Christmas is supposed to be the most magical time of the year but for grown-ups, it can be a source of tremendous stress. The season is marked not only by lots of partying but also by exchanging gifts, whether it’s with family at noche buena, friends at a reunion, or co-workers at the office Secret Santa (a.k.a. Kris Kringle or Monito Monita)—and that means a lot of shopping.
But Christmas shopping can be a hassle, with all the traffic and the long lines at the cashier, not to mention the difficulty finding a parking space or getting a ride. With all the time wasted, anyone can quite easily turn into a Scrooge.
Before you “bah humbug” your way through the holidays, consider one way to beat the holiday hassle: online shopping. Some people may still be wary about shopping through the web but there are safe ways to do it and plenty of benefits.
Read on to find out the advantages and disadvantages of online shopping and how you can minimize the risks.
Holiday Hack: Online Shopping
If you’re not convinced that going online is a viable way to do your Christmas shopping, consider the following advantages:
1 You can shop any time. If you’re a regular office worker, the only times you can shop at the malls are after work (before the stores close) and on weekends. But with online shopping, you are not limited by mall hours. You can be efficient and use your idle time to purchase presents, whether it’s on your morning commute to work or late at night after the kids have gone to bed.
2 You don’t have to line up. Let’s face it, half the time you spend “shopping” is actually spent lining up. You line up to find a parking spot, you line up at the fitting room to try on those holiday outfits, you line up at the cashier. With online shopping, you can pick and pay for your products without queueing and waiting.
3 You can easily find what you need. When you’re at the mall, you may have to trek from store to store to find the perfect items for everyone on your list. Online, all you have to do is perform a quick search at trusted merchants’ sites and you can find what you need in a fraction of the time.
4 You can have gifts delivered. You won’t have to go from house to house to drop off presents and instead have gifts delivered directly to the recipients.
5 No crowds! No more jostling your way through hordes of holiday shoppers. You can shop from the comfort of your own home while relaxing with a cup of coffee!
As with everything in life, online shopping does come with a set of cons. But there are ways to mitigate the risks:
1 Frauds and scams. You may fall victim to credit card fraud or end up ordering from a shady website.
Shop smarter: Shop only using encrypted websites and only do so on a trusted WiFi network with your personal device. Make sure your anti-virus and anti-malware software is up to date. When paying with a credit card, make sure the URL starts with an “https://” rather than just an “http://”—this means the website is secure. Then, log off a merchant’s site after use.
2 Fake products or offers. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. If you find “designer” items at unbelievable prices, they’re likely to be knock-offs.
Shop smarter: If you’re looking for branded goods, you’re better off shopping at the brands’ own websites or on reputable third-party sites.
3 Wrong sizes. It’s sometimes tricky buying stuff online because you can’t see, touch, and fit the items. The actual products that arrive at your doorstep may look very different from what you’re expecting.
Shop smarter: Instead of giving clothing as Christmas gifts, choose something that’s one-size-fits-all. Food items and beauty or grooming products are a safe bet. Visit healthyoptions.com.ph/christmas for some holiday gift ideas.
4 Poor customer service. It might be hard to return or exchange an item if you end up getting something other than what you ordered. Shipping might also be delayed.
Shop smarter: Use only trusted websites when online shopping. Make sure you read all the fine print, from the frequently asked questions to the shipping information to the returns policy. Also make sure that the merchant has legitimate contact information for customer support.