Shopping Online to Save Time and Money

Human progress has been as much a quest for convenience and efficiency as it has been for raw achievement. Shopping has been an important, integral part of human culture since the beginning of organized agriculture and the formation of communities of people. Greek agoras, open air markets, dry goods shops, supermarkets – as civilization has advanced there has always been a place people could go to purchase their needs. Large communities often develop around collections of these markets, giving them the well-deserved title of shopping centers.
However, there is a certain convenience in shopping from the comfort of one’s home, a convenience that has been met in the past through mail-order catalogs, shopping television channels, and home-delivered grocery services. With the advent of the Internet and the World Wide Web, this trend has reached its culmonline-shopping-presentination and most elegant expression yet.
A Matter of Convenience
The advantage to online shopping stems from the same advantages of the mail-order catalogs and the televised infomercials or shop at home channels – the goods are purchased, ordered, and then delivered without the necessity of a special trip. Online shopping goes further in that it allows for a complete control over the shopping experience. With previous methods of shopping from home, users were limited to the selection presented to them. Catalogs had a finite inventory that subscribers could select from, and audiences had to wait on the shopping channels to present the items that they wanted. In fact, this was a fairly clever ploy to encourage impulse buying, as subscribers would inevitably come across something nifty in a commercial or advertisement that they simply had to have, beyond what they originally intended to search out.
Online shoppers don’t have to settle; search engines allow users to locate exactly what they’re looking for or come as close as is possible. Looking for books? A quick search for online bookstores brings up a list of names big and small. Are you curious about food delivery in your neighborhood? Dozens of restaurants are a few searches away from anyone with a web browser. No waiting, just quick and convenient searching for exactly what the customer wants.
Additionally, online shopping is not an antisocial or lazy behavior. Indeed, having the speed and convenience of scheduling a delivery allows shoppers great chunks of free time that they would otherwise have spent out in town shopping. Instead, they can take the time to be with friends, or schedule important appointments. It also provides a way for the disabled or recuperating to get the things they need without having to arrange elaborate travel accommodations.
A Matter of Savings
online-shoppingWith the convenience of online shopping comes the flexibility to search for savings. In most shopping circumstances, purchasers are limited to the specific deals offered by various shopping outlets, be they local supermarkets, catalogs, or other means. With the web, shoppers can quickly look up inventory sales, coupons, and other bargains with a few minutes of research, and easily compare the costs side by side. The user and their ability to do a little research, not just the stores and the coupons they choose to offer at a particular time, determine the best deal.
One cost that does come up in the matter of shopping online is the cost of shipping. However, this is not necessarily the fly in the ointment. First of all, it can simply be substituted for the cost of gasoline inherent in many shopping trips, or in time and energy for those who walk or bike to a physical store. Every trip to the store burns gas and takes time, just as every delivery requires shipping costs. However, there are ways to eliminate shipping and handling fees, yet no one has come forward with a way not to burn gas while driving a car.
Many sites offer special deals, such as free shipping on orders above a certain cost, or discounted delivery for customers in a certain geographic area. Consider a family that shops at the market twice a week, traveling five miles each way, spending perhaps a dollar in gas each way, and thus four dollars in the week. By waiting to shop once in the week, and doing the shopping online, they eliminate the extra trip, save the cost of the shipping, the wear and tear on the car, and the total time spent shopping. This equates to more money in their pockets to spend on the things they want, when they want them.
A Matter of Thought
Like everything relating to the web and online conveniences, online shopping requires a little bit of planning and thought, but pays off in big ways. As mentioned above, the biggest advantage is the ability to compare. Users should hunt for deals and compare prices to get the best offer they can. But the web offers so much more – consumer advocacy websites can warn users away from unethical dealers, and social networking sites can promote awareness of high quality, low price alternatives to other items. The web is a very powerful tool, and its advantages will reward users who take the time to look through the myriad of options available. So spend a little time shopping around online, and let yourself be surprised by the savings and the convenience.