While I have to admit there is something nice and relaxing about strolling through a good mall and window shopping, much of that same gratification can now be had from the comfort of your personal computer. In fact, once you start to realize the extent and power of the window shopping you can do online, it’s actually better. You see the malls have you, window shopping leads to impulse buying. Not that you don’t impulse buy online but if you’re an educated online shopper you can impulse buy for a heck of a lot cheaper! When you walk through the mall your only real basis for comparison is that mall. My husband and I have been known to drive all over town to find the Best Buy with the hot item we wanted in stock or to compare prices for the same thing at 2-3 different vendors but you could argue the time and gas costs would negate anything but a very large price difference.
There is still a very good reason to go to the mall though as it is one of your best tools to effective online shopping. Use the brick & mortar stores to try on your favorite brands so you understand fit and fabrics. You can also utilize free shipping to a retailers local store to save money on shipping charges. This is a great way to get merchandise that may not be stocked in your market but is available elsewhere. This tip is particularly handy with places like Walmart.com and Payless shoes. If you weren’t aware of it, you should know that stores are stocked based on a secret formula on demographics, trends, climate and other mysterious data that retail over lords use to decide who gets what. They are taking their best educated guess based on research and statistics as to what will move most effectively in any given store. This however does not account for the vast differences people may have in style. When you shop online you can see the full catalog of offerings any one retailer may offer (like Payless Shoes) and find styles that have otherwise been excluded from your local market. You can order them online and have them shipped to your local Payless for free. When you pick them up you can try them on to be sure they fit and look as fabulous as you thought they were online and if not you are right there able to return or exchange them with little or no hassle.
This is just one of many advantages of using your local stores coupled with the savings you get for shopping online to your financial advantage. Need a last minute gift? Do you shopping and research online then pick it up later that day in the store. Want something that’s New York vogue but you live in Fargo, Nebraska? No problem, Nordstrom or Payless will be happy to ship the hottest NY styles to your local store or right to your door. If you can’t get to a local store to try on the designers you’re interested in then pick up the phone and call the customer service number to talk to an agent. Most often these folks utilize their employee discounts and can tell you very well how designers or styles run. Your better run stores like LL Bean, Soft Surroundings, Chicos, Land’s End and theoutnet.com make sure of it so don’t hesitate to call and ask about fit if that information isn’t already in the product description.
Finally don’t let your 90’s mindset burn through your gas tank, your wallet and your good sense. You no longer need to drive all over town to find that hard to get item. I wanted to try the Boots No 7 Restore & Renew serum that everyone is raving about so I went online to get more information. Sure enough, it’s a hot item, selling out in England and no one has it online here. I tried Beauty.com, Drugstore.com, Target.com and CVS but no one had any to ship. I then put my zip into the ‘find a local store’ box on Target’s website and found two stores within 15 miles of me that had it in stock. Thanks technology, you saved me a lot of frustration hunting this wonderful lotion down! Remember shopping online puts a wealth of information at your fingertips. Learning to use it wisely for your shopping will make you a happier, healthier and wealthier shopper. Next time you think about buying something, check online first for price, availability & online coupons, rebates, limited time offers or cash back incentives.