For the last few years I’ve done almost all of my Christmas shopping online. I’m blown away by how the web has revolutionized Christmas shopping in the last few years. The offering, ease of use, and display is incredibly astonishing these days. I actually prefer online Christmas shopping to store shopping now.
When I was young, growing up in the San Antonio area, we would make our annual family Christmas shopping trip to the North Star Mall in San Antonio. I would take a pocket full of money that I had saved, and I’d split away from the family. This way they could buy for me and I could buy for them.
The mall would be bustling, Christmas music playing on the sound system, and excitement in the air. A few years later, I was introduced to online shopping and my world changed, a little. Until recently, I would still go to the mall. Anyone I couldn’t find something for, I’d start looking online. It’s the other way around now.
As a fan of the Tech Sector, and transplant into the desert, I’ve found a strong draw to shopping in my sweatpants on the couch. It’s much simpler than store shopping because you can:
1. Shop for specific items instantly rather than running from store to store.
2. Compare deals across platforms.
3. Drop ship directly to recipients, thus saving time and money.
4. Avoid the crowds.
I’ve found several go-to sites and services that I rely on to make my Christmas shopping simple and stress free.
1. Awesome Note – This isn’t a site for Christmas Shopping but it is where I accumulate my ideas throughout the year. You can lock notes so they can only be opened with a password. Anytime I hear someone mention something they want, I make a note of it. This makes Christmas shopping happen quickly.
2. Amazon.com – This is my first stop for Christmas shopping. I was making a train track with my son yesterday and noticed he bumps the bridges over on accident while he’s playing. His electric powered, ‘Thomas the Train” engine is also slowing down. I searched bridges and trains on Amazon. I was done shopping in five minutes.
A few of my favorite features:
A. Search and find a variety of items.
B. Prices are typically the best on the web
C. Prime includes free two day shipping. It costs $70 annually, but you save that much in shipping during one Christmas shopping season.
D. Scan UPCs in the store and see if Amazon offers it cheaper.
E. They offer gift-wrapping and drop shipping.
F. Create custom ‘wish lists’ for each person you’re buying for. This way you can earmark the item in June, then buy it when your Christmas shopping
3. Etsy – My wife introduced me to this site. She buys personalized gifts, mostly for our friends’ new babies. They offer custom, personalized, gift options for insanely cheap prices. Plus you’re buying from individuals and mom and pop stores. The only negative is that I have ordered items before that didn’t arrive on time from the person who made it.
4. Pinterest – You can find great ideas on Pinterest. Many of the items link back to a small mom and pop retailer who can make it for you. These items are often amazing and very custom.
5. Google Shopping – There are always items that you just have to touch and feel to know if you’ll like it. This is the biggest fear of online Christmas shopping. When I find an item like this, I search for it in Google and can usually find it at a retailer that is close to me. For this reason, I still like to go Christmas shopping at the mall so I can see items. If I find something that’s perfect for someone, ‘ll see if I can find it cheaper online.
There is no doubt that the web has revolutionized Christmas shopping. With the advent of tablets and smartphones, the mobile platforms for Christmas shopping keep you from being tied down to a computer. You can literally go mobile. I scan UPCs on my iPhone and buy items via Amazon.
Big Box Stores may have killed the mom and pop stores in the past but the web is giving them a comeback thanks to sites like Etsy, Pinterest, and even Amazon where they can sell their goods. The mobile aspect gives them access to millions of Christmas shoppers every year and I am thankful for that.
How much Christmas shopping do you do online?