thefts have been reported. That infamous report by our media claiming the UK is being battered by a 'perfect financial storm'; that was caused by the banking sector across the Westernized world has made it a wonderful picnic epicenter for criminal cartels to reel in their financial victims. The cunningness of the financial fraudsters must of thought their ship had came in, with the banks being the big whale the little fish have had no choice but to steer off course to try other means of prosperity, that often lands them in the hands of pirates. - The wonders of a 'free market' thanks to de-regulation, no-ones accountable. If, you have the clout to fight, the big fat lawyers will gobble you up instead, making the capitalistic state we all embroider non workable, it's far from a fair judicial system that the UK boast to be.
Who or what is able to save the High Street retailer? - Major British establishments have been forced to tighten their belts due to the deep recession that has gripped there sales figures since the mid 2007 season, when the dizzy days of high credit ruled their sales figures. Whereby High Street retailers slung cards at anyone without care, if you had the right coloured Slazenger hoody and sounded like Katherine Tate you're in; and they weren't 'bovvered'. - Big CEO of Marks and Spencer's Mr. Stuart Rose protected his private sector and stated last week that it has been a really tough time at M&S, with yet more cuts to come across the board. It is about time the decision makers at Whitehall also smelt the coffee and made cuts internally.
His comments backed up a declining market trend in retail sales compared to online sales. It was reported that the retail sector profit margins are falling prior to last year's dismal figures. - Proving it neon impossible for the High Street to compete via price on purchases sold compared to the online market. The added bonuses and schemes such as the many cash-back incentives makes online shopping an absolute must while the credit crunch continues it's weather pattern depression; even with all the risks involved with getting that decent priced offer, it maybe worth the gamble, and many people are taking that risk. - Retailers worries will continue into the Christmas season as jobs will inevitable be at risk if the trend doesn't pick-up into January 2010.
Noticeably, the biggest market revenue advertiser since the dawning of the internet search engine facility now is 'Google', which has taken over the advertiser revenue from ITV, for the first time ever this year (2009). - Money sure does talk when it comes to traffic and sales volume, Google's 'AdSense' program gives great incentives generally for online retailers, as their affiliate program is another reason to pay big money for advertising campaigns, the stream of cash due to volume of traffic makes great sense for any business during a down-turn period, of economical growth. - Another big success has been the emergence of huge comparison sites, with their catchy brand names and easy to use navigation is no doubt an addition into the Oxford English dictionary before too long. - Everyone has the itch; they're talking about it even without consciously talking about the site. "Are you confused.com?" -
For people who know my write-ups well, you will already know of the 2005 James Dyson quote I've added on previous encounters; stating that the UK is a retail park, ready for any offshore buyers. This has been so true as far. In the capital this last six months there has been a frenzy of foreign bargain hunters looking for deals to sell in Europe due to the weak pound. - The type of sale retailers can't rely on long term; but alas due to the poor financial sector the retailers are looking to these means of selling products off their shelves. When it comes to the bulk of the Christmas sales this year, the High Street will see the true cost of the recession.
Weighing up the matters with online shopping and the 'touchy feely' shopping bonanza that most people do love to do, especially women who are accustomed to making it an art-form that leaves me completely in the dark when it comes to; 'What women want and look for?' - I don't believe the UK shopper is ever going to turn completely off to the High Street wonders and experience that certainly is addictive, hence, why so many individuals have had to go to re-hab to deal with their shopaholic problem. On a TV program called 'Spend like a Shopaholic', it is noticeable that a lot of homosexual men appear on the show and seem hell-bent on covering up their inward social problem by over-shopping - Shopping does appear cross gendered in certain social groups'.
Overall, the UK has spent less and saved more, most recently. However, with rising unemployment and consumers continue to face big concerns with fuel bills and other rising amenity costs, major obstacles are in-place in gaining credit. The position hasn't changed for a huge majority of the UK public. Job securities are paramount, new ways of quick earnings are being sought after that has been apparent in fraud, and with the interest rates at the lowest for many years it is only the rich foreigners who can fill their boots. The crazy 2.5% VAT decrease from Westminster has not been filtered through in my opinion to the consumer. It was a cheap trick that bore no fruit across the retailers to consumers; it is back to 17.5% in January 2010; so watch for the retail price hike as many failing retailers will take advantage.
