I have company coming over this weekend and my fridge is near empty. I should go grocery shopping after work tomorrow. Oh no wait, I’ll just go to peapod.com. Never mind that the grocery store is 2 doors down from my apartment. It’s much easier to shop online and pay the delivery boy an extra 15%…
The holidays are here!. What am I going to get for everyone? A few clicks here and there…and my shopping is done. The shopping hassle in the malls? It’s so 1999.
The internet has become a necessary part of our everyday life. It began as a way to bring networks together and it’s grown into a lifestyle. Research for a report is no longer done spending hours between dusty shelves at the library. A few clicks, the right keywords and you have all the sources you need for that 15 page paper. The joys of going to a music store and buying your favorite artists new CD, not knowing which songs you would like the best, has been replaced by downloading only the songs you like on iTunes…after listening to a preview of each one of course.
Need directions? Mapquest it. Need a definition? Google it. Need an Elvis Presley salt-shaker? EBay it. Need to find an old friend? Myspace it. Need that video to that one song from 1995 that you can’t remember the name of? YouTube it.
Yes, the internet is a part of our everyday life and it has made everything so convenient. With everything good and positive, a negative side-effect must follow. The internet has become so convenient that it enables some people to be detached from society to the point of becoming a hermit…but a well-knowledgeable hermit who is dressed in the latest fashions. All dressed with nowhere to go but the other end of their webcam.
One important thing of convenience has been shopping. Anything and everything you need is available at your fingertips…at the cost of the hassles of standing in line, dealing with rude cashiers and inconsiderate people in the store. The convenience of shopping online is at the cost of the human touch. It’s been at the cost of immediate customer service. Then of course, there are the additional shipping costs. If you’re purchasing something through EBay, you are counting on the seller to mail your package within 2 business days as promised. You can rush it for only an additional $10.99. You can count that for all the gas that you’re saving by not driving to the store that is 5 minutes away. At these gas prices, who could blame you?
No one can take away all the good that the internet has brought us. If it wasn’t for the internet, you wouldn’t be reading these words. Messenger services allow me to talk to my family across the ocean at no additional cost except what I pay for my monthly internet service. If I really wanted to, I could splurge for a camera and cut out all telephone costs. Thanks to e-mail, I am immediately notified of all headlines of my choosing from the newspaper that I read the most often. No, I cannot deny all the good that the internet has brought us.
When it comes to shopping, things get a little iffy. Although internet shopping is tremendously helpful for those who are disabled or live in rural areas where choice is limited to one or two general stores, I believe it’s about time that its boom come to an end. The experts seem to agree with me.
In an article featured in the NY Times, it is noted that growth in internet sales has slowed sharply compared to previous years. Note that it’s the growth that has slowed, not the frequency of the purchases themselves. While internet shopping is not coming to a halt and is still growing, consumers are feeling the side effects of the online shopping habit. It has become too much of a chore for some people, making sure all their delivery information is correct, they enter the right credit card number, pick the right color, the delivery date, etc that the trend of shopping online is becoming less and less popular.
What is happening now is that a lot of companies will offer in store pick-up for an online order. That way, if there is a problem with the merchandise, the customer can bring it back to the store instead of shipping it back and waiting for a response. Even Dell, which was the father of computer sales online, is bringing its merchandise to the consumer through Wal-Mart. The hype is definitely deflated, though not completely gone. It is now more integrated and more options are given to the consumer instead of either buy it online or go pick it out at the store. Now you can divide up your time and you’re shopping the way you want to handle it.
Of course, the internet shopping fad will never completely disappear. Who really wants to find a flea market to look for a Mindy & Mork lunchbox in 94 degree weather when it’s a simple click away?
Since Black Friday is just around the corner…and this new phenomenon is taking over, I want to give you guys some info and links for Black Friday Online…a lot of stores are now offering Black Friday deals on their websites, instead of making you wait in line for 2 hours Friday morning. For electronics and bigger items such as furniture, this might be worth looking at:
Also, information on Cyber Monday:
What about you? Did you start your holiday shopping yet? Do you prefer online or in store? Do you get up at 4 AM on Black Friday?
Let’s talk shopping!