Coronavirus might have scuppered your plans to hit the high street this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun picking up everyone’s gifts! Read on for 7 tips on having the ultimate Christmas shopping day from the comfort of your home.
61% of UK shoppers say the pandemic will affect how they’ll shop for the holidays this year (Think with Google)
1. Choose your Christmas shopping day
Just like you would if you were hitting the high street, put a day aside for online Christmas shopping. This will be much more fun and productive than placing orders here and there.
While you’ll of course want to wait until you’re feeling festive, it’s a good idea to do your Christmas shopping early so you don’t have to worry about parcels arriving on time — especially as coronavirus restrictions could impact delivery times.
The Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend (27th–30th November) could be a good choice, because retailers usually offer their best prices at this time. One of the great things about shopping online is that you don’t have to worry about it being busy!
More than 60% of shoppers are planning to buy Christmas presents by the end of November (John Lewis)
2. Make a list (and check it twice)
To make your Christmas shopping day as productive as possible, create a list beforehand. Write down the names of everyone you want to buy gifts for along with notes about any specific ideas or budgets. You can then tick them off once you’ve ordered what you need.
If you want to be super organised, use our free Christmas shopping list template. We’ve got an online version and a printable one to help you keep track of gifts, cards, and other Christmas essentials. You can even use it to keep your spending in check.
It’s also a good idea to have your loved ones’ addresses on hand in case you want to arrange for gifts or cards to be delivered straight to their door.
3. Create the right atmosphere
To recreate all the festive fun of a Christmas shopping day on the high street, you’ll need to get into the spirit of things! That means:
- Wearing your favourite Christmas jumper
- Displaying Christmas decorations
- Playing your favourite Christmas music — Spotify has loads of Christmas playlists and albums, so there’s a genre for everyone
- Taking breaks for festive food and drink — I’m planning to whip up Jamie Oliver’s mulled wine or hot chocolate and try out these Christmas market recipes from BBC Good Food
90% of people surveyed claimed their plans for this Christmas have been affected by COVID-19 (Good Housekeeping)
4. Find the best products and deals
One of the best things about buying Christmas gifts online is that it’s easy to shop around. My number-one tip is to do your research, especially when it comes to big-ticket items. Reading product descriptions and buying guides, looking at product photos and videos, and checking out reviews will help ensure you know exactly what you’re buying.
I asked some of my colleagues to share their insider advice for getting the best products and deals:
- “There are huge discounts to be had if you take advantage of cashback sites like Quidco and TopCashBack as well as voucher sites like VoucherCodes. Make sure to have a quick search before you make a purchase!” — Virginia Rizzi, Head of Affiliate Marketing
- “Don’t buy based on price alone. Take delivery and returns policies, warranties, loyalty schemes, and other factors into account to ensure you’re getting the best deal. On some sites, you might be able to spread the cost of bigger purchases using services like Klarna.” — Marissa Pysarczuk, Head of Outreach
- “You can use Google Shopping to easily compare products and prices from lots of different online stores. There are loads of helpful filters to help you narrow your search.” — Bradley Hall, Head of Paid Search
59% of people surveyed said they will spend more online this year than they did last year (Power Reviews)
5. Attend an online Christmas market
If you’re worried about missing out on the Christmas market experience this year, fret not, because there are plenty taking place online. You can search for them using sites like Facebook and Eventbrite, but I’ve listed some of my top picks below. Make sure to enjoy a warming mug of gluhwein or hot chocolate as you browse!
|St Oswald’s Hospice||9am to 3pm on Saturday 28th November|
|Red Shops Christmas Pop-Up Boutique||Midday on Friday 4th December to midnight on Sunday 6th December|
|Virtual Bath Christmas Market 2020||Anytime|
|Edinburgh Christmas Market||Details TBC|
|Virtual York Christmas Market||Anytime|
|Solo Craft Fair||7.30pm to 9pm every Monday until Christmas|
48% of people aged 18 to 24 are looking for online experiences to replace the things they did before (Twitter)
6. Shop safely and securely
There are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself when shopping online. For more advice and information, visit The National Cyber Security Alliance site.
- Check reviews: If it’s not a site you’re familiar with, look at third-party review websites such as Trustpilot to see what customers have been saying about the retailer. Make sure to take the quantity as well as the quality of reviews into account.
- Choose the right payment method: Different payment methods offer different types of protection, so it’s important to consider your options at the checkout. For example, PayPal won’t share your card details with the seller and may offer reimbursement if your order doesn’t arrive as expected. The Money Advice Service has more tips.
- Look out for the padlock: Most internet browsers use a padlock symbol to indicate that a site is secure. You can also check that the URL begins with ‘https’, where the ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’. This is especially important when you’re going through the checkout process.
- Update your software: Keeping your device software and apps, including your internet browser, up to date will ensure you’re taking advantage of the latest security features.
7. Decide where to deliver
When ordering Christmas gifts or cards online, consider whether you want them delivered to your home address or straight to the recipient. There are pros and cons to each.
Ordering items to your own address means you have the opportunity to check them out before gifting. It also allows you to wrap them as you wish and arrange onward delivery at a time that suits.
However, arranging onward delivery can be inconvenient and costly.
Ordering items to the recipient’s address usually means that they will receive them sooner — ideal if you’re buying last-minute. It also saves you the hassle and cost of arranging onward delivery.
However, there is a chance that the recipient won’t be home to receive their parcel and so ends up having to collect it from the delivery depot. You will also have less control over how the items are presented. You might therefore want to shop with stores that allow you to:
- Use a gift-wrapping service
- Include a gift note or card
- Hide the price on the delivery note/provide a gift receipt
- Add a ‘do not open until’ note to the parcel or envelope
- Choose a delivery date (so you can arrange a suitable time with the recipient beforehand)
About Glass Digital
We hope these tips help you to enjoy a fun-filled and productive online Christmas shopping day!