However, in this climate the internet shopping HTML>'body' looks more appealing as I want more from my shopping experience, more than what the High Street can provide for my fix, and that is greater incentives, bigger offers and if you've got your wits about you, a safer way of shopping.
Despite only been young a few years ago I was saying I would never shop online but now I actually do shop online however not for everything.
The reasons I like to shop online is mainly due to the time and effort you have to put into shopping. My mains reasons for shopping online are that you do not have to pay to park or wait for and then sit on the bus which I hate so much. I love the fact of been able to shop 24 hours as I am a morning person who loves been busy right from 7 am plus aswell as shopping in the morning I can do it in my pyjamas which is perfect as if I went to the shops in my pyjamas people would surely stare. As well as everything mainly online is cheaper not by much but still if for example recently I asked my mum for a DVD for my birthday and she went out everywhere in town looking for the cheapest price as if she can find the same thing cheaper somewhere else it equals more money for more gifts but she went around everywhere and the cheapest she found it for was £14.99 with HMV selling it for £14.99 she came home and went on HMV and found it for £12.99 of course she went back into town later that week and returned the DVD and now does most of her DVD and game shopping online as even places like HMV have the items cheaper on the internet than in the store which I personally think is ridiculous I know the have their reasons like they have to hire staff and they need to rent the property but still it is ridiculous even for just a £2 difference.
Of course offline shopping has its advantages as well. I do not actually mind looking around shops and if I was busy at work all of the time I would shop online much more as not everybody has the time to go shopping but as I am a student I think it gives me the time to get out of the house instead of been inside all the time. It is also a great way of meeting up with my friends and doing something I need to do at the same time. Another thing is that personally I do not like shopping online for what actually is the most popular form of shopping online which is for groceries as I like to go into the shop as it gives me ideas of what to buy and what to have for meals and plus I like to see what is on offer. Plus I can choose my own alternatives if the do not have something I want. Plus returns is difficult which is why I do most of my online clothes shopping on Littlewoods as it is free returns so I can try things on without having to pay to have them sent back. If I cannot find anything I do like to be able to see what things looks like for free and therefore would usually go to the shops. If I need something I will always go to the shop as you have to wait for your items to arrive and therefore do not get them near enough instantly. My main dispute with shopping online is when they say your item is coming on Monday between 9am and 6pm and you have to stay in all day and what I find even more annoying is when the say they are coming on Monday you wait in all day only for it to come on Tuesday at 6pm so that is 2 wasted days.
I have to admit though even though I was not initially interested in shopping now every time my new Littlewoods catalogue comes I have it open with a piece of paper writing down everything I'm going to order and it is then so easy to do it online. The main shopping I do online is for my DVDs and games as they are nearly always cheaper and if you don't know what DVD you want you can easily look up lots of different DVDs and plus I know the HMV where I live is so packed that unless you know what you want you would not be able to stand and read the back of the box as you would be in everybody's way.
My advice to anybody shopping online though is to make sure the website is secure and read some reviews on the website if you have never heard of them before. It has never happened to me personally but I know people who have bought things from websites only for not only the item not to arrive but also for their bank accounts to be emptied because it is a scam.
I shop both online and offline, and although I think online shopping is the best option, there are some instances where good old fashioned shopping wins.
**Advantages of Online Shopping**
I would say that about 80% of the purchases I make are online. The reason for this is that you get to compare loads of different shop's prices (not just the shops that are in your area) to get the best price, often you can get free delivery too so this is a bonus over the cost of petrol for driving in to town and then the cost of parking. If I was buying a cd, dvd, or computer game, this would almost certainly be bought online, and mostly second hand off eBay or through Play.com's Playtrade. One of my recent purchases was Frontline flea treatment for my cats - the local vets wanted over £20 for it but I managed to get it online for £16 plus free delivery. I find that online stores can often undercut high street shops because they have less overheads and bigger customer base - they are not limited to the customers that live nearby areas and can physically walk through the doors. This of course does have its downside - the more people shop online, the quicker the high street shops go out of business and people lose their jobs.
The other advantages are that you can shop from the comfort of your own home and browse at your leisure without being hassled by shop assistants. Though doctors have said that online shopping is making us obese....
