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by Megan Darragh
Wouldn’t we all love to skip the long lines at the mall, the cold bus rides or the lack of parking stalls? For years people have been happily shopping from the comfort of their own home. Nowadays, you can buy anything from your favourite pizza to your favourite outfit online without ever having to brave the elements.
Better deals and a greater variety of clothing are only some of the reasons why many of us, like Rachelle Pelletier, a current science student at MRU, are attracted to the growing online markets.
“The sales are generally better than you would find in stores and it’s great because you can get a lot of coupons straight to your email,” Pelletier said.
The tendency to spend more seems to be an issue for many online shoppers, as Pelletier points out, it almost doesn’t seem like you’re spending the money because you don’t receive the physical merchandise right away. Shipping costs can also be a large chunk of the cost, since the more you order the larger your shipping charge, but you can find great deals for that too.
More and more businesses are adding an online store to their franchises: Victoria’s Secret, Urban Outfitters and many stores based out of Europe seem to be very popular sites to shop, since we don’t house any of their businesses in Calgary. EBay, which has one of the broadest clientele bases, is a great site to find almost anything you’re looking for at cheap prices.
Heather Saitz, part owner/creator of Fox Sparrow Vintage, started her business on EBay and has recently switched to Etsy, which she says is “a little slower paced.”
It’s similar to EBay and perfect for finding vintage and one-of-a-kind pieces to add to a growing collection. A major bonus for smaller online companies is the existing customers these sites provide.
“Etsy and EBay already have established clientele bases. It’s just a matter of setting up shop, breaking through the clutter and marketing our store on the sites,” Saitz said.
This makes it easier for smaller companies to thrive, rather than opening up a store and trying to build a big enough client-base to keep afloat.
Although online shopping offers great convenience, better deals, and unique finds it lacks some of the pleasure shopping at the mall still keeps. Nicole Alyse, creator of Dangerous Ballerina, an online vintage shop also run through Etsy, said that nothing could replace a day out with your friends.
“I feel like shopping is an anti-depressant. It’s fun and a good feeling to actually set out, shop and make a day of it,” she explained.
The ability to physically see the clothing and try it on before buying it lets you have more fun picking out an outfit and gives you greater confidence with your purchases, and if you do need to return anything it’s cheaper and as easy as walking back into the store. As well finding help on an online store can take days as you try to contact an employee by email, which gives the mall another point for convenience.
The online world can try all it wants but there are some parts of those day trips to the mall including a mouth-watering poutine and great friends that online shopping could never compete with.