In today’s vast technological landscape, where anything and everything is available at just the touch of a button with next or even SAME day delivery, the world of retail has been disrupted heavily by the introduction of the internet and online shopping. With the so-called ‘high street crisis’ in full swing, more and more shops are closing down due to the advent of shopping from your very own device, in your very own living room.
Alas, the internet doesn’t suit us all – because, also on the rise, are the number of people who’ve fallen victim to either an online scam or simply ordering something via the web which is not a thing like the picture. Along with these issues you have size discrepancies, material quality and all else matters to think about before you click ‘check out’.
This is all not to mention, whilst shopping online, we as Muslims must give businesses a lot of merit in trusting that when they say their product is halal: they mean it. That, and that they actually know what they’re talking about (cough cough Oreo…)
On the other hand, we’ve all had those days where you’re stood in a shop, blank faced, staring at the ingredients label and trying to work it out for ourselves… Swings and roundabouts, you see.
But where do you sit on the shopper-scale? Are you a techno-happy individual who loves nothing more than scouring the web for the best deals and waiting excitedly for the doorbell to ring? Or do you prefer a more classic approach – jumping in the car, getting down the shops and hitting your daily Fitbit steps with some good old-fashioned window shopping?
So, which profile are you?
These shoppers have embraced technology, the future and all the gifting possibilities that come with it.
No need to worry about which sizes are in stock; no need to send someone to the back to check; not a care in the world for queuing at cash desks or waiting for a fitting room. Nope, the Online Tycoon is a master of filter-picking and has their check-out nailed down to a few swift clicks.
You’re a master of research and know how to get into the nitty-gritty of where the products came from – or who to email to find out any information you need before buying.
Whether it takes twenty minutes or two hours, you’re getting the best deal that the worldwide web has to offer. A comparison genius and scholar of all things search engine, you’ll take as long as it needs to find the ideal gift at the ideal price – and that free shipping voucher you just scored from an online coupon website is just the icing on the cake. Job done.
Some say you’re old school; the kids scoff and chuckle when you say you’re “going shopping” – as in, physically going to the shopping centre and seeing what there is to see. You feel it’s important to have physically held, touched and felt the gift; how does it feel in-hand? Does it carry good weight? Can you envision the look on your loved one’s face when they open it?
In your eyes, it’s more personal this way, and you’ve made the effort to go find the best you can… Within the shopping centre you’ve picked and are now limited to, of course. Maybe you’ll have to make a trip to a different mall – but hey, that’s just the lengths our Go Getters will go to for perfection.
Another great aspect of actual face-to-face shopping? When you come across any confusing labels, ambiguous sources or iffy origins, the answer is merely an ask-and-answer away. No longer will you find the perfect gift online, only to have it delivered and have to send it back for a lack of halal status – and end up down the shops anyway.
Old school or no, you go home exhausted yet feeling fulfilled… Or, empty handed and extremely frustrated. The game we play, my friends.
You know what you want to buy. You’ve found it online. You almost went for standard delivery; 2-3 business days is fine, their birthday isn’t ‘til next week… But something holds you back. You just want to make really sure.
What if the quality isn’t as high as it looks online? What if the size comes up too big/too small? What if it contains something haram?? WHAT IF???
Relax, deep breaths – it’s in stock, you know it’s there, so off you go to the shop. The ‘Bit of Both’ shoppers out there combine the best of both worlds; finding a great deal online is key, but where’s the harm in checking stock at the local store and then heading down to scope the shelves in person?
Better yet, you could even click and collect – make the payment in advance and, if it’s not what you wanted after all, you’re already there to grab a refund on the spot, right?
The truth is, there are real pros and cons to all of the above; the online world offers so much choice, a near-infinite source of suppliers and places to find your gifts, but sometimes you just want to see and feel something before parting with your money. Sometimes the best price is online, and sometimes it’s instore; sometimes, price doesn’t even come into the picture – it depends what, and who, you’re shopping for.