This is a collaborative post. All opinions are my own and completely honest.
There’s no denying that I absolutely love shopping, always have, especially clothes, shoes and handbags. When I worked in a city centre I would frequently pop out for a sandwich and return with a pair of shoes. But when I had my daughter I found my shopping trips severely curtailed. In fact almost non-existent – have you ever tried clothes shopping with a screaming, colicky baby? I don’t recommend it. Sitting at a computer wasn’t much easier either.
Around that time I got my first smart phone which prompted a eureka moment: I could buy shoes from my phone! Anywhere, anytime. Even if I was trapped with a sleeping baby on me and dare not move, I could still go shopping on my phone. It wasn’t just the ability to buy things that was so gratifying, it was being able to do some research and compare prices, making sure I got the best deal. I could do all of this while walking up and down singing baa baa black sheep at 4am. Us women are good at multi tasking, right?
Now the baby years are long behind me I have much more freedom to go shopping, yet I still do the vast majority of my shopping online. When I relocated four years ago I swapped the city suburbs for a small town with only a handful of shops. My nearest big city is Manchester, which is a 45 minute drive away, so shopping online is my lifeline. It’s not just the convenience of shopping from the comfort of my home though (or wherever else I may be); buying online gives me more choice and better deals. I frequently snap up bargains on members only flash sales, plus, I always look for promotions and discount codes I receive via email. I also use a third party cashback site when I can to make an even bigger saving.
A survey of 1000 British consumers carried out by Swift Money looked at how our shopping habits are changing. surprisingly, it found a fairly even split between those who like to shop in store and those who prefer buying online. But it seems the type of goods we’re buying determines how we prefer to shop. The main reasons given for favouring in store shopping were: being able to see/try on the item before purchasing, receiving the item instantly, and avoiding delivery costs. On the other hand, the shoppers surveyed said the top three reasons for buying online were: it’s easier to shop for deals, you can purchase from the comfort of your own home, and having more choice.
When it comes to smaller purchases such as clothes, I use the click and collect option where possible to avoid a delivery charge. There’s more chance of finding your size online than in your local store so it makes sense. Some shops offer free delivery if you spend over a certain amount, so adding something that costs just a few pounds can end up being free.
Not surprisingly, larger purchases such as cars are preferred to be made in person – I don’t think anyone would spend such a large amount of money without seeing what they’re buying first. Shoes are least likely items to be bought online, followed by beauty products. I have to admit that buying shoes online is a tricky one unless you know the brand well. For example, in most shops I take a size 8, but M&S shoes come up big so I always have to go down at least half a size. I do buy beauty products online, but usually when it’s a repurchase of something that I originally bought in store and has run out. There’s just no way you can get an accurate shade representation on screen of a lipstick or foundation.
With the onslaught of Christmas shopping looming large on the horizon I’m already planning my strategy. This year I’ll be doing almost all of my shopping online. I can search for the best price on whatever toys my daughter wants (it changes daily) and get a bit of cashback in the process. It also means I don’t have to trudge through the rain, laden down with bags, or pay for parking and fuel. Despite these advantages only 29% of people surveyed said the seasons affect their shopping habits. These people must be a hardy lot!
One other advantage of shopping online is that you’re less likely to make an impulse purchase. However, if like me you still find it hard to resist those midnight shoe shopping sprees here’s a little tip: add them to your basket but don’t check out. Instead, wait until the morning to see if you still really want them…especially if you’ve been out on the lash 😉 Your bank balance will thank you for it!