Ahh, what the click of a button can do to expedite our lives.
During the past two months, UPS, FedEx and U.S. Postal services have delivered to my door dozens of packages — everything from a comforter set, shoes, e-tablets, a foot scrubber, pantsuits, two pairs of eyeglasses, phone cases, speakers, rugs and heavens knows what else.
My husband asked me if I’d caught a fever.
I reminded him that I always shop for winter clearance deals, but I am just shopping differently this year.
In the past, I brought my wares into the house unnoticed. But it’s a little harder to hide my packages if someone is knocking at the door with a huge box and a label plastered with my name.
Since the holiday season, online shopping with my laptop and the sofa have become far more appealing than a drive across the Mississippi River bridge where traffic jams await, or to walk into packed stores feeling stressed before my shopping ever begins.
Online, colorful pictures sweep me up with free shipping specials, online coupons and easy payment or flex-pay options.
I can scroll through hundreds of photos, zooming in and clicking on color swatches as many times as I feel like it.
And did I mention the reviews? Before I selected my comforter set, I read about 30 or more reviews that convinced me that this was the one. After the set arrived and I placed it on my bed, I jumped for joy.
There are other reasons to shop online beside the ease of clicking between online websites rather than traveling from point A to point B in a weekend traffic jam.
When my family shops for eyeglass frames, we visit a website that allows users to upload their own photos and try on virtual glasses. I can’t get the glasses in an hour, but the online venue has helped to cut our eyeglass bills in half.
As online venues continue to grow, shoppers will continue researching online before heading out to the stores and shopping centers, according to emarketer.com.
Digital shopping is indeed a force to be reckoned with. The largest share of online revenue came from retail shopping websites, which earned $210.3 billion in 2013, according to Statistica.com.
More than 57 million Americans use their tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices to shop online. By 2016, internet retailers predict that consumers will spend about $327 billion online, according to Forrester Research.
I was hesitant to shop for clothes and shoes online in the beginning, but if something does go wrong, some retailers lure us in by letting consumers ship items back for free.
I am not going to give up shopping in malls and department stores. But online shopping gives me a lot of options that I have never had in the past, mainly skipping the traffic.
Chante Dionne Warren is a freelance writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.