I did my Christmas shopping last year entirely online, and there was a survey done after Christmas which confirmed that the majority of the population did the same. Why do we think this is? Didn't want to go out in the cold weather? Didn't want to push through the hoards of shoppers? I did it because it's convenient for me to shop at 6am on a Friday morning before work.
If you're really pressed for time, a lot of companies send things gift wrapped, so the most you have to do is choose your present and pay, and wait for it to arrive already wrapped with a bow! For those that even that is too much hassle, you can even buy e-gift vouchers such as I-tunes and Amazon vouchers. The gift then gets emailed to your chosen recipient, job done.
**Disadvantages of online shopping**
I guess the fact that you can't physically see and hold what you are buying is a disadvantage, but there is always the option (and hassle) of returning items if you don't like them. Though stores often do have multiple pictures of the item from different views to help you make your choice.
Credit card fraud is another one, you have to be careful to buy from secure sites. Touch wood I have never had this happen to me, but I know people that have. Just be sure to look out for the padlock in the bottom corner of the screen to make sure you're safe.
You don't get the "atmosphere" of shopping and browsing a real shop. This matters for some people at Christmas - they like to see the shops all dressed up and hear the Christmas music playing. However this is not an issue for me.
You have to wait for your purchase to arrive, and if it's a big item that wont fit through your letterbox you may have to make a trip to the local sorting office to collect it. Whereas if you were to shop in town, you carry your purchases right home with you.
**Advantages of Offline (real!) shopping**
The only thing that I would not buy online is food. I like to go round my local Tesco's and see what they have on offer, and browse the shelves and see what new products there are. Also I would grudge the delivery charge to bring my shopping to me, when I could have easily gone and got it myself.
Clothes are another thing that are probably better bought in real shops (though I tend to buy most of mine online because they are cheaper), as you can see and feel the garment and try it on before buying. The same goes for shoes - I have wide feet and have real trouble finding shoes, and as much as I hate trudging round shoe shops to try and find a nice pair that actually fit, it's the only option I have as 8 out of 10 pairs are too tight or uncomfortable. I'd be forever sending shoes back if I bought them online!
With offline shopping you get to pay cash if you choose, which eliminates the card fraud risk associated with online shopping.
If you buy an item that is faulty, its easier to take it back to a physical shop than post it back to the online store and risk it getting lost in transit on the way!
**Disadvantages of offline shopping**
With offline shopping, you only have the choice of the shops that are local to you, and if a item you want is nowhere to be found in your local town you will come home empty handed, and probably resort to ordering it online, which you could have done in the first place and saved yourself the trip into town.
You are limited to the shops that are in your town (or nearby towns!). In Ipswich we don't have a John Lewis, god knows where the nearest store is but it's accessible from my living room online, at any time of day (or night!).
You can't easily shop around to get the best prices - for example one search on the internet will tell you the price of that CD you are desperate for, but can you really be bothered to trudge round all the cd shops in town to find out which one is cheapest?
If you have to buy something that day but its chucking it down with rain - take a brolly cause you're going to get wet! Its more tempting to stay at home in the warm, in your pj's with a mug of tea and browse online!
I usually prefer to shop online simply because I can get things cheaper. The saying is true - "high street, high prices"!!
This is a tough comparison as both offline and online shopping has advantages and disadvantages.
~*~*~* ONLINE SHOPPING ~*~*~*
* You can browse anytime (there are no opening and closing times)
* You don't have to try and find parking spaces
* It is a lot easier if you have children, as most children don't like being took around shopping malls
* There is more of a variety, as most shops only stock a certain amount of items
* The item is delivered to your door, without having to leave the house
* It is a good option for the elderly or those who can't walk for long distances etc.
