Category Archives for "online shopping"

Online Holiday Sales Expected to Surge by 90% in 2020

By Randall Orser | Business , holiday season , online shopping , Small Business

Shopping in this 2020 holiday season is going to look unlike anything we have ever seen before as 30% of shoppers will be buying their gifts online.  This will cause a shift in what is known as the seasonal rush as couriers, delivery services and Canada Post rush to deliver parcels.  A huge surge in online shopping occurred almost overnight starting back in March as shops closed due to the pandemic.  Digital sales saw a five year acceleration in just a few months trigged by this change in shopping habits and the retail industry will see a 15% market share which took 30 years to reach explode to at least 30% by the end of the year.

As more people are choosing to shop from home the main driver of these online sales will be social media direct advertising.  At least 15% of purchases will be referred to company websites from social channels especially in the height of the season and almost one in ten online purchases will be made directly through digital purchase points on social media.  The digital e-commerce demand is so strong this year that experts predict that companies offering personalized and curb side pick up options will increase their digital sales by 90% in 2020.

The anticipated volume of parcels to be delivered prompted Canada Post to release a video asking consumers to shop early to help to alleviate the backlog for their workers and to ensure packages were delivered on time.  On December 14th alone, Canada Post delivered half a million parcels.  They are adding more than 4,000 temporary seasonal workers and increasing their fleet by more than 1,000 vehicles.  There will be weekend deliveries and additional pick up points and post office hours will be extended.  Additional processing equipment has been installed along with enhanced tracking technology to enable customers to track packages. Despite these measures up to 70 million gifts could be delivered late.   

Many larger retailers have set up their own delivery services or teamed up with mail carriers and couriers to delivery purchases to customers.  Many are offering national two day shipping and next day delivery in major cities and in additions some started their holiday events early offering shopping with strict social distancing measures, online shopping with curb side pick up or home delivery.  

In order to have a successful holiday season retailers have had to change the ways that they do business to include more personal services such as the ability to chat on line with a store associate. Offering free shipping often with a dollar amount of purchases is always a bonus to attract a customer and have them buy more to get free shipping.

From an article by Michelle Singerman

Tips to Avoid the Post-Holiday Finance Blues

By Randall Orser | Budget , holiday season , online shopping , Personal Finances

Every holiday season we try to resist the temptation to overspend, but for those of us who are not successful, we have to deal with the post-holiday finance blues when the credit card bills arrive in January.  2020 has been a difficult year for all of us especially financially so this season it is important more than ever to stay within our budget.  Here are some ideas that might help you to keep your spending in line.

1. Pause before you act - remember last year and how long it took you to pay off those credit cards?  This year instead of splurging too much on gifts for your family and friends, consider making home made gifts, they are often more appreciated.

2. Set a budget and stick to it - according to the annual Holiday Spending Survey by the CPA only 39% of Canadians save all year for their holiday purchases.  Maybe you should consider doing this for Christmas 2021 but in the meantime make a sensible budget for gifts and food and stay to it.  Due to the pandemic it is expected that people will spend less in 2020 as they will not be going to parties and travelling, even so it will be easy to overspend on making your Christmas at home memorable.

3. Avoid credit at all costs - Most of us get a rude awakening in January when those credit card bills arrive especially those with high interest rates.  Even though stores may be offering you a discount on purchases remember if you have to pay high interest rates on their credit cards that discount can quickly disappear if you do not pay off your bill in full.  

4. Think about an app to track your spending - tracking your spending is essential to prevent going over your budget.  Even if you have set a limit it is so easy to overspend on gifts and and all the frills for an enjoyable holiday.

5. Be creative and responsible - People you care about do not want you to go into debt to give them gifts.  Instead overspending on gifts think about what you can do for them which may mean a whole lot more, such as babysitting, making them meals or treats, help with minor repairs or just spending time with them. 

6. Give younger kids experiences not stuff - Instead of giving them lots of toys that they easily become bored with, how about signing them up for sports, or giving them event tickets to use when the pandemic is over?  

7. Resist those Boxing Day sales - Shopping on Boxing Day is a bargain hunter's dream, but in reality many items can be found cheaper at other times of the year.  You need to have amazing willpower not to impulse buy even online.  This year most of us will not be going to the mall and the good thing about online purchasing is that you can do your research for the best price, and really think about whether or not you really need to buy the item at all. 

From an article by Mathieu de Larjartre

How to be a Smarter Online Shopper

By Randall Orser | Covid-19 , holiday season , online shopping , Scams

Due to the pandemic many of us have moved our shopping online. Sales online have soared in 2020 and they are expected to beat previous records during the holiday season. Most of us are buying from reputable sources that we are familiar with for groceries, electronics, clothing and much more. But as Christmas comes around we might be searching a little wider afield for that perfect gift and buying from vendors that we are not familiar with. You need to be smart when placing that online order to make it a safe experience and avoid potential issue. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind:

1. Read Reviews - Do your research and make sure that your vendor has a good reputation and has reviews that are genuine and are from verified buyers. Check for negative reviews especially from multiple people and how the company responds to them. Be careful to trust reviews that seem over exaggerated they may be fake.

2.  Beware of Red Flags

  • If the site looks unprofessional or is missing important information you could be dealing with a sketchy company which could put you at risk. Important things to look for are contact information, an actual address, phone number and email address.  
  • If the site is poorly designed with many spelling mistakes, bad grammar or broken links.  
  • If the back button does not work and you are stuck on a page, this could be a sign that the site is not legitimate.  
  • The site asks for your credit card information early on, you should not be asked for this until you are ready to finalize the purchase.

3.  Read the Fine Print about returns and refunds.  In BC there are not laws that deal directly with refund, exchange and return policies so retailers can set their own policies for customer returns and they can differ widely. This is especially true during the pandemic where some stores have changed their policies to reduce the risk of infection for customers and staff.  Make sure you read the fine print and know what you are agreeing up.

4.  Confirming your purchase - Before you confirm your purchase, make sure you see the following things:

  • A detailed description of the goods or services
  • The currency
  • The delivery details, including the shipping method and details of delivery
  • The cancellation, return, exchange and refund policies if any.

5. Know your rights should your purchase not arrive - Again due to the pandemic receiving orders can take longer than normal especially if buying from overseas. It is annoying when your purchase does not arrive, you may be able to get some help under BC law, check out How to get a refund if your online order never arrives

6.  Know what you can do when there is an issue with quality -  There are many funny posts on the internet about products bought on line not being exactly as advertised but it might not be amusing when it happens to you.  It is difficult to define a quality issue as everyone has different ideas of what they consider to be poor quality.  However if you are dissatisfied with a product you can read more about what your options are here.

Trust your gut, if a site appears dodgy then it probably is, look for a more reputable vendor and remember it is always good to support your local retailers as much as possible, during this pandemic they really need your help to survive.

From an article by Consumer Protection BC