Be a Savvy Online Shopper by Knowing the Biggest Trends

by | November 21, 2012 at 10:33 AM | Shopping

(iStockphoto)

Trends in shopping play a major role in the way you ultimately purchase items both online and in-store.

Chances are you’ve probably participated in this movement without even knowing it was “a thing.” Have you ever fallen in love with something online, but were hesitant to purchase it because you weren’t sure of the quality? Then did you got to an actual store to get a better look at it to make sure it was up to snuff? Well, that is becoming the biggest shopping trend and it’s called “showrooming.”

According to Business Insider, the term stems from the retailer’s fear that their brick and mortar stores, that were once the shopping destination, are basically being reduced to showrooms where shoppers can test drive a product and then log on to their computer to find a better deal and place an online order.

“We’re not going to see a huge increase in sales growth for Black Friday this year,” Booz & Co. chief retail strategist Thom Blischok told Business Insider. “What we do expect is a lot of ‘showcasing’ on Black Friday. Shoppers will check things out in stores, electronics especially, but then purchase online on the Monday after. Cyber Monday sales will explode this year.”

Other trends worth mentioning…

Gift Cards
It’s hard to imagine a time when gift cards won’t be the go-to present for that impossible-to-shop-for person who seems to have everything. PlasticJungle.com is a genius website where you can buy, sell or swap gift cards. While someone can’t exactly return an unwanted gift card like they would an ill-fitting sweater, this is a great option for getting something that they’ll actually use.

eLayaway
Layaway is no longer a thing of the past. Couple traditional, in-store layaway with the internet and you’ve got eLayaway. For example, with the Sears and Kmart Layaway Programs you can virtually shop for a gift, add it to your shopping cart, make an online down payment followed by payments every two weeks until the item is paid off and you get your gift.

Similarly, HSN’s Free FlexPay gives you the option to buy items now and pay for them later, with no hidden fees or interest. When you make a purchase your credit card is billed only for the first monthly installment (plus tax, shipping and handling), then the balance will be billed to your credit card in equal monthly installments beginning 30 days after the order date. Like with anything, always be sure to read the fine print.

Now you’re ready to hit the internet. Just don’t forget the do’s and don’ts of online shopping!

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.