Saving Money by Shopping Online?

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I was being all intelligent by listening to CBC on the radio the other day and one of the radio shows was talking about the recent surge of internet purchasers in Canada.

According to Statistics Canada, the value of orders placed online in Canada was $18.9 billion dollars.  Yes, you read that right, BILLION!  This value has increased by at least 50% since 2010, the survey was conducted in 2012.  77% of respondents indicated that they did some research on goods and services or window shopped online.

Most people in the Statistics Canada survey, 58%, purchased travel related goods such as hotel reservations and flights.  This is interesting, because with the ease of purchasing flights on the internet, will places like Flight Centre be obsolete?  I don't know if it will because my mother still uses travel agencies, and she prefers it to buying a ticket online.  I think that sometimes travel agents can find you a good deal too, especially for places like all-inclusive vacations.  I personally don't use them at all when I purchase international tickets or tickets without any packages included.

Saving Money by Shopping OnlineIf you like infographics, here is a good one related to Canadian internet shopping habits.

I personally have had bad/ mediocre experiences buying clothes online just because they never fit properly when I receive them and I am just too lazy or have too little time to ship it back and return them.

Here are some pros advocating for why I prefer shopping online:

Related: Amazon Prime Canada Review – Is It Worth it?

Not Having to Deal with Pushy Sales People

As an introvert I don't really like to make small talk.  Although meeting sales people in stores is nice, I will ask for help when I need to.  I am pretty vulnerable to pushy sales people, but I think I have gotten much better over the years and can stand my ground.  Sometimes I do feel bad when I waste a sales person's time and don't buy anything.  The inverse is true, sometimes when you go to a place like Canadian Tire or The Bay, you will be hard pressed to actually find a sales person to talk to and ask questions from!

Being Able to be Less Impulsive

I must admit, I can be impulsive.  When things are on sale I have very little will power.  Sample sales, warehouse sales, and outlets are the bane of my existence.  Therefore, when I am not faced with temptation I can do my research online and go in with what I want.  The last time I was actually in a mall was about 6 months ago.  I find the bright lights and marketing a bit disorienting and prefer shopping on streets with shops instead.

Related: Would You Buy an Amazon Engagement Ring?

I find that when you get to read reviews of products, it is very helpful and can help curb the impulse.  One of my favourite places to shop online is Amazon.com or sometimes Amazon.ca and Chapters Indigo.

Shop on Your Own Time

The other great thing about shopping online is that you can shop on your own time.  I can shop or browse at 10pm if I want to.  I think it's just more efficient.

Cons to Shopping Online

One con to shopping online is that I tend to be a very tactile person, and I do enjoy the experience of shopping in person.  That's why I usually only purchase books, electronics, household goods online and save my clothes shopping to in-person.

Another thing to think about, when purchasing things online is about how this affects small business owners, and more importantly, how it affects the environment.  The packaging, the boxes, and all the transportation involved in sending and shipping online is quite a bit, I'm sure!

Security breach is another one.  I recently shopped at Well.ca and although I was quite pleased with my purchase and how cheap it was, I was quite annoyed when I received a letter a few weeks later indicating that they had a security breach and although it didn't affect my account, I should change all my credit card passwords.

That environmental impact akes you think twice before ordering a $3.95 bottle of hand wash online to get shipped to you.

Readers, do you shop online? If so, what are your favourite online e-shops to browse and purchase from?

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Young is a writer and former owner of Young and Thrifty and the main "twitter' behind Young and Thrifty's twitter account. She lives in Vancouver, BC and enjoys long walks on the beach, spending time with her anxious dog, and finding good deals. If you like what you read, consider signing up for email updates.

5 Comments

  1. Robb Engen on April 16, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Clothes will always be a tough sell online for some people. That’s just something you want to touch and feel in person. Same with groceries.

    I’ve pretty much moved the rest of my shopping online (go Amazon!). Like you, I don’t want to deal with pushy sales people. I want to read honest reviews and then purchase the item on my own time. And when I’m done, I don’t want some pushy salesperson there trying to sell me an extended warranty plan.



  2. Spearmint on April 16, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    I do most of my online shopping on foreign stores mainly because I’d be hard-pressed to find certain things that are available here in Canada online or off. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one in this country who’s looking for stuff that’s readily available in (cough)Toronto, the US, Asia , etc. and, if it happens to exist here, doesn’t have a ridiculous price tag attached to it.

    There was one time where I was looking for a simple extension cable for a 3.5mm jack (headphone cables and the like can be a bit too short sometimes) and The Source had one that self-retracted for about $20 tax included. The sales person tried to justify that cost just because it self-retracted, but being the informed person I was and having used Monoprice before, cables that simple shouldn’t cost that much just because it self-retracted. Luckily, we have a big Japanese-owned dollar store around here called Daiso I’d almost forgot to check that had them and more (I don’t know any place else that sells USB extension cables) for $2 plus tax.

    It’s an obscure item to be ranting about, but I’m sure many Canadians feel the same way half the time about things they think would be available at their local store/a Canadian online store, but isn’t, or is–with a jacked up price.



  3. BeachBoy on April 16, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    I buy over $10k online each year.. Well provably closer to $20k. I buy EVERYTHING except food. Amazon is awesome for returns and customer service… And prices are a fraction of stores.

    One thing I have noticed is more and more brands protecting their prices so online and stores have the same prices (Vitamix, Clark’s, Canada Goose, etc.) I think this will be the case more and more for high end stuff.

    I had my card frauded twice but it is o be expected… I just got a new one from the cc company…



  4. Young on April 18, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    @Spearmint- I love Daiso. That is all. 🙂



  5. Marie @ Gen Y Finances on April 25, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    I’m a big fan of online shopping. For me it’s very convenient because you can search the things that you want to buy but when it comes to clothes,make sure that it would really fit to you. I even buy a whitening product yesterday.



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