With the Wind

Online Shopping

Tulip Chowdhury

4 July, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Online Shopping

Tulip Chowdhury

Well, my friends, like it or not, online shopping for primary and non-urgent goods is here to stay. The pre-pandemic world had online shopping as something we chose because it was a convenient digital resource. After Covid-19 stuck, life got tethered to online shopping. No doubt it was a lifesaver then, and it has changed our shopping habits in many ways.

With the ups and downs of our online ventures, while small businesses and retail stores have lost customers, then delivery services picked up and absorbed people who delivered goods at the doors. On the other end, online shopping was a matter of waiting to see the FedEx, UPS, or other trucks pull up to know that they can buy necessities without risking the virus. As Rosy, a mother of two school-going children, says, "I have to order endless lines of clothes for my growing children and while I keep eyes open for them have to make sure they get returned on time if needed. However, there is a great tension with the online clothes from the time I order and the actual try-on. I keep hoping the sizes are right, and I don't have to run to the return centre; not all come with free returns. For me, the actual store ventures were better; I knew what I was bringing home."

Stepping back before the pandemic came, we liked to get our eggs, bananas, meat, and fish. The weekend grocery was a positive way to choose one's food. Due to the virus, we do grocery online. There is also the online pre-order to do the curbside pickups for food, appliances, and other things. Phone apps like Daraz or Instacart for online shopping are user-friendly, and after the first trial and error, users usually get the hang of it. James, a single Dad of a ten-year-old boy, keeps track when his Instacart shopper starts shopping and feels glad that he doesn't have to go out to do the grocery, which would mean arranging a babysitter for his son. "I order on the Instacart, and if the items ordered are not available, the shopper messages and I can change while the shopping is getting done. At times it feels too luxurious to be able to do all that."

For ladies' wardrobes, especially with the lockdowns, are easing in some world places. More, the summer is the season to show off some colours. Studies show while many are content to order online instead of going to shops since the latter is time-consuming. And not everyone can choose to leave children to go shopping for a treat. For many mothers, online shopping is a practical way to solve a dilemma in a pandemic life. Amazon is like the giant in the online shopping platform for the world now with its choices of brands, prices, and quality. People with Amazon Prime can choose free shipping for most of their shopping, and many regard the annual fee as worthwhile since online shopping is very much there to stay. Grandma Matin remarks about her toddler granddaughter, "When little Bina asks for toys, and I say I can't go shopping in the pandemic, she tells me to order on Amazon. Even kids know there is a magical service that brings your shopping home."

For many of us, retail therapy has changed as online shopping continues to be our new reality. The treatment does magic to ease our stressful moments. Going to window shopping, walking through the shop aisles, looking at the glamorous displays with mannequins dressed in Hawaii clothes: those sights do not fail to fill up a corner of our happy thoughts. And who knows, you might find an excellent solution to your slacked spirits on one of your retail therapy days? We still take our ventures of those therapies, but on the shop websites. Mimi, a busy banker, misses her Friday mall trips and browsing through the racks of clothes and accessories in shops. But in the pandemic world, when she wishes to go to the mall, her first instinct is to open her Amazon app and browse clothing departments. For Mimi, it's not something she chose to do, but it just caught on with her life, and so she says, "The legs and body get no chances to stretch with such retail therapy; I plan a walk the next morning, but don't go for a walk at all."

Maria, a caregiver for an elderly person in the state of NY, says, "Somehow waiting for the delivery man from Amazon is like happy things for me, to know something new is coming, I run out to fetch it once I see the truck outside." Like Maria, people privileged to have an online system get a better grip in life and have their personal stories of how the digital resource shaped their lives. In the bigger picture, E-Commerce has a new chapter of how business spreads depending on the moment's needs. The pointer is that online shopping is here to stay with its unique dimensions, and depending on consumers' habits, the resource maybe adding more lucrative ways to shop while you munch on your popcorn and watch TV on Friday nights.

According to CNN Business news, "There is some early evidence that consumers won't revert to their old ways. A research paper from McKinsey earlier this year said trends in China suggest that between three and six percentage points of market share gained by online channels will be "sticky." The longer the pandemic drags on, the more likely that consumers stick to their new habits. Companies are racing to adapt."

While we may weigh the pros and cons of online shopping, it is worth thanking heaven, for not all people across the globe are lucky to have the opportunities to have this luxury.  For our part, if the neighbour needs help with shopping, there is a chance to make a difference in life.

 

Tulip Chowdhury writes from Massachusetts, USA

 


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