It seems crazy, buying something sight unseen (or should we say untouched) - kind of like it seems crazy to write about your life and interests on the internet as a gesture of global community-building. But if blogging is anything to go on, internet commerce is a worthy investigation.
Many of my blogger friends are hard-core online shoppers. As a regular bricks-and-mortar shopper (I do live in a huge urban centre with access to most everything), I really couldn't understand this until quite recently. The onliners are American and British, mainly. No surprise there, as those two markets have the best infrastructure for online shopping.
Canada, as you know, is a vast landmass with a small population, triangulated between our wealthy (if currently beleaguered) neighbour to the south and our tiny, Commonwealth "parent" to the east. Between culture and geograpy, both the US and UK are optimally positioned to create strong, healthy online markets. We in Canada struggle to obtain online goods here in some format that doesn't cost a living fortune. And as we sport but a handful of homegrown outlets, relatively speaking, that's not easy.
Gotta say, shopping online via a large US company is rarely in the cards for me. The exchange rate, the extra shipping charge, the duty - they make the experience at least as expensive as if I were to go to the store to purchase object X. And if I go to the store I get to try it on. Again - it's the plus of urban living, I've got going for me.
I imagined shipping from the UK would be that much more onerous - I mean, it's over the freakin' ocean. But I have to tell you, it's not the case. Please stay tuned for my next post in which I promise to give deets about one of my most exciting online shopping trips to date - the one involving bras and undies! It was easy, fun, the customer service rocks - and I managed to buy for less than half of what it would cost me at the shops here.
I have mixed feelings about overthrowing my own local economy for quality goods at half the price from other lands. But I've been thoroughly impressed by the experience - which was not working for me at all any more at my long-time vendor - and my shopping experience matters to me.