High Street vs. Information Superhighway - How do You Prefer to Shop?

The Internet has made us a much more connected and savvy world. We can now communicate with anyone, anywhere, instantly and with minimal effort.  We no longer have to take anything at face value, as the Internet is always there to provide a second, third and fourth opinion on any matter. It has permeated every part of our existence, especially when it comes to shopping. The Internet has also made us lazy, with many preferring to do all of their shopping online rather than going out into the town and doing it the old fashioned way. When it comes down to it, which is better?

Let’s say you want to buy a gift for your seven year old nephew for his birthday. What kinds of things are seven year old boys into these days? You could ask another adult, but they’re likely to have as much of a clue as yourself, and spending hours wandering around the high street hoping you find that perfect gift isn’t the most efficient use of your time. Alternatively you could just type into Google “gifts for seven year old boys” and get a wealth of advice at your fingertips. It’s really that easy.

Street Shopping

Internet 1 – 0 High Street 
Sometimes you don’t know what you’re looking for, and you just want the experience of shopping. If you’re looking for something intangible, then the Internet is your friend. It’s much easier to look at holiday deals when you’ve multiple websites open on your browser, and people looking for life insurance quotes online are better off comparing multiple providers at once online than phoning up each insurer individually. If you’re looking at actual products, it’s far better to be able to have them right in front of your eyes to examine, poke and prod so you can be sure it’s what you want. Want to be sure that cherry red pair of shoes is actually cherry red and not hot pink with some added digital wizardry? Go to the shop and try them out.

Internet 1 – 1 High Street
At the checkout
One thing that always annoys me about shopping in the high street is the add on sale you get at the cash desk. “Since you’ve already spent a small fortune with us, would you like to buy this other thing we have too much stock of for an extra ten pounds?” No, actually. No, I wouldn’t. This also happens with online shopping, but it’s much less intrusive and can be easily ignored. Also, online stores are able to store your payment details, meaning you don’t have to fumble with change or try to remember your PIN. Less fuss, less worry and a much smoother experience.

Internet 2 – 1 High Street
This is something that the faceless façade of the Internet cannot provide. Say you want a handmade, locally crafted gift. Chances are you’ll head to your local market or craft fair, where you’ll be greeted by the proprietor and given sound advice on what to purchase and how to use and look after it. You don’t get that kind of connection when you buy something through the anonymous screen of the Internet.

Internet 2 – 2 High Street
So it’s a draw; both are equally useful, depending on what you want. The way things are going, though, it looks like the traditional high street will go almost entirely online, which will hopefully mean more room for grassroots and local stores to flourish. Here’s hoping.

Image is licensed under CC Attribution
Jamie Gibbs
About the Author:

Jamie Gibbs is the resident blogger for the Confused.com life insurance quotes website.

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