It has never been easier to shop, either for ourselves or for someone else. In the past, we would have to travel to a town or a shopping mall and spend hours scouring the different stores, trying to find what we wanted or needed. Now, all we have to do is turn on the computer, sit back, and browse the internet.

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The benefits of online gift shopping

There are several benefits to shopping online over shopping in a mall. The first is ease. Visiting a shopping mall takes time and it takes money. If you are traveling to the mall by public transport, there is the cost of the fare, or if you are traveling by car, there is the cost of the gas and the parking charge. Shopping at a mall also means that you have to build that time into your day, and this could mean hours.

The second benefit is financial. Often, identical or very similar goods to those found in shops are cheaper from online stores. This is because online stores do not have the overheads that brick-and-mortar stores have, which means that they can afford to reduce their prices for items. 

Tied in with financial is the third benefit, which is the ability to perform cost comparisons across different stores. Unless you have a smartphone and a good Wi-Fi signal, this can be hard to do in a shopping mall. In a shop, there is always the temptation to pay the extra amount just to be able to walk away with the item then and there. Crosschecking the price of an item across multiple websites helps you to find a deal that will enable you to stick to your budget.

The fourth benefit is significant because it is related to choice. Put simply, you can find practically anything that you want on the internet, whereas in a brick-and-mortar store, you are only being exposed to those items that find favor with the masses. This can be especially tricky if you are looking to buy a gift for someone and want to make it a present that is something special rather than generic. Such items could include handmade items that are simply too niche to find their way into mainstream stores, or clever gadgets, such as those found at New Easy, that make life easier but are so diversified that they are not commonly available in stores.

Another significant benefit is the ability to read reviews written by other customers, people who have actually used the item that you are thinking of buying and so have experience of the shop and the product. Reading reviews enables you to make an informed choice about what you are buying, and from whom you are buying, and though this may extend your buying decision, it could save you time in the long run.

The last benefit for shopping online is the opportunity to take part in reward systems. Yes, some brick-and-mortar stores do have reward cards and point systems to encourage consumer purchases, but online, you can earn rewards that will ultimately turn into money-off vouchers sometimes simply by clicking through a particular site to reach the site that you want to buy from. Those online stores that are media-savvy will often also post discount coupons or links on social media pages and groups that can be used when making an online purchase, thereby giving customers a far better deal than buying instore.

Related: New Era of Online Shopping

However, there are some caveats related to online shopping. Not every ecommerce store will offer free shipping on their goods, so you have to weigh up the cost-saving on the item itself with the postage and packing charge that you will have to pay to receive it. It could be that the cost-saving is minimal or even non-existent when compared to the price of the same item in a store. Then there is the fact that you are essentially buying before you even see the item, which could result in disappointment. That being said, most reputable ecommerce stores have a returns policy that covers you for any disappointment that you may experience, though you should check these before buying, as some stores will refund the item but expect you to pay the return costs.

There are pros and cons to any method of purchase, but it must be said that online shopping for gifts delivers more pros than cons. By shopping online, you can save yourself money and educate yourself about the type of item that you want to buy and so make better purchasing choices.

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