I am online a lot, and I have been since I purchased my first computer back in the early 90s. Though the speed of hopping online via dial up was so slow it was almost painful, the fact that I could get onto the computer and communicate with all of these people from all over the world just stunned me.
I’ve been addicted ever since.
Yet even though I do facebook and message boards, and though I work mainly on the computer, it wasn’t until recently that I began making purchases online.
I’m not alone. According to the Census Bureau, revenues from online shopping hit $34.7 billion dollars in the third quarter of 2007, and Pew Research Center says that 66%of Americans have made a purchase online.
Why shop online? For me it has been a mix of convenience and price. And in some cases, both were better online than in the brick store.
Let me explain.
Last year for work I bought my camera through Amazon. The price was much cheaper than I could find in the camera stores around my area (and even through a few local ‘cheaper’ department stores) and with free shipping on many orders over $25 it was silly to pass up a better deal.
This year, one of the kids’ Christmas presents came from Amazon. I found it several other places both online and in the stores, but in each case it was more expensive-even though I had to pay shipping.
I’m not a quick spender. I do a lot of research before I make purchases, and in each online case I saved considerably by buying over the Internet.
And convenience is definitely a factor. Since moving to a small town in Georgia I have learned that you can’t always find what you want-or need-by shopping locally.
In Los Angeles when it was time to turn in my running shoes I could pick up a new pair at the running store just a few miles away from my house-no matter where I lived.
Here, there are no stores devoted solely to running.
When training for my last marathon I had trouble with a few of my toes going numb on my long runs. I found out this was due to foot swelling, moved up a size in shoes and got a pair for mild pronation, and have had feeling in my toes since. So, I like those shoes and I stick with the same brand, same pair, each time I trade them in.
On Saturday I lugged the kids to the local mall. I stopped in three different shoe stores, none of which sold this particular pair of shoes.
I came home, did a little research, found a running store online that has a nice big ad in my running magazine, and ordered the shoes. Not only was the shipping free, but the shoes were actually twenty dollars cheaper on line than in the running store!