* You see the total there and then without dreading the total at the checkout
* It is more relaxed as you don't have to que in shops
* You can't try items on
* There are postage and packing charges
* You can't feel the quality
* It is less sociable (most women enjoy a nice day out shopping with their friends)
* You can get carried away , as you are using credit cards etc instead of cash
~*~*~* OFFLINE SHOPPING ~*~*~*
* Very sociable, and sometimes can be relaxing :-)
* You can try on the clothes
* You can see and feel quality of items
* It is easier to keep track of your spending
* Ques in shops
* Trying to find parking spaces
* Children don't really like walking around shops all day
* May not see anything you like (wasted journey)
* Weather may be bad
* Shops have particular opening/ closing times
In my opinion I prefer online shopping as I find walking around shops all day very stressful. I often find myself getting so worked up I don't even want to shop anymore. The lines of customers get on my nerves and the shops always seem to be sold out of my size. In the past few months I've hardly seen anything while out shopping, however online I have bought tonnes of clothes and accessories. Also if the weather is bad outside you don't want to be out shopping, you'd rather relax at home and browse the internet.
I think online is the way to go, everything is turning to online these days. I think it's only a matter of time before more and more businesses switch to online selling.
I now normally do all my shopping online. There are many reasons for this as I will explain later on in this review.
1) A great feature of shopping online is that you do not have to pay to park your car in town, trudge around the shops looking for what you want, eventually finding it and having to queue for 20 minutes.
2) You have now wasted an hour looking for an item when you could have found it online in 30 seconds and payed for the privilege of walking around town and then you find out you could have got the same item online for £10 less. This is especially the case with electronics, games, CDs, DVD`s e.t.c
3) Online you can order anything at anytime whereas in a shop you can only go in at opening hours.
4) I recently discovered online shopping could be even cheaper by going through cashback sites which are brilliant invention (I have reviewed a site called Topcashback separately which is one of these cashback sites.) and your shopping gets even cheaper. Online there are also voucher codes to save more money and you can use vouchers from sites like Dooyoo to further reduce your shopping!
These are the main reasons why I mostly shop online these are because it is cheaper, quicker and just generally better! However offline shopping does have a couple of good points too.
1) For items like clothes and jewellery you may want to see and try on an item before buying it so you may prefer shopping offline for things like clothes.
2) You get an item quicker shopping offline - although you have to find an item and queue up offline once you have done this you have your item whereas online shopping can take up to a week to arrive - this does not really bother me but may annoy some people.
Overall as I am sure you can see I think that if you shop at big online stores like Play and Amazon you know your item is going to arrive and it is nearly always cheaper than getting items offline. This sums up my review about online vs offline shopping and I hope I have persuaded some people who don`t shop online to start to!
One of the great benefits of online shopping is its convenience. You can do your shopping any time of the day or night from the comfort of your own home. You can browse a practically unlimited number of sites to find exactly what you are looking for. I've found that online shopping is particularly useful for finding inexpensive unusual gifts for friends and family that you just wouldn't find in a high street shop. Not only does this provide a great service for customers but it makes it easier for small businesses and independent artists to sell their products internationally with little personal cost. One of my favourite online shops is etsy.com where independent arts and crafts types can sell their wares easily. I have bought great gifts from this site and the artist I bought from sent me a personal note of thanks with my products and even included a little free gift. This makes the whole shopping experience much more pleasant than the standard 'Have a nice day' that you get in high street shops.
The downside of online shopping is that it can sometimes be unreliable and you have to be careful about which sites you shop with. Products can differ from what they are described as on the internet and it can be very difficult to get refunds from some companies. I don't buy clothes or shoes online as I am a bit of a strange shape and have to try clothes on before buying them. This is the area in which offline shopping is easier for me.
The best part of offline shopping is that you can see what you are getting. This is particularly useful for items that vary in size as you can see exactly what size you need. Also, offline shopping is often a social activity such as clothes shopping, an aspect not provided by online shopping. There is also the instant gratification that you can get from purchasing something and being able to have it there and then rather than waiting for it to be shipped from a warehouse which may take a number of weeks. This also means that you can buy things when you are in a hurry - something you can't do online.
One of the negative points about offline shopping is that the shopping experience itself may not be very pleasant. Take the January sales for example: you have to walk to the shops in the freezing cold, fight your way through crowds of women suffering from bargain-rage, try on a load of different outfits which you probably wouldn't buy if they were full price even if you could afford them, queue for hours only to be faced with a miserable teenage girl wearing too much makeup who is more interested in telling her friend how pissed she was last night than she is in serving you. When you have finally got your purchase home you realise that it is unlikely you will ever find an appropriate occasion to wear a neon-green sequined cocktail dress and that even if you did, there is a massive rip in it that you didn't notice because you were in too much of a hurry to get out of the stuffy, cramped, poorly-lit fitting room.
