Everyone knows shopping online is convenient; in fact, sometimes it’s too convenient. While analysts are forever projecting that in some not-too-distant future we will do all our shopping online, the high street has proven surprisingly resilient in the face of this technological march forward. When it comes to clothes and food shopping, people still broadly prefer to shop in-person. In spite of this, there are some types of shopping, such as the three we’ve listed below, that are always better done online.
Products in this category form an essential part of our day to day lives and often need to be replaced or replenished frequently. Shopping for these types of items online provides a range of benefits. For example, buying single use or semi-permanent contact lenses online is a good way to ensure you’re getting a competitively priced deal. With products such as this that need to be bought regularly, small cost cutting measures can add up to large savings over time.
When it comes to specific items that you know you’re going to need to replenish regularly, setting up a subscription online can be a cost-effective and low-stress way of ensuring you’re never without the essentials. Many items we take for granted as supermarket items can actually be acquired in larger amounts, and for lower prices, in online shops. Take toilet roll for example: sustainable toilet roll manufacturer Bumboo offers boxes of extra-long, packaging-free loo rolls for a fraction of the supermarket price, with the option of setting up an automatic subscription model. Other frequently used items, from milk to razors, can all be found online at a lower cost and often superior quality.
Big Ticket Items
People tend to make large purchases during sales periods. In the UK, this has primarily meant the Boxing Day sales. At this time, in a bid to shift last year’s Christmas stock, companies offer cut-price deals on large items, with everything ranging from sofas to laptops being heavily discounted.
In recent years, a new sale has been growing in popularity in the UK and the rest of the world: Black Friday. This sale period has its roots in the United States, where it coincides with the Thanksgiving holidays in late November. The reason this incongruous sale has leapt across the pond is purely due to the phenomenon of online retail. Now, savvy consumers across the world pencil the date in as a time to get a substantial deal on expensive products through websites such as Amazon. Black Friday has come to be associated with consumer electronics in particular, with discounts as high as 30-50% being offered on TVs, computers and Hi-fi equipment
In the pre-internet days, seeking out and acquiring a specialised or niche product could be a particular challenge. You may have to travel to a larger city or commercial district in the hope that there would be a specialised shop that would stock what you’re after. Even if you found said shop, the proprietor would often have to order your desired item in before you could buy it. Otherwise, you may have to acquire a catalogue and order your niche item yourself by phone or through the post. In these cases, you would rarely have a choice between multiple options, and the price you were quoted would rarely be the lowest on the market.
Nowadays, thanks to search engines like Google and large online marketplaces, from eBay to Amazon and Etsy, we’re truly spoiled for choice when it comes to shopping for peculiar, rare, or specific products. The global reach of online markets means you’ll invariably have one, or multiple, specialist shops catering to, or even built around, your desired product. Not only does this translate to having plenty of choice, but you can be sure the price is reasonable by shopping around.