Shopping online is not the same as online shopping – one is a verb (something you do) and the other a noun (something that exists, such as a place or a person or an object or in this case, a form of shopping).
Online shopping (the noun, the thing itself) has liberated many people who have logistical challenges in getting to real, bricks’n’mortar stores. It has made shopping easier and often quicker, and certainly with less hassle such as parking and navigating through crowded shopping centres.
Online shopping has collapsed many of the obstacles to shopping in real stores – which has both positive and negative consequences.
But if we get down to the act of shopping online, the verb of the matter, here are 4 simple truths that apply:
- Shopping online can be done 24/7, 365. You can be constantly shopping online, and now with mobile devices such as tablets and phones smarter than the average cappuccino maker, you can shop on the way to work, whilst at a meeting, waiting for the bus or the game to finish, during the game, whilst having a haircut or pedicure, waiting for your number or name to be called, or in any number of situations where previously you may have just had to … wait. Now you can be reading, posting, updating, being updated, and shopping! There is literally no “closed” sign when it comes to the availability of items to be purchased online and stores that are open to take your custom. You can be in a constant state of expenditure if you choose.
- Shopping online can become addictive, or at least so alluring that it is extremely difficult to resist its attraction and pulling power. The most extreme stories of shopping online behaviour report people who have literally shopped, almost non-stop, for days. There are reports of online shopping binges that cost tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of time. Collectively, over $1billion was spent online on Black Friday in the US last year, and nearly $5billion spent on Singles Day in China (yes, spent on one single day)
- The biggest difference to shopping online vs shopping in real bricks’n’mortar stores is access. Except for specific technical issues, there are virtually no other limits to access when it comes to shopping online. So if you want to put any limits or barriers or parameters on your online shopping, it’s up to you to do so – they don’t exist in the cyber shopping world.
- Shopping online yields to the same smart shopping strategies as shopping in real, bricks’n’mortar stores. All the ways you can keep your shopping in check that apply to the real world apply just as well to the online shopping environment. These strategies include putting a time limit on your shopping experience, stopping the “just looking” trap, being clear on what you want before you start shopping, clicking away or logging off as soon as your purposeful and mindful shopping is done, tracking what you spend, paying off the magic plastic immediately (the closest online equivalent to ‘use cash only’), engaging the Power Pause to interrupt the circular unconscious pattern of “I love it – I’ll take it!”, and limiting the frequency of your online shopping trips. Lots more tips for keeping your cash and bypassing the buy now button here.