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What’s All the Fuss About Shopping Online?

I’m a healthy middle-aged woman living in the largest metropolitan city in Canada. With my children growing up I have more freedom now than when they were little. I own a car and live within minutes of numerous shopping centres. Is there any possible reason why I would ever consider or need to engage in shopping online? I can’t think of ONE reason why I would choose to shop online! No, not ONE – but several! Here are “a few” that come to mind:
  1. Hard to find products – Every now and then I find myself in need of a product that I can’t just run out and pick up at the local mall. A few months ago I ordered a left-handed violin online for my younger daughter. Before I began searching I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a left-handed violin! Because I wasn’t in a hurry I ordered the violin with “Free Shipping” to avoid the shipping charges. I was prepared to wait several weeks for the violin. To my complete amazement I discovered a large box on my doorstep the next morning! It was almost like the package had fallen from the sky!
  2. Replacement parts – The other day I found a site that offered replacement parts for appliances. I entered the model number of my fridge and within minutes I was able to locate the part I needed from a clear, well-labelled diagram. I ordered the part and once again the package appeared on my doorstep the next morning!
  3. Convenience and save time – You certainly can’t beat the convenience of being able to place an order online day or night from the comfort of your home, office, or favourite coffee shop and have it appear on your doorstep – often within a day or two! If there’s one thing that technology seems to have stolen from us it’s time! Everyone is pressed for time these days. Shopping online can save time – especially if you know what you’re looking for!
  4. Unique products and selection – There are so many interesting products offered by small business owners and mompreneurs who are selling online. Many items are unavailable from traditional stores. On a number of occasions I’ve placed an order online for an item that was unavailable at the store in the size or colour I needed. Online shops offer a great selection of amazing, unique gift ideas including jewellery, specialty food, novelty items, sports and fitness items, gift baskets, gift subscriptions, clothing, fashion accessories, footwear and more!
  5. Avoid parking, crowds, and line-ups – There are days when you feel like wandering through the mall and days when you’d prefer to avoid the “hassles”. Online shopping is available 24/7 without parking, crowds, and line-ups!
  6. Buying for others at a distance – I sometimes need to purchase items for my mother in Winnipeg or my older kids who are away studying at university. I also periodically order gifts online for others who don’t live nearby. It’s easier to shop online and arrange to have an item shipped directly to the recipient than to go buy the item in a bricks-and-mortar shop, wrap and package it and drop it off at the post office.
  7. e-cards/certificates – Many online shops offer e-cards or e-certificates that you can have emailed to a recipient of your choice as a gift. For the hard to buy for people in your life this is a great option that is convenient for both the sender and recipient. It’s perfect for a last-minute gift idea!
  8. Free shipping and sales offers – Many online shops offer free shipping offers with either no minimum purchase required or a specified minimum. In some cases it’s actually less expensive to buy online than in-store. I recently purchased a boxed-set of books at one of the large well-known bookstore establishments. I had planned to mail it to my mother in Winnipeg. When I got home I happened to look at the online site for the same store and discovered the set of books was on sale at 30% off. It also qualified for free shipping! I returned the books to the store and ordered the same item online. It didn’t make sense to pay extra for the same product and then have to pay an additional cost for shipping charges. It was easy to order online and the books arrived at their destination a few days later.
  9. Customer service – Great customer service is rare these days. One thing I’ve noticed from shopping online is that the customer service is generally above average and often exceeds expectations. Online shops are faced with a greater challenge of obtaining and retaining shoppers since there is no face-to-face interaction. It’s been my experience that online retailers try much harder to please – maybe because they have to. Contrary to what one might expect, online shopping can often be quite a personal experience – especially when dealing with small businesses. I’ve exchanged emails and spoken with a number of people from whom I’ve bought online and have had very positive experiences. Even on the occasions where something has gone wrong with an order I’ve found the merchants to bend-over-backwards to make things right and turn a negative situation around.
  10. Online Canadian shopping choices – When I first started shopping online a number of years ago I would often end up on an American site. Since a purchase would typically result in brokerage fees, taxes, high shipping charges, etc. I was discouraged from proceeding. Nowadays there are numerous online Canadian shopping sites offering a variety of products for those who prefer to shop online in Canada! So, “What’s all the fuss about online shopping?”. There isn’t any fuss! Give it a try!
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