Shopping for some is just a ritual whereas others look at it as an indulging and exciting experience and still, a few others tag it as a taxing and tiring activity. The experience and expressions vary across age groups, genders and even geographies. Men more often than not plan to go shopping, if and only if there is an urgent need or at times, if it has to do with a special occasion or pleasing their spouse and winning over their girlfriends. Women on the other hand indulge in shopping more often and acclaim it as a stress buster, a fun activity and the best way, to kill any spare time at hand.
For most part, it tends to be exciting, except for when you go extravagant or end up getting stuck at a tatty and cramped store. Also, when you do not get to park your car close to the store, you have to get at. Reasons could also vary from not so supportive & welcoming store staff, lack of time, and store running sort of the stuff you are looking for and at times, even your poor memory. Nevertheless, shopping as an activity is unanimously supposed to give shoppers the much needed high, when feeling low and a surpassed sense of excitement when a kick is enough to let you switch your mood gears.
The modern lifestyle, lack of infrastructure, the social set up and demanding jobs have changed the way people shop. Over the last few years, shopping has evolved as an important chore that needs to be well planned and better managed. A few quick fixes could address the nuisance at hand and deliver one of the best shopping experiences to rejoice, with minimal efforts.
Plan Ahead: Sit down and think through, what is that you need? What is your shopping budget? Assign priorities to the items you need to purchase. Do not miss on deciding which stores to drop in at. Decide which items could be easily availed online if you wish to save on your valuable time, while shopping offline at the busy and crowded stores, malls, supermarkets or fashion streets. If time is a constraint, restrict offline shopping to items you can not settle for without having to view, check and deal with.
Shop Wisely: Knowing in advance what items to pick, in what measures & at what price helps with wise shopping decisions as you do not end up overspending. Use any coupons you have, to make purchases at your favorite or regular stores. Regularly check for the expiry dates of your coupons. Question yourself every time you wish to make a purchase, to know what matters the most? Is it the value for your money or pure indulgence? Believe it or not, they do reflect on the choice of stores, brands, the price you pay, the time you invest and your shopping plan, on the whole.
Do your Homework (For Special Occasions): You know, your spouse’s birthday is round the corner and you always wanted to surprise her with a birthday bash.
Well, a great idea if you plan ahead and implement it right! Simply, sit down and prepare a list of all the items you would need for the special day in right proportions and from the right stores. After all, you don’t want your spouse to be frowning at you after you have put in sooo much of efforts, planning and organizing the special day.
Manage Your Time: Decide beforehand, where to go and which stores to drop at rather than moving all around the malls and stores, which come on your way to the market. Also, take the directions or the map for the stores you will be shopping at. Good, if you have a GPS locator in your car! It would save you a lot of time, energy and even gas while hunting for items on your shopping list or going back and forth.
Forge Relationships with Support staff: Relationships with the support staff at shopping malls or supermarket stores always helps! The reason being, if you manage to pull the right chord during a conversation, you strike a relationship and that follows in with added shopping convenience, which means informed buying decisions, volunteering, supportive and welcoming staff members. This is how it happens: The conversations you exchange let you generate awareness about your tastes and preferences. So, the next time you go shopping, you will be amazed to see the staff members offering to help you out picking up the items on your shopping list, with greater ease and in a relatively smaller time span.
Go Online with the Web! : Use web applications, technology and the shopping tools besides shopper reviews (on product and services) to decide what to pick, from where and when exactly. The reviews more often than not tend to be helpful in making right purchase decisions. You know what’s in and what’s not!
The available shopping tools and gadgets help you save a lot of time by helping with better management of your shopping. eBay Shopping Carts, Online Shopping lists, Store shopping tools and other such web or desktop applications make shopping more manageable and more fun.
Involve your Family: Get your family members, your spouse and your children assist you with the grocery shopping, if not shopping for special occasions. Seek their feedback on the shopping list you prepared and check with them, if you have missed on any of the required items. Make your shopping lists accessible to them so that they could be of help to you, with your shopping chores (when you happen to be too busy or pre-occupied with your workplace assignments).
Would that not be great, if your spouse and children could pick up grocery or other regular stuff on their way back home? All they would need is your shopping list stored online, available over the web and shared or else, just accessible at home.
Be Smart on Pocket: Be sure, you have checked out the options available comparing in line with the prices tags while making a purchase so that you do not feel stupid and duped when next morning, your colleague walks over to you just to let you know that he got the same stuff for a few less dollars.
Store Chores: Have you been to this store before? If not, have you checked out on concerns like parking space, support staff, payment counters, the ambience, the total area the store is built in, hygiene, availability of basic stocks et cetra. More often than not, shoppers loose their patience at the store if the parking space is too far or too over packed for them to park or if the store is running out of basic grocery items like Sugar, rice et cetra. Even if you have to wait in long queues to get to the payment counter. What if, you keep bumping against other shoppers while trying to pick up stuff? How would you feel at a store that is too cramped to even walk through different aisles?
Better, if you already researched or gathered such information if you are planning to visit or check out a new store! For the rest, you have experienced it over and again and you know well, if it’s worth another visit………
Look out for Bargains: Bargains have always been looked-for, extensively indulged in and widely enjoyed by shoppers across all age groups, genders, social status and geographical boundaries. Why to miss on those big bargains and great deals???
Enjoy your Shopping: Remember, you enjoy shopping the most when you have a partner or a shopping companion who could help you make right choices, does not loose patience every time you switch stores, question your purchase decisions on and off and offers you a hand, when you have to pick up all your shopping bags back to your car. Just make sure, you have called upon and asked out your friend to join you, when you go out shopping. It makes the whole experience fun and all the more exciting!
Smita S. is a web 2.0 enthusiast, currently with Infodoro (a social network) at [http://www.infodoro.com] If you like to make your shopping more manageable and fun, try your hands at Infodoro “ShoppingList”, a free web 2.0 shopping tool. If you’re parenting and always running out of time, this application can help you with your repetitive and new shopping chores, for sure. Digitalize your life-style & optimize your leisure & productive times alike. Create, Manage & Share Your Shopping Lists Online!