Do you prefer to shop online or in person? Big retailer or small business?
If you had asked me this a few years ago I would’ve said that online shopping would be my last resort. Today, you’d have to threaten me before I’d walk into brick and mortar stores.
I’m all for shopping locally–especially if the item is artisanal, but almost every artisinal product I’ve bought can be found on their web sites or Amazon.
Whenever I shop at a fair or craft festival, I like to take business cards for the vendors and check out their web sites once I’m home. I’m less hurried when I shop online. I don’t have vendors (or other customers) hanging over my shoulder while I make a decision.
One thing I’ve learned to do when I’m surfing Amazon for something custom or handmade is to go to the vendor’s personal web site. The price will usually be identical.
Another benefit of shopping a vendor’s personal web site is that the selection is wider. The only disadvantage is that they usually charge shipping. Whereas if I bought the same item on Amazon, my shipping is free because I’m on Amazon Prime. I never thought I’d use Amazon Prime as much as I do, but aside from the free shipping, I get access to a lot of videos and books. There’s music too, but I don’t partake in that.
For me, it’s a matter of choosing my battles. Shipping is my arch nemesis and where the line in the sand is drawn. Lots of times I find products cheaper from other vendors, but the shipping charges send them through the roof.
So I pick and choose. If it’s a lightweight item that I can’t find anywhere else, I’ll eat the shipping cost, but if it’s a heavy item, the cost of shipping will decide where I buy the item.
I’ve been burned more often than I care to admit when shopping locally–not for gifts but for necessary items. Once it was some doohicky for the central air conditioner. We bought it locally thinking it was too obscure an item to buy anywhere but a commercial retailer. It cost nearly a hundred dollars!
Within a year it went out again. This time as I was looking online for another dealer, I noticed Amazon had it in stock–for less than third of the price! For the record, this one is still working fine.
Before I make a large ticket purchase, I always check online first. I don’t want to cheat anyone out of their paycheck, but my first allegiance is to my family’s bottom line, especially when we’re counting in big numbers.
Living in the sticks, we’re far away from any cool, artisanal businesses. They live in places like Dallas and Fort Worth. Too far for me to travel unless I’m packing a lunch and a passport. 🙂
Maybe I’d shop them more if they were closer. For me, I shop online probably 85% of the time. The only things I won’t buy online are clothing and furniture. Those are the kinds of things I need to touch before I make a purchase.
How about you? Do you prefer to shop online or at brick and mortar stores? Small business or large retailers?
And do you live close to a big city or do you live in the boonies?
Are you finished Christmas shopping? I still have to bake goodies for the neighbors. We’ve invited a lot of them for a Christmas party this Sunday. The list has grown a bit, but that’s okay. We hardly ever see our neighbors and we should.