With the mandate to stay home and so many brick & mortar stores closing down, consumers have little choice left but to shop online. So how do you shop for something if you don’t know what you want to shop for? The mall certainly made it easy to “window shop” didn’t it. I still enjoy wandering past the store windows, browsing for gift ideas, and enjoying all the decorated windows. Now the shop windows are the size of your computer monitor, tablet or cell phone.

It’s not all bad though. The stores are still nicely decorated and now you have more options to find that perfect gift, for the perfect price, from anywhere in the world. There are a lot more options!

Think of online shopping this way… you now have a bigger mall to shop at!

Online Shopping Benefits …

Shopping online is convenient and easy for the most part. You type what you’re searching for into the little bar at the top of your browser and hit enter. You’re generally presented with several (hundred) pages meeting your criteria but you can refine your search to “company names” if you know the store you’re looking for, or keywords like “lampwork beads”, “handcrafted gift items”, “one-of-a-kind gifts” if you’re looking for a specific niche.

Online shopping also allows you to price check what you’re buying. It’s a competitive environment online. By using the internet to research your intended purchases, you can likely find the best deal available. Considerations such as shipping and product leadtime are also easier to assess. Doing the research online can also lead you to other items you may not have considered. It will definitely introduce you to other sellers of similar products.

One of the biggest advantages of shopping online is that the stores are ALWAYS open. There are no line-ups. Social distancing or masks are not required.

The Touchy Feely thing …

One disadvantage of online shopping is not being able to try on something like a dress or a pair of shoes before you buy it. It’s frustrating not being able to touch something to know how it feels and fits.

Luckily most online clothing stores have set up excellent tools for visualizing how their product will feel and fit. Most of the big box stores have sizing and/or measurement charts so you can be sure what you want to buy will fit. And if you’re not satisfied with your purchase they have good return policies in place.

Online stores work hard to create a good shopping experience for the consumer. They want you to feel confident that when you shop at their store, the product you’re buying is well represented and the quality is as expected.

I’ve been working very hard to show my products as they are through my photos and descriptions. My return policy is very simple. If you’re not satisfied with a purchase you made from me or my store, email me with the issue and we will deal with it together. Read my full return policy here.

Paying Online …

Have you invested time and effort into searching the internet for the perfect item and now that you’ve found it you’re concerned about paying for it online? You’re new to online shopping so you’re not comfortable taking that final step to buy the items in your cart. Perhaps you have a friend who had a bad experience using their credit card online. I completely understand your pain! There was a time when I wasn’t comfortable using my credit card online. Don’t be discouraged. You can do a number of things in order to make that purchase.

  • If you’re in the sellers geographic location you can call them up and ask if you can pay cash for your order on pick up. This is a popular option when you are able to travel to the sellers location. It saves you credit card processing and shipping charges and now with Covid-19 restrictions most sellers are offering curb-side pick up.
  • Perhaps the seller has other options to make payment such as “pay by cheque” or “e-transfer”. Call or email them for their other payment options if they aren’t listed on their website.
  • A good idea for anyone who shops online is to watch your credit card bill, monitor it for any charges you didn’t make. You can also turn on the “notify” feature on your credit card and get an email or text notification whenever there’s a transaction processed on your credit card.
  • You can get a separate credit card specifically for online purchases. I think it’s always a good idea to have a second credit card that you can use in an emergency. Maybe you lose one or your main card stops working.

For the most part online sellers use good, secure shopping carts so they don’t have to worry about the customer having a bad experience during the check out process. I use Shopify for my website and store and have been very happy with the security level and payment options I can offer my customers. Shopify is currently trusted by over 1 million businesses worldwide. It is used by several large shops like Staples, Lindt, Knix, Puravida as well as many small businesses.

Buying online has been made extremely easy and secure. Rarely will you find a website that can’t process your credit card securely but if you’re unsure you can always use your Paypal account. Paypal processes payments for many thousand online stores.

In the end online shopping has changed the way we “window shop”. It provides us with inspiration and offers creative and interesting options to make gift giving a pleasure rather than a chore.

To see more of my handmade glass beads and what I do with them click HOME to return to my shop.