The rise in online shopping, particularly in the last 5 years or so, has been pretty divisive in terms of public opinion. Some lament the relative demise of the High Street, and there’s no doubt that the loss of stores like BHS and now Toys R Us has been painful to many.
What online shopping has done, though, is massively improve choice. Whereas growing up, if I wanted, say, a bathing suit, I would head downtown and choose from a couple of stores, these days I type ‘buy bathing suit’ into any search engine and I have maybe 25 online stores to choose from.
And it isn’t just about choice. Price, with the rising cost of living in the UK and now Brexit causing many of us to worry even more about our future financial stability, is as important as ever. If I’m looking for something, I always compare the cost on the High Street with what I can find online. I’m not necessarily led by the lowest price, but by value for money.
Which brings me to the advent of online stores based in countries we may not have previously considered. I’m all for helping the UK economy in whatever small way I can, but like most, I also have to balance my books so to speak and try to be a savvy shopper. And the introduction to the UK of online stores based in countries such as China has given us a different option to consider.
It’s always important to know who you are buying from and check that the retailer you’re doing business with is reputable. But my experience of buying from the Chinese online market in the last few years has been positive. I always check whether what I am looking for is available locally here in the UK and I do my quality and price research properly, so if I do buy from an online retailer based in China, I pretty much know that the product I’m getting is good quality and good value. And there’s so much you can find so easily, from hair products to abstract photography accessories, to even non-perishable food items.
When I was a teenager in the 90’s I remember constantly talking to my friends about how great the internet was. But little did I know it would evolve into not only where I made my money, but where I spent it!