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The Delights of Online Shopping

Aug 17, 2007
As the holiday season gets into full swing, online shopping really picks up. It's a delightful way to find presents you won't find so easily close to home and you get to avoid the crowds.

Shopping online has many advantages, especially if you're shopping for family and friends who are far away. If you're going to have to ship the presents anyhow, shopping online can save you a trip to a crowded post office and the wait in line. That alone can make shopping online worth it.

The challenge can be deciding where to shop. There are all the big names, of course, such as Amazon, but when you want to stand out there are many more great options out there.

Smaller shops have the advantage that you will find things you aren't going to see anywhere else. This is great if you like to give more unique gifts!

Comparison shopping is also easier online. You don't have to go all over town to see who has the best price... you can search various sites and figure it out for yourself. No car, no gas, no crowds. You just have to appreciate that.

Store hours, schmore hours! Shop when it's convenient for you! Online stores are open 24/7/365. It doesn't matter what time is convenient to you, the websites are there waiting for you. If you have to shop for your own children it can be much easier to do the shopping online than to try and sneak presents past them.

There are, of course, some disadvantages to online shopping too. You need to be certain that the merchant uses your credit card and personal information appropriately. Before you buy anywhere, check the privacy policy and make sure the merchant is using a secure connection for taking your information.

You'll also want to check return policies. Returns should be fairly easy, especially when you're giving a gift.

One of the details you'll want to be aware of is the cost of shipping. You often can't figure this one out until you are in the payment routine. Shipping costs should be reasonable. Remember that if you have to mail the package to someone you'd have to pay shipping anyhow, so paying online and having the store do it for you is a real timesaver and probably won't cost you much more than it would to stand in line and do it yourself.

The other big problem can be not being able to see or touch the items. This can be particularly rough when shopping for clothing.

Few stores have help readily available when you shop online, and this can be a problem. However, since it can be really hard to get help in person during the busy holiday season, this may not be as big a disadvantage some times of the year as it is at others. A few sites even have chat available with associates so that you can get help. Otherwise, unfortunately, you have to deal with email or finding a contact phone number to deal with any problems or questions you may have.

Online shopping can be a real delight when everything goes smoothly. However, it's not for everyone and it may not always be all that easy. Consider your options and shop the way you enjoy the most.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster runs an online mall and has fun finding stores that aren't the usual selection. You can explore interesting categories such as http://www.comeonecomemall.com/household.php for some great ideas.
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