As Black Friday disappears in the rear-view mirror and Cyber Monday is only hours away, now is an appropriate time to take a look at Christmas shopping the age of the Internet, smart phones, tablets, and yes even Google Glasses.
For someone who has never really enjoyed the experience of shopping, the advent of digital stores was the best Christmas present anyone could ever ask for. From the moment I step into retail stores I begin to feel a tightening in my back, right between my shoulder blades, and I quickly begin looking for an exit.
Now with shops like Amazon.com, Overstock.com, and any number of traditional retailer’s online sites, I no longer have to leave the comfort of my home to do any shopping at all. Well, with the exception of grocery shopping, but I actually enjoy that.
And with very few exceptions this is exactly how I operate. One of those exceptions would have to be clothes and shoes. I do prefer to be able to try clothing on before I purchase it. And if I go through all the trouble of trying it on, I’ll generally buy it at the same brick and mortar store.
The same goes with shoes. I was recently looking for a good CrossFit shoe as I’ve worn out my old pair of cross trainers. Generally speaking, the best prices are to be found online. But I really don’t enjoy the hassle of having to return something if I don’t guess correctly on the size. So I went down to my local Dick’s Sporting Goods to try them on first.
In this particular instance my trip was very rewarding as the shoes were actually less expensive in the stores than they were online. This is a very rare occurrence, but one of which I am more than happy to take advantage.
In certain instances I’ll even shop for food online. While looking for a holiday treat for a friend of mine who is gluten intolerant, I stumbled across some Paleo cookies. Not only did they look delicious, they looked as good as any regular cookies I had seen before. So I ordered him a dozen. And many retailers even sell they’re wears on Amazon.com themselves. Here is a link to the same Paleo cookies on Amazon.
While this was one of the few times that I’ve actually ordered food items online, it worked out pretty well. They were delivered within a few days after I ordered them. And he loved them.
Another big benefit of the online shopping environment is that it allows small producers an opportunity that they might not otherwise have to reach shoppers. Someone who makes handmade napkins, scarves, or custom elephant pillows might have a hard time reaching an audience outside their small area.
With websites being so easy to build now, these blossoming artisans have an audience for their wares. And this is one of the great benefits of the online shopping environment we currently enjoy.
And things only get better as competition increases and prices continue to be pushed lower. It’s truly an environment that allows anyone to enjoy shopping.