Is Online Shopping Worth the Deals?

What did I do before online shopping? Although many shoppers still enjoy the hustle and bustle of doing their holiday shopping in traditional stores and may also enjoy the festive decorations during the holiday season, many shoppers are glad to have the option to do at least part of their holiday shopping online. I know I am.

When I was a teenager, my brother and I went to our local mall, just outside of Hicksville, where I grew up, on Christmas Eve. Yup. CHRISTMAS EVE. It was a madhouse. The stores were a mess. People were frantic. And I swore I would never do that again, ever.

I’m still not fantastic at buying Christmas gifts way in advance. Every December, I think, “Next year, as soon as the kids go back to school, I’m doing all my Christmas shopping.” Guess what? That’s a big “nope” for this year, like all the other years.

Thank goodness for online shopping! Online shopping during the holidays is not only convenient, but also fiscally responsible. I’m much less likely to fall prey to impulse buys when I’m searching for specific gifts online. Plus, online shopping gives me the ability to buy last-minute gifts online and to avoid overcrowded stores during the holiday season. Let’s talk about these advantages, and more, in greater detail.

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Shopping Online for Last-Minute Gifts

Quilt square of Mrs. WeasleyAlthough there are some shoppers who are well-prepared and do their holiday shopping in advance (nothing less than heroes, I tell ya!), many shoppers find themselves scrambling to purchase gifts at the last-minute. These last-minute shoppers far outnumber the well-organized individuals who complete their holiday shopping months in advance. Last-minute shoppers also include chronic procrastinators [waves hand] who put off holiday shopping until the last-minute and well-intentioned shoppers who were caught by surprise with a need to purchase gifts for a few extra people at the last-minute. Fortunately for these last-minute shoppers, online shopping take a great deal of the stress out of last-minute shopping.

One of the greatest benefits of last-minute shopping is the ability to ship gifts to friends and relatives straight from the store. The available shipping options may even make it possible for gifts arrive within 24 hours. Of course, you’ll pay a premium for express shipping services and/or gift wrap, but it can be a worthwhile investment when you don’t want to be caught empty-handed.

Avoiding Holiday Crowds by Shopping Online

The crowds at traditional stores can un-be-lievable during the holiday season. Just finding a parking space turns into a Thunderdome situation and simply navigating stores can be chaotic. (Elbows come in handy.) I know some shoppers thrive in that  type of environment, but I find it to be quite stressful. I have a difficult time finishing my holiday shopping with so much chaos around me. Thank Merlin, online shopping provides a welcome escape from much of the shopping chaos of brick-and-mortar stores.

I can shop online when it’s  convenient for me. The biggest problem I have is when websites are slow because they’re overloaded by visitors. Waiting for a few extra moments for a website to reload may be somewhat frustrating, but it is significantly less stressful than standing in line at a crowded Best Buy for long periods of time.

Added Benefits to Online Shopping During the Holidays

There are also other benefits to shopping online during the holidays which are not necessarily holiday season specific, but certainly simplify the process. One of these benefits is being able to comparison shop with ease. Comparison shopping online is as easy as opening two different websites from competitors and comparing the merch they have and their prices. Can you imagine running around from one store to another to find out which stores have that Time Turner necklace your sister wants and how much each store is currently charging for it? Oh, wait. I can imagine it, because I’m old, pre-internet. Thank goodness for the internet!

Another benefit to shopping online is the ability to purchase from far away stores. Holiday shoppers who limit themselves to brick-and-mortar stores are also limiting the gifts they can buy. I mean, I can order Quidditch stuff from Universal Orlando without ever stepping foot in Hogsmeade. (Although, I’d rather be in Hogsmeade, but you know what I mean.) Online shopping can be particular useful for shoppers who are looking for a specific gift which is hard to locate. For instance, I highly recommend the amazing artists and crafts people on Etsy. You can find the most unique gifts on Etsy for just about everyone on your list.

Do you prefer online shopping to brick and mortar stores? Tell us in the comments!

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