In theory, online shopping should be much cheaper than shopping in the High Street. Stores in the High Street have a lot of bills to pay: they pay rent and running costs for their building; they pay for staff to help you in the store and staff to take your payment, staff to stock the shelves and staff to respond to complaints.
Advantages to online
Online stores have some staff, of course, but they do not need as many: one person can handle many online or telephone queries and they do not need to keep any shelves stacked. They will have offices and storage facilities, but they do not need to have those facilities in any expensive or sought-after location. Their buildings could be in the middle of an industrial estate somewhere off the beaten track rather than in the middle of a city where space is at a premium.
Those cheaper facilities (and the need for fewer staff) should mean cheaper prices for the consumer. Also, online sellers know that their customers are able to compare their prices at the click of a button, and so make and keep their prices competitive.
There are some online shops that do not charge less than the High Street but offer free delivery (so at least you save the cost of petrol and parking, plus you save travel and searching time) and may offer attractive payment options such as a pay-weekly or pay-monthly option. Some of those payment options are available on an interest-free basis for a limited time, and if you take advantage of those terms then you can save money or at least avoid spending more than you can afford.
Offers and Discounts
Look out for vouchers and discount codes or special promotions on money-saving websites or on the online shopping websites themselves. Two-for-one or three-for-two deals can work out well, especially at times like Christmas when you are likely to be buying multiple gifts anyway.
Online stores are also able to sell off sale stock for far longer periods than they can in-store on the High Street simply because on the High Street they do not have the physical space to keep sale items on display for long when there is full-price stock to promote. Online you can buy stock that is out-of-season, too, so if you are going on a sunny holiday in the middle of winter you will still be able to buy swimwear and summer clothes – things you won’t be able to find on the High Street.
Online shopping also allows you to read customer reviews for the seller. These will be able to tell you whether a store is reputable and is likely to deliver your products quickly and in good condition. That way, if the item you want to buy is being sold at a low price, you’ll be able to tell pretty quickly whether the price is really too good to be true.
This is a guest post by Elly, who has a passion for writing about Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle across the world. She also tweets regularly on the latest updates in the fashion and retail industry, which can be found here (@Russell_Elly).