More and more people are shopping on-line today than ever before, especially with the holidays just around the corner. We’re looking for gifts for our kids, gifts for our family, and gifts for our friends. But is shopping on-line safe? Is our information secure? Is it convenient? For as many of those who are on-line shoppers (and I am a big on-line shopper myself), there are just as many, or more, who don’t or won’t shop on-line. They cite various reasons for their reluctance. Believe me, it can be scary to try new things. So, I have considered the reasons for their fear and apathy and have come up with what I believe are great reasons you gotta love on-line shopping.
1. Security Issues
Many people are worried about putting their personal information out into “cyberspace”. Personally, I feel safer on-line. Identity theft actually occurs more in the malls and department stores than on-line according to a recent report on CNN. They report that there are far more opportunities available in a mall.
The truth of the matter is that through the process of encryption, the internet is actually a safe place to shop. Encryption is like coding. The only one who knows what is being coded is the one with the key. Secure socket layers, or SSL, is the protocol that most browsers and web servers use to protect our personal information while it is being transmitted. Keys are created with each transaction and then discarded, with each new transaction producing a new, unique key. There are so many combinations possible with 128-bit, for example, that is has been likened to trying to find one particular grain of sand in the Sahara Desert. You can tell that you are using encryption when you see the padlock symbol on the toolbar. And you should see an “s” appear after the http in the address window.
2. Save Money
These days it is a lot easier to save money on the internet. Shipping and handling can get pretty pricey. However, today many of the stores you can shop at on-line are offering some great shipping deals. In some instances, shipping and handling are waived entirely, if you spend a certain amount of money. Many of the book clubs and stores are offering a low fee for S&H, too, when you purchase a specific dollar amount. The price of gas alone is well worth the cost of S&H. And, although the price of gas has come down some, it can still get pretty costly as you run from mall to mall in search of the newest, hottest, gotta have item.
This one is a biggie for myself. Rather than fight the throng of mad shoppers, I can shop in the comfort of my own home and buy, compare, research anything I want. You can find just about anything on-line, too, no matter how obscure. I also love the fact that I don’t have to beat the traffic to get my shopping done. I don’t have to run from store to store to store to try and purchase the items and gifts I know will please everyone on my holiday list. One stop gift shops are perfect in that you can shop for everyone on your list in one place and still get that special something for each person on your list.
4. Comparison Shopping
There are a number of sites on-line where you can comparison shop and get the best deal. The holidays are about giving. That doesn’t mean you should break the bank in order to do so. Look at sites like froogle.com, yahooshopping.com, or pricegrabber.com to buy at the best prices on-line or even in your area.
There you are. No more reasons not to avail yourself of the convenience and safety of shopping on-line. I hope I have been able to help you become more comfortable in cyber space. You should enjoy your holidays and shopping on-line gives you that extra time to spend with family and good friends. Happy Holidays and Great Wishes to all of you and yours!!
Copyright 2005 Patricia Tomaskovic