Online Shopping...Not as scary as it used to be!

For those of you who know me well, you know that 2011 has had a bit of a bumpy start and I am back in the job market after 4 years with Eli Lilly - a great company but not a good fit for my background.  As a biomedical engineer, I was yearning to get back into the device world and not work for a pharmaceutical company that dabbled in devices.

Any who, as important as I have realized it is to go work for a company with a job that really interests you, I've also realized how important being near a pretty big city is to me.  I've grown up just 20 minutes outside of Indianapolis about 80% of my life.  Although Indianapolis is not what many consider to be a thriving metropolitan area, it has so many nice things - it's affordable, clean, and has some awesome shopping and places to eat.

Well, recently a few positions have emerged that I am very interested in...but I can't stop thinking about how scary it might be to move to a new area.  As exciting as it probably is for the first few months, I have a feeling that the newness will eventually wear off and I'll be bored...especially if I move some place without the proximity I need to all of my favorite malls!  My husband (who is more of a risk taker than I am) laughed at me when I wanted to justify where we would go based off a few stores: Sephora (my favorite beauty store), Nordstrom, J.Crew, Saks - these are just a few of my favorites things!  He couldn't believe that I was literally google mapping the location and searching nearby for these stores.  Had I really gotten attached to having these places at the touch of my fingertips?

As I grew more and more concerned about the thought of memorizing more mall directories my husband looked at me and said, "Allison, you do 60% of your shopping online anyways" - and for one of the first times in our marriage - he was right!  In fact, as time has gone on...I have been shopping online more and more.  For one thing, the selection is fantastic.  I find items online at that the two locations close to me sometimes don't have in stock.  And when I find a pant that I like at J.Crew, I peruse the site almost every few days to see when it goes on sale so I can justify picking it up in a few new shades.

Companies have almost made it impossible to resist online shopping.  Most online sites offer free shipping on all orders or when you spend a certain dollar amount.  And almost every site provides free return shipping.  The other great thing about online shopping?  It's the easiest way to compare prices on the same item.  For example, I fell in love with these pumps when I saw them at Nordstrom a few weeks ago.  However, after doing some research I found the same pair at for 30% off!  Definitely worth the trouble!
Sure, there are some obvious risks with online shopping but sometimes there are better deals online.  For example, the days of Black Friday might be limited.  More and more people are staying home to prepare for Cyber Monday when they can get pick up amazing deals online.  Some stores are even exclusively online now or offer certain styles that are online only.  The saving grace of that?  If you want to exchange it in store most will let you!  I love shopping online when a store has a rewards program.  Many places offer double the points on certain days - online only!  When you get special gift certificates for these promotions, twice the amount of points adds up fast!  Hate the annoying site e-mails?  I do too, but as long as you keep up with your e-mail, you will come across some amazing deals that you might not catch in store.  Just the other day I found a cashmere sweater online at Neiman Marcus that was 70% off - a fabulous deal on a soft and classic sweater that I will get a lot of use out of!

So, what are you waiting for?  If you're one of those people that "has to see it up close" what's the risk?  With free return shipping, customer reviews to give you information on size and quality, as well as online chat services most companies are making their online sites so robust that you'll be able to shop in your pjs 24 hours a day.  No more long lines, no more trying to find a parking spot, no more getting ready!  In the comfort of your own home you can peruse whatever website you want.  Don't like it?  Take it back!  Just be careful about great bargains - some sites (like J.Crew and shopbop) offer final sale be sure you're in love.  And if it's a great deal, try it out!  If you don't like it try to sell it on ebay or craigslist, or even pass it on to a friend or sister who would look fabulous in it!  It's good karma to share the love!

They always say that home is where the heart is, and now I've learned that shopping is where my computer is.  With just a click I am able to purchase the perfect pants for that interview coming up - and I'm able to watch the Purdue game with my husband.  Plus, who doesn't love getting mail?  I love the excitement of waiting for that new pair of jeans.  Everyone wins!


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