I cannot tell you how excited I am about shopping online lately. Okay, it's not just lately, I have always been excited about shopping, and shopping online had me at hello. Earlier today, I clicked a few times, typed a few numbers, and checked 4 things off my to-do list. Awesome! (I cannot tell you how much easier it was to have 3 kids choose Halloween costumes on the computer than in the store.)
Let's talk about the relative virtues of sitting at one's desk, searching for items one needs, and having them delivered to one's door. First, it saves time. For busy Mom Entrepreneurs, and everyone else on the planet, saving time is HUGE. If I have one or two items I need to pick up, and I head to the mall, I will be there for hours, just getting to the stores that carry those one or two things, not to mention wrangling children and stopping for french fries and ice cream. Advantage number 2: Shopping online is better for me, and the kids. No french fries and ice cream. Enough said. Third, it actually saves money. I know! You don't believe it, because of the shipping fees. But, when I shop online, there are very few impulse purchases. I search for and find what I need (or want), order it and I'm done. No opportunity to just pick up one more item.
Let's use the Halloween costume example. If I went to a store, I would have to take all 3 kids, decide on which store to start with, (probably Walmart) and they could start looking. If they found something they liked, we would have to find the right size, which is unlikely, and then, we would have to find another store that would hopefully carry the same or similar costume, because now they would have their hearts set on it. They, and I would get tired and hungry, so stop somewhere to eat (probably McDonald's) and then keep searching. One child would inevitably change his mind about the costume 3 times, necessitating further trips back and forth to stores, while all of us got grumpier and grumpier. By the time the purchase was made, we would have a cart full of other stuff we didn't need, and would probably have paid too much for the costumes just so we could put an end to it.
Online: "What would you like to be for Halloween? Here you go, look through these." The Little One says "Lightening Da Queen." then later "No, Percy. No James." I say "James. Are you sure? I am ordering it now." "Yes, James." Done. He was the toughest. The Older Boys look through the costume site, with a budget in mind given to them by me, and choose. And I order. And we are done. And without the french fries, over spending or shopping-with-kids headache, I feel fantastic! Costumes will be here next week.
There are down sides to online shopping. It is so, so fun to anticipate and receive packages in the mail, it can become addicting. And if you get too accustomed to it, you may never leave the house. Also, there is no instant gratification which "real" shopping brings. The biggest reason I use online shopping is to order things that are hard to find close to home, and that I can wait for, like birthday party supplies, Christmas presents, and kids clothes. I also love shipping gifts from online shops to friends and family so they can get a happy surprise in the mail!
Here are a few of my favourite online shopping sites.
Chapters (I buy lots of books, DVDs and toys for Christmas gifts.)
Birthday Express (Love the favour boxes!)
Toys R Us (Canada) Toys R Us (US) (Santa shops here!)
Amazon (Soooo wish they would send more stuff to Canada, or the dot ca had more stuff.)
And my new favourite, because they now ship to Canada...
The Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic (Canada)
The Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic (US)
And the old school, been around forever, serving the widespread Canadian public, catalog
Those are my current favourites, but I am always looking to add to my online shopping bookmarks. So, please share.
Where do you online shop?