Bloggers are always fed constantly with various survey reports and studies. being a personal finance bloggers, I do get daily dose of emails containing press releases and market trends. Last week I received an email from a well known market research firm, about the latest trend in consumer buying experience. It reported declining over the counter sell and increasing online sells over the Black Friday weekend.
Spending at physical stores declined by 2.9 percent compared to the same four-day period last year beginning with Thanksgiving day. Whereas Cyber Monday sales soared 21 percent over last year. Also, this year’s Cyber Monday was the biggest online shopping event to date.
This trend may be an excellent news for e-commerce site and other businesses who are well present online in addition to their omnipresence near your home. Like sites of Wal-Mart, best buy, etc.
But, this may not be as good news for budget savvy middle class like we are, let me explain why.
In last one month we bought items worth more than $1200 online. This include one high value gift, but keeping is aside also it was a big spending on my part.Mostly the things I bought were not necessity in our life.
Things we bought were electronics and hobby items which we would not have bought from a brick and mortar store. Easy access to merchandise on my browser, easy access to product reviews full of excited past buyers, combined with plenty of how-to-use tutorials on YouTube makes the need much more compelling than they ever were.
(Related – How Rampant is Impulse Buying, Info-graphics)
To add to that, you don’t have to burn fuel to arrive at the store, you don’t have to buy and carry stuff in your trunk. So, when you see a sign which reads “Free Shipping” you just can’t hold off from clicking your mouse all the way up to checkout button. Yes, there’s a return policy but how many of us take the pain to return merchandise if you realize it’s useless?
At least I don’t return items, except it’s faulty, I returned my HP computer once because it was a faulty piece. But the headphone, the iPhone cover or the lens cap – I haven’t returned them and they are collecting dust ever since they arrived in our mail box. I guess it’s a story many of you can relate to.
I have been victim of this new-age buying impulse multiple times. Earlier I wrote about techniques to control impulse buying, still I fell for another type of impulse buying, buying things online. Perhaps we have to fight this battle in a different way now.
Stopping using computer is impossible, browsing through sites like Facebook or Pinterest has become part of our daily life. All these social media sites are now full with ads from various commercial entities. Every YouTube video starts with a commercial advertisement! Offering a better life, showing happy faces and satisfied souls. They are too tempting to ignore!
(See Also – How to Control Stock Trading Impulses)
How to stop browser shopping (aka window shopping) then?
I am trying a few tricks which haven’t yet produced result. I have started muting my computer while YouTube runs advertisement. I have filtered off my preferences on Facebook to not allow advertorial posts in my timeline, and I created a list of people I like, in Twitter to follow, instead of following my home stream. Which always displays one ad or the other.
I found alternate news websites that contain lesser ads. Resulting in lesser commercial distractions while reading contents.
I also de-linked my credit card and PayPal accounts from most of the sites. I am still keeping Amazon and eBay links intact. But, gone are Overstock, B&H photos, NewEgg and various other sites I have used in the past. I even unsubscribed from all special offer emails.
I’ll keep you posted on my progress when I track it once again in January. In the mean time why don’t you tell us about your experience, good or bad, in online shopping?