Both have their advantages in certain situations but I prefer to shop online whenever possible as the poor standard of service in many high street shops makes it less than pleasant to shop offline.
Oh online shopping is so great especially for people like me who don't have many shops around them . I first got into buying things online about five years ago whilst recovering from an operation.
As i was unable to drive it was a god send to be able to buy my groceries online. At the same time i bought a number of christmas gifts, mostly for my son as christmas was fast approaching.
I've never had any real problems buying online but i try to stick to reliable sites who are easy to contact. I have bought many items over the years from Ebay but now postage costs are higher its not always the bargain site it once was.
Play.com and Amazon are amongst my favorite sites as they offer free delivery (min £5 spend at Amazon) When my son for example wants a new game for his game station i can usually find it cheaper and delivered quickly online saving a minimum of a thirty mile round trip to visit a Game shop (thats of course if they have the "wanted" game instock.
so buying online saves me time along with petrol and most importantley my sanity)
Saying all this though theres nothing like meeting up with a good friend and enjoyng a day out browsing all the clothes stores , of course this has the added advantage of allowing you to try clothes on before you buy them and more importantley lets you have a good day out with a friend along with a long lunch of course bliss.
I do almost all of my shopping online nowadays. The main reason because I can't be bothered standing in the long queues at the shops on the highstreet. And can't be bothered walking round all the shops trying to find the best product or the cheapest of what I'm looking for.
I find it much easier and generally cheaper just sitting at home and waiting for your purchase to come to you. You may have to wait about 3 days generally, but I find this much better than the wait in queues. Especially if you go shopping just after Christmas.
The only downside to shopping online ( mainly for clothes ) is that you can't try what your buying on, so if it doesn't fit you have to go through the process of sending it back, contacting the company then waiting for your refund.
One thing that I do like about heading out to the highstreet is when extra freebies are thrown in to encourage you to buy the item. This never happens online for obvious reasons, so that is one upside that I see to going outside to do some shopping.
My verdict : don't wrap-up to keep warm, just stay in your house.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both online shopping and going into the high street stores. I aim to outline these in a few categories.
Clothing. Online, you can use discount codes, and shop via cashback sites, as well as items sometimes being cheaper in general. However, you cannot try them on, and as shops seem to be rather "individual" in their approach to sizing; one shops' size 8 is another's 12, you can end up with wildly inappropriate fits. Fabrics are also better when you can touch and feel them as I recently discovered when buying a summer dress which was made of cotton; only when it arrived through the post did I find out it was denim. You do have some companies such as Boden, who will send you a prepaid label and a resealable bag so you can return the item free of charge but with other retailers, that cost is your responsibility. Online shopping does eliminate queues, and saves a wasted journey to the shop when you know online if it is in stock or not.
Food. Massive benefit is that you, if like me you rely on walking/the bus, do not have to lug it all home yourself if you opt for online delivery. But you may also get a squashed or manky item as you cannot pick and choose for yourself. You also cannot take advantage of the special end of day reductions online although you are less likely to impulse buy if you do it online and you do get too use voucher codes, cashback sites and can see the BOGOFs. You can also get cheaper deals on alcohol online.
Electronics. Online you do not get a live demo but can read reviews etc and do not have to lug it home. You can use comparison sites, online voucher codes and cashback sites so I would say this is a better option than shopping on the high street.
Books, CDs, DVDs, etc, although you again cannot look at the item online, you get better deals and can use review sites and even preview on MP3 some of the songs. You are, as with every other online shop, able to use cashback and voucher codes too.
Homewares, like clothing, can look different in the flesh, and feel different too, so that is a downside to shopping for these online but you can get cheaper deals and not need to carry it home if you buy online.
Beauty and fragrances; unless you already know the product, it is not good as you cannot try/test it out online. If you do already know you love a product, it's a good idea to shop online as you can get some great deals and websites tend to be even more generous with samples than the shops themselves.
Being a shopaholic, I have quite a strong opinion on both of these things, online and offline shopping. Both have major pros, and major cons, all of which you will find out if you carry on reading.
