We do a lot of our shopping online. Whether it’s clothes, food, toys or other day to day items, there’s something so simple and lazy about browsing the internet, clicking a few buttons and having the stuff delivered directly to our door.
Buying online isn’t without it’s flaws though. Having to wait for it to arrive, items not appearing as described, over the top delivery charges and things being broken by the courier are just some of my bugbears. As such, I am partial to occasionally doing things the more traditional way and actually visiting the shops. I know, living life on the edge, eh?!
As part of the launch of Quidco High Street – a new service which allows you to earn cashback on your shopping when you buy in-store at affiliated retailers – I was challenged to write about three reasons why I love the High Street (#HighStreetHappy). We were also asked to visit our local shops – intu Milton Keynes – to visit a few of the Quidco High Street affiliated retailers to see how we got on. More about that later.
In today’s society, shopping is a massive part of our lives – whether it’s buying stuff, browsing or meeting friends, the High Street is a regular stomping round for many of us. In fact, a recent Quidco survey of shoppers in Milton Keynes indicated that people go to the shops an average twice a week, with 1 in 20 even visiting their local High Street on a daily basis.
For me, going to the shops has been something I’ve always done. Be it the boring times when I was forced to traipse around the shops with my Mum when I was a kid, the teenage years when I’d head into town on the bus with a few mates to stare at girls we were too scared to approach, or the present day when I go to do boring adult things like buy batteries, paint or light bulbs. Ah, the memories…
So, in no particular order, here are three things I love about the High Street:
You Can Try Before You Buy
Going to the shops means that you are physically there, able to touch, see, hear, smell and taste the items in front of you – although, as a warning, you may get kicked out if you start sniffing or tasting clothes. Seeing something in the flesh allows you to make more informed decisions when compared to reading descriptions and looking at 2D photos online.
There’s also the additional benefit that you can ‘try out’ the item. Whether it’s putting on clothes, sitting on furniture or testing a mobile handset, trying out the item before purchasing is pretty impossible if you’ve chosen to buy online rather than visiting the High Street.
One of the missus’ worst habits when online shopping is to buy a number of clothing items, try them on when they’ve arrived, then send them all back because (a) she didn’t like it in reality, (b) it was the wrong size, (c) she no longer wants it. If she’s lucky, she’ll maybe keep one item, but she then has to faff around with organising a courier or going to the Post Office to return the unwanted items.
It would seem that I’m not alone in my thinking. The Quidco survey of Milton Keynes’ shoppers saw 79% agree that a benefit of High Street shopping is being able to see what they’re buying, whilst 67% agreed that a benefit of High Street shopping is being able to try stuff on in-store.
You Don’t Have To Wait
I’d probably say that the most irritating thing about online shopping is the wait to get the stuff you ordered. Luckily, we live in a world of next day delivery which means that you can have your new shoes, book or DVD in less than 24 hours, but sometimes that still isn’t good enough.
Although you have to physically travel to the shops, visiting your local High Street means that you get the product without any waiting. What’s a 30 minute round trip and a few quid in petrol when it means you can make use of your new stuff almost instantly?
When the sprog was a newborn, I remember a few instances of when I needed to quickly nip to the shop to buy some wet wipes, nappies or other baby paraphernalia as we’d run out. Usually we’d have bought the majority of this in bulk online, but when you’re knee deep in a poonami, waiting for the postman to turn up the following day isn’t really an option.
It would seem that this too is regarded as a main advantage by others. The Quidco survey showed that 51% of shoppers in Milton Keynes thought that taking stuff home straight away and having that instant gratification was a benefit of High Street shopping when compared to online shopping.
Something To Do
As a stay-at-home dad to a 20-month old toddler, it can sometimes be difficult to find new things to do and places to see that don’t cost loads of money. We have a number of toddler groups we go to and regular trips to places like the zoo, but sometimes the simplest of ideas are the best.
If you’re wanting an alternative day out with your toddler, I find that heading to the High Street is a fab option. Not only does it give your sprog a safe place to run around, but there’s plenty of stuff to look at, food / drink aplenty and the trip can be tied in with doing boring adult errands.
I find that being at home or doing the same things each week can be pretty boring and tiresome. So, heading to the High Street does give me and Toddler L another option. Although this is usually on our own, we do join the 36% of Milton Keynes respondents who, in the Quidco survey, said they go to their local High Street to meet friends – hardly surprising considering the vast amount of cafes and restaurants around.
I’ve also noticed that more and more family-friendly activities take place on the High Street now. One of the other High Streets near us has trampolines, swings and slides for kids to play on, whilst intu Milton Keynes has a seating area for kids to do drawing and colouring.
So those are my three #HighStreetHappy reasons as to why I love the High Street. Do you do the majority of your shopping online or physically at the shops? What do you love about the High Street? What memories do you have about visiting your local shops? Let me know below!
N.B. This is a collaborative post written with Quidco.[jetpack_subscription_form subscribe_text=”Like what you’ve read? Want more? Pop in your email to get all of the latest posts.”]