“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”. Christmas is definitely coming early this year, with decorations already hitting some retail stores. The main reason is because of COVID. Yes, that global pandemic has disrupted more than just where we can go and who we can see, it has also caused havoc in the global supply chain limiting the flow of products from overseas factories to our retail stores and then onto Aussie consumers.
What does this mean? It means that if you want to have a great Christmas this year, you need to get organised now.
So here are 5 top tips to help you shop successfully online, and early, this Christmas.
Make a Christmas List – Christmas is a great time to make lists and one of those should be a gift list. It should cover all the people you need to buy presents for, what you’d like to buy them and ideally how much approximately you’d like to spend on them. You can also add onto the list anything else you need to buy for your Christmas get-togethers and parties. This will make sure you don’t forget anyone this Christmas, and also help make your online shopping more purposeful.
Do Your Research – Online shopping has become so much better over the past 18 months, so use it to your advantage. Search for your Christmas List items and start to find which retailers sell what you want. You can also check if they have your item in stock, compare prices between retailers, and see what delivery options they have. Google Shopping is a great way to compare and research products online, as are the many marketplaces / comparison websites out there. Just remember to search using ‘incognito-mode’ on your browser, if you don’t want your partner or family members to see what gift ideas you’ve been searching for.
Start Shopping Early – COVID has played havoc with the global supply chain. Raw materials are hard to get, factories aren’t at full capacity, and freight movements around the world are in disarray. This means many items you were planning on buying this Christmas will be either hard to get, out-of-stock or will sell through very quickly. Delivery and postal delays are also under pressure so normal delivery times are being stretched out further and further. So, if you start your online shopping early, you might just find what you’re looking for and have plenty of time to wait for delivery. Alternatively, order locally-produced products or see if click ‘n collect is a faster way of getting your items. If you are sending parcels to friends and relatives, make sure you checkout the domestic or international cut-off delivery dates so your gift arrives in time for the big day.
Online Discounts Aren’t Always a Bargain – With the traditional online sales events coming in the lead up to Christmas, they are a great way to buy many of your gifts for a cheaper price. Events like Singles Day (11th November), Black Friday (26th November), and Cyber Monday (29th November) can offer significant discounts. Just remember that these days are specifically there to encourage you to buy, so be careful with what you order. Always compare with other retailers online, as the discounts you will be receiving may not be as good as you first think. Often, they are promoting older stocked items or soon to be superseded models. Or they offer you a bundled pack, enticing you to buy more products to get a better deal. Make sure you stick to your Christmas List of gift items and don’t get carried away with buying more than you need. Buy within your means and remember that there will always be another online sale event soon enough.
Check Who the Retailer Is – It’s very easy to set-up an ecommerce site online these days, in fact you can set one up and be trading within a day. So, it’s important to be wary of shonky and poorly managed online retailers out there. Before you buy, make sure to check out the online retailer’s returns policy, their customer reviews (on their website, on google, and on social media) and their business locations. You never know if you need to return an item or chase up something that was undelivered or arrived damaged. Good online retailers, have a clear returns policy and procedure; some even let you send the item back for free. If the retailer is based overseas, then it will be harder to get a good resolution so you may be stuck with your faulty or unwanted item. Also be wary of any customer reviews that are all 5 stars, glowing, have similar wording, and don’t show any mid-range or negative reviews – they could be fake or manufactured.
Hopefully, these 5 Christmas tips can help make it an organised and less stressful shopping experience; giving you time to sit back, relax and enjoy the run up to the end of 2021.
Check out our other articles on a range of helpful topics