This review is going to be based on personal experiences - as all of my reviews - with online and offline shopping.
Online shopping to me, is one of the best things invented, when used safely. What could be better than having a nice relaxing night in and shopping at the same time? Well the answer would be not much, hah. With technology these days, browsing through clothes online couldn't be easier, it's just as if you are there with the clothes, you can zoom in and see the smallest of detail, some of which you probably wouldn't be able to see with your naked eye. You also have a larger range of colour and sizes when shopping online, one problem though, you can't try it on there and then. Just remember to beware of the dangers of online shopping, always check that the site you are using is legitamite as to be sure not to be scammed. Know your rights.
Online grocery shopping is also possible, shops such as Asda, Sainsburys and Tesco now offer an online shopping opportunity, which you should definitely take advantage of. Shopping for your groceries online saves a whole lot of hassle, no stressful shoppers pushing you out of the way for the last pint of milk, no crazy old ladies hitting you with their handbags if you getintheir way, just simple old online shopping. This can be a problem if the item is out of stock though, when we have ordered from Asda in the past, if an item wasout of stock, they just mindlessly replaced it (with good intentions I'm sure) with another item. A family friend also ordered her shopping from Tesco online, living in the countryside, her house is far frome asy to get to, after a week or so without her shopping and only the basics in her cupboards, she called them up enquiring about her shopping - it had been delivered to another house.
Again, this can be a problem with online shopping, make sure you can track your order.
Pros of offline shopping? RETAIL THERAPY!
Retail therapy doesn't quite work if you do it online, so get out there and buy something new for yourself, or for someone else. Just watch out for those crazy shoppers, clothes on the wrong hangers and prices on the wrong clothes, alot of shops are very un-organised recently.
Offline grocery shopping can be stressful too, like I said, people pushing and shoving for the last item or if you get in their way. I fyou want a stress free trip to the shops, go when you know it won't be too busy.
So what's the answer to the question?
Online or offline shopping?
For me, it has to be online, alot less stressful, just beware of the dangers and try not to spend too much ;)
On-line shopping has won me over. I hate driving to shops on sale days, waiting in traffic queues, waiting to park in car parks, waiting in queues to get into shops and then spending hours looking for something to justify all the time wasted getting there.
In most cases, sales in stores are over hyped. I can't say for sure about Harrods or other expensive retailers. Ones which I go to Sale is the word for getting rid of inferior or old stock.
Of course the most important thing is to find out what is on sale and where? Unless it is really necessary for me to go into a store I would much prefer on-line game of buying from shops.
One damn problem with online sale is that you can't see the item in front of you. To overcome this I may drive to the local furniture store at a time when there are no queues and see various items, choose one and than order on-line.
For clothes, you know shirts, trousers, socks etc, for food, for electronics, for music, films etc I rely 100% on internet.
Internet prices are still cheap and choice is great. In minutes I could save £100's on big items and £s on film DVDs or music cds.
Downside is several days for delivery.
Food shopping from supermarkets is delivered on the same day assuming I have filled the order in specified time limit. Orders from Amazon could be delivered next day so the time of order and item arriving in my house is reducing all the time.
Final point is that because courier companies deliver to more than one person it helps little bit on saving the planet as less people drive to buy.
I suppose the big question on the Boxing Day sales is not why the foot fall numbers (people who are logged going into shopping centers) were up an incredible 25% from this time last year but why do the people who sell beds and sofas think we need to buy one on Boxing Day? Nearly every add has some tart sprawled over a black leather couch sucking her finger and promising half price reductions (and probably sex if your first through the doors) if you get their early. Who exactly has any cash left straight after Christmas to be buying beds? Apart from Russell Bland of course!
The 25th, of course, was the one day of the year women couldn't shop on the high street, as simple as. It was the big day and all about the family, mums distributing what they had bought in the last two months bringing smiles to their loved ones faces, then the family wiping it off with strange and unpleasant aromas mid-afternoon. But once Christmas Day ticked into the 26th its back to business for the female species, one of the biggest shopping days of the year dawning. Elbows would be sharpened, husbands fleeced for more housekeeping-oh and that snobby Harrods carrier bag that's hidden away in the cupboard-under-the-stairs dusted down and ready to go. The Boxing Day sales are a serious business for some and its war out there.
