As we prepare to enter some of the busiest shopping weeks of the year, we thought we’d share some of your views on how you prefer to shop. So will you be bracing the crowds in the run-up to Christmas, or will you be surfing the web to stock up?
This year, I’ve started my Christmas shopping early. I really enjoy the whole experience of sourcing the right gift, elaborately wrapping it, and then placing it under my tree until the big day.
The problem is I really don’t like crowds, and this time of year it’s impossible to avoid them.
Last year, armed with a Christmas coffee and numerous ‘Bags for Life’, I hit London’s Oxford Street. And it was total carnage, I was completely overwhelmed by the whole experience, so zero presents were purchased that day.
Instead, like many others, I resorted to internet shopping to fill the stockings for my friends and family.
As Ian pointed out:
‘If you know exactly what you want, then shopping online is a breeze. But when you’re seeking something rather more vaguely, then visiting the shop is more useful.’
And that was my problem. I didn’t know what I was looking for. I was searching for presents, and quite a few of them, too, but I couldn’t quite pin down the perfect ones.
What I needed was the best of both shopping worlds, as Alfa explained:
‘For other shopping, I do most of my searching online then head to the stores as I like to look and inspect things before I buy. It depends what I am buying, whether it is bought in store or online.’
But I’m sure it took me longer to shop online than if I’d actually gone into a shop. I seemed to be endlessly browsing in a vortex of infinite shops, not really knowing exactly what I was looking for.
As Sophie pointed out:
‘Part of a good online shopping experience is a filter that works and narrows things down nicely so that you don’t have to finally find what you want on the 15th page you’ve looked at.’
And really sometimes, nothing quite beats seeing an item in the flesh either, as Wavechange explained:
‘Actually seeing goods is very helpful in making decisions, even if the web is a good place to see what is available. If the goods are not as described or develop a fault, it’s often much easier to return them to a shop.’
But for others, like Duncan, there are better offers to be had by online or distance shopping:
‘I look on the web, see what I want, phone direct, usually wholesale companies dealing with businesses, and pay by card. Better service, better delivery company and better guarantee.’
The same goes for Bishbut:
‘I always look online for anything I want to buy. I look at prices but often then visit a local shop to examine the product. I then decide just what to buy. I ask their price then usually say can you match the online price. They usually do or come very near. I prefer to buy locally as returning faulty items is easier. It is usually small cost items I buy online. I will always look for manufacturer-refurbished items as many are brand new, unused, returned items at a lower price.’
So what about you?
Are you a fan of in-store shopping or do you prefer to stick to your PC?
For me, I’m convinced that the best way to approach my Christmas shopping this year is to start early, and that’s what I’ve done. I don’t really enjoy online shopping – where’s the fun in it? I need my Christmas coffee as I merrily stroll around the festive music-filled and decorated shops stocking up.
What are the best and worst things about shopping on the high street or online?
Where will you be mostly doing your Christmas shopping this year?
On the high street (53%, 295 Votes)
Online (47%, 262 Votes)
Total Voters: 557