I’m not ashamed to say that for Christmas shopping (and particularly for the last few years), I’ve become reliant upon the usual suspects online in order to buy presents for my nearest and dearest.
The convenience factor really does win me over, and as I can arrange for the items to be delivered to my workplace, it’s a no-brainer really.
At times however, you have to acknowledge that seeing the item that you are looking to buy, picking it up, examining it etc, confirms whether or not you should buy it or not.
Of course, if it’s available online too, then there is every possibility that you can return home and buy it online, and more than likely at a cheaper price. But this year, certain members of the Mistry family have hinted at niche items, and so I decided to mix-up my gift buying…I ventured out onto the High Street!
There is a degree to which I had to brace yourself for this…
Will there be lots of people around?
Will the items I’m thinking of buying be in stock?
Will I be able to put up with Shakin’ Stevens singing “Merry Christmas Everyone” in the umpteenth shop I visit?!
There were probably as many people as a normal weekend shopping day and visiting a few weekends before Christmas Day itself helped no doubt.
What I was really impressed by was the personal nature of engagement by the staff of the shops I visited. The not-too-intrusive friendly approach, the careful listening to what I was after description or budget-wise, the offer of samples to ‘try-before-you-buy’ – all the things we don’t get from the online experience.
The very thing that the High Street shops needed to undertake in order to put up a good fight against the online retailers was very much evident.
Whilst it may be too early to say, perhaps there is something within our inherent nature that still desires a customer experience involving interaction with shop staff and being able to handle / try items too?
I can certainly say that I’m glad I visited when I did – something tells me that it won’t be as calm and enjoyable in a few weeks’ time!