After dropping hints to the other half about that fur coat in the Debenhams sale (always the best deal in the shops in the old days) they prepare to swarm the town centre. Once the doors are thrown open a mad surge would rush into the big chain stores as crockery went flying and camp store assistants trampled under foot. When Ikea opened a new store in North London two people were stabbed and assaulted in the throng as they argued over two thirds off leather sofas that featured in a Puff Daddy video! When the sales were on in the old days it was open season and no rules. I have seen women physically push people over and snatch bargains out of the hands of other bargain hunters who have already tried on the garment. So much for the gentler sex! I saw one handbag plinth being stripped in thirty seconds as if Tom Jones was hidden under there!
But his year it all changed, the increasing intrusion of the internet on our lives beginning to dictate our shopping territory. If you are buying electrical then it's the method of choice and value, of course, comparisons sites making sure you get the best price, for example. For the women in our lives though it's just infinite browsing cyberspace and not quite the same. They, like me, need to touch and feel. Not only has web shopping changed our habits, but for the first time this year the web retailers have broken that shoppers covenant of trust and started their sales on Christmas Day, machines taking the orders for the juicy bargains and then the humans processing them when they return to work on the 27th. The amount of people that browsed and clicked there way through the cyber sales is unknown yet but I suspect it was a lot. First report was a record £52 million was 'clicked up'.
Although most of us got our packages we ordered for Christmas on time a lot didn't. My family was a couple of presents short and I suspect you guys were the same. You all saw the queues at the post office depots on the news. But for me it's not the courier companies that were to blame here but the retailers, promising to deliver goods they knew they couldn't. Either they said they had them in stock or they knew their last delivery date was too close, all this to get money in the till.
I ordered a watch from Amazon in November. They said they had ten in stock when I did. As Christmas neared the watch hadn't arrived. Then I got an email note in my account to say the new delivery date would be January 6th? To me they never had the watch in stock but hoped to, and just wanted my money, hoping I would change the order and still buy online with them. Once you have credit on a website its hard to get it back. They expect you to weaken and buy something else. I suspect a lot of you guys have had the same problems with Amazon. The online retailers definitely over extended themselves this year to claw in as much money as they can in this critical trading period. As the high street guys can stay open and so still be trading at 3.55pm on Christmas Eve the online guys can't compete in the critical last few days of trading.
The above is one reason why I am put off online trading, another being that it's really just glorified mail-order and in most cases any value you get is lost through post & packing costs. If you buy a single book you can be hit for another three quid under the P.O. new rules. I can just walk into Waterstones or Smiths and pick it up there and then for roughly the same price still. In fact the high street is slashing prices to compete and better value in many sectors. Some online retailers have countered that by doing free delivery if you spend so much with them on each order and I believe John Lewis do free delivery full stop. You would think that retail websites have significantly lower overheads and should be able to absorb that cost by now.
Another reason I don't like online shopping for certain goods is that you can't touch and feel, as I said before, the basic premise of high-street shopping. I suspect women's online shopping habits tend not to be prolific around clothes and accessories. Guys tend to online shop for more practical things and the fact many retailers pick up the return postage if you're not happy with the goods means we are less fussy about it.
I think the fundamental thing with shopping is that women enjoy it and men don't. It's a bit like housework. The girls know that if it was left to blokes they would only do what needed to be done on the day.
There were moans and groans from the retail lobby last month that numbers were down and it was going to be a bad Christmas, the time of the year they do 50% of their trade, December seeing 39% of all purchases. But to guys the fact that Christmas Eve was on Monday this year that was another week to get your Christmas stuff and so why worry about the rush. Once the men got their gifts in at the last the figures shot back up. Men are half the population right?
Guys are practical shoppers. What do you want luv? Right ile get that then. Job done! Never leave us to surprise you. We don't do surprises. We are trained enough to know that we don't make decisions in a relationship unless they have been sanctioned by the misses. Women don't take the important decisions in life as they know they can always resort to blaming their men for mucking them up when they go wrong. This is why women can't and won't read maps. This is why guys should never by them a surprise present.
Online shopping also encourages people to buy stuff they don't need, usually with credit cards. Few online sites encourage cheques and so credit card purchases are the norm, and once a site has your digits then they have you for life. That is not only the biggest threat to high street stores (apart from parking wardens) but it also encourages this fatal credit crunch where too much is leant out to people who cant afford to pay it back. And for all those who don't pay it back then we have to pick up the bill in higher interest payments.
The greatest irony of all out of this debate is that EBay, the online auction site, is the busiest site of all this time of the year, stacked full of unwanted high street and online goods. Whether people believe in the online method or not they are more than willing to get rid of stuff they don't want here, the chosen method of, which to me says all we need to know about online shopping. It's a load of rubbish!
Ever since I became a mum four years ago, I have become a very strong advocate of online shopping! Anyone with young children will know how very difficult it is to get to the shops with children, and how often, once there, what an unpleasant and harrassed experience it can be. This means I am very keen on online shopping which I can do in my own time and browse to my heart's content - especially when my children are tucked up in bed!
However, having said that there are some things I would never buy online and I am sad to say I have had two very difficult online experiences in the run up to Christmas which I will describe later and these might act as a bit of a warning!
First though - why do I like online shopping so much?
Well as I said firstly, being able to shop from the comfort of your own home is great. I really don't enjoy taking my girls shopping and often end up making rushed decisions which I later regret! When shopping on line, I can browse websites,compare goods and prices from different sites, and also use comparison sites when appropriate.
Also I think that goods do tend to be a bit cheaper on line which they should be as the online stores do not have the huge overheads which high street shops incur. Also. in all cases where it is possible, I will never go directly to an online shop but go through one of the numerous cashback sites where I might earn up to 10% cashback which is certainly an added bonus.
You do need to be a bit careful about delivery costs, although most online shops do offer free delivery if you spend over a certain amount. Even when I do have to pay a delivery cost though, I balance it up against the time it would have taken me to get to the shops, my use of petrol and also the parking costs. When you weigh all of this up, it's often quite worth paying the delivery charge!
I also enjoy having parcels arrive by post and unpacking these and remembering what I have bought. There is always the possibility that things can be wrong or missing and this can be quite a hassle if you have to return it by post. However, a lot of the online shops (such as Boots or Marks and Spencer) which also have high street stores will let you return goods to their shops which means that you can sort out these problems more quickly.
There are certain things that I would rarely buy on line and the main thing is clothes for me. I think when clothes shopping you need to see an item and particularly feel it, as well as being able to try it on. On the few occasions when I have bought clothes on line I have been a bit disappointed.
I am sometimes disappointed by the range of goods on offer online. John Lewis seems to me to be a good example where the online range is very restricted compared to what they sell in their stores - and I can't really understand why this is. I would have expected more to be available online. We bought some new matching bedding and curtains from there recently. We could buy the sheets, duvet cover and pillow cases on line,but matching curtains could only be bought in the store! How bizarre is that?
However, having weighed up both the pros and cons I do feel that online shopping is the way forward and definitely suits me at the moment - which is why I have opted to do most of my Christmas Shopping whilst sitting at my laptop.
This should have been great especially as shops can be so busy and shopping so tiring at this time of year. The only thing I felt that I needed to look out for was the final ordering date in order to ensure delivery before Christmas. I recently placed orders with both Marks and Spencer and Amazon and made sure I was well within the delivery time for Christmas. However with both of these, when checking the confirmation emails I discovered that these deliveries would not take place until after Christmas. This has meant as a consequence that I have spent an inordinate amount of time on the phone to customer services trying to sort out the problems. In both cases it was because some items were out of stock and it seemed they were waiting for all items before delivery. This was extremely unhelpful and I was particularly surprised at Amazon, who normally send out orders in two or three dispatches depending on availability. It seems to me that at this particularly busy time of year they should be going out of their way to help customers not hinder them. I worked out that with all the time I had spent following these up and getting people to delete part of the orders I might as well have braved the High Street!
So that's my small gripe out of the way and having said that, I would still opt for online shopping every time. Lower prices, cashback and the comfort of my living room are a much greater draw for me than queuing for car parks, carrying heavy bags and keeping two inquisitive girls in line! So, I'm sorry high street shops but my computer wins every time!