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Online shopping the way to go? Guide
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Is online shopping the way to go?
When you're looking for a last minute holiday deal, the perfect gift for a loved one or when that time comes to renew your motor insurance policy, it is well-worth taking the time to shop around. Specifically, for a woman, car insurance is available at some fantastic rates but such bargains can take some seeking out.

Generally speaking, us girls are renowned for our love of shopping. Most of us have a keen eye for the latest fashions, live for bargains and adore spending money, especially if it's not ours!

However, for some the thought of hitting the shops is sheer hell. Battling with the weekend crowds and traipsing up and down the high street for hours on end looking for the perfect outfit, at the perfect price, in the perfect size is not everyone's idea of fun.

You can look forward to the joy of standing in a lengthy cue for hot, sticky fitting rooms where you have to convince an unrelenting member of staff to allow you to take in more than four items. Once you've messed up your hair and make- up while trying on every item twice and made the definitive style decision you're forced to join yet another cue so that you can pay for your purchase then start all over again in the next shop. Bliss!

Online shopping - The pros and cons But, with the rising phenomenon that is internet shopping our consumer woes could be behind us. Shopping can once again be a relaxing experience and finding that Gucci bag at a bargain price or a mega cheap car insurance policy is the definition of ultimate satisfaction.

When shopping via the web, you have the option of purchasing from your desk in your lunch break or kicking back with your laptop and browsing the net from the comfort of your favourite arm chair. That definitely beats wasting shoe leather and putting the unnecessary strain of heavy bags on your arms.

However, there are some drawbacks when it comes to online shopping, mainly relating to consumer frustration. Unfortunately, we are a culture consumed by rage. With road rage and trolley rage becoming daily occurrences in the UK it was only a matter of time before we also acquired web rage. It seems that our impatience is magnified when shopping online as we expect it to be quicker and we become easily frustrated with website performance and anxious at the sheer volume of websites we are faced to choose from.

Web rage The Regional eCommerce study undertaken across the UK by web testing specialist SciVisum has revealed some interesting figures regarding online shopping habits. It was found that three quarters of all Brits are now shopping online, spending an average of ?89 per month. One in ten even admitted they would spend ?5,000 or more on a single transaction.

The majority of people surveyed (57%) stated that the predominant reason for shopping online was that is quick. However, 78% of online shoppers complained that frustration with website performance has caused them to reach for their computer's off switch. Also, one in three online shoppers refuse to allow even their favourite websites more than a second chance, before clicking to the competition or traipsing back along the high street.

Handy websites Another downside when it comes to shopping on the internet is that there is just too much choice. Unless you know exactly what you're looking for and precisely where you can find it the range of goods and services can be quite overwhelming and extremely frustrating. This is where websites like confused.com and Haggle4me can come in handy.

Confused.com compares quotations from all the leading motor insurance providers so that you can view some of the cheapest car insurance deals online. If you're a woman, car insurance at a fantastic rate is easily accessible and websites that offer a comparison service give you the greatest chance of finding the best online car insurance premium.

Haggle4me offers online shoppers an alternative way of gaining the best online bargains. The concept of this website is very straightforward, you simply enter the best price you have found for the product you're looking for and visitors to the website search for a better price.

For example, if you found a pair of GHD hair straightners for ?100 you would enter this into the system. A visitor to the website may then use their online contacts to track down a pair costing just ?50. This would mean that you make a saving of ?50.

As you've saved at least ?20 you would then be expected to pay the haggler a fifth of the saving for their efforts, in this case ?10. They would then pay a quarter of their fee to the website, in this case ?2.50. So, everyone's a winner. Visit www.haggle4me.com.

Online shopping incentives However, shopping via the internet has its rewards and online shopping clubs, like Mrs Cashback, are now offering cashback for purchases made via their websites.

Favourite high street brands such as Boots, Dixons and Thompson holidays are participating in this online reward scheme. Mrs Cashback is also giving customers 3% back on anything bought from M&S and 2% on goods from Tesco. You can even receive money back when shopping online at more exclusive stores like John Lewis and Harrods.

Registration requires a fee of ?29.95 which you will gain back in no time if you're a regular online shopper. On registering, an online account will be set up into which any cashback you receive will be paid.

Cashback payments are issued monthly (30 days in arrears) once your account has accrued ?25.00 and any sums less than this are carried forward to the next month.

This suggests that carrying out everyday tasks such as buying your groceries or doing something as menial as seeking out a cheap car insurance rate online could have additional financial benefits.

With 75% of the British public already dabbling in the delights of online shopping it seems that it is no longer such an outlandish, futuristic phenomenon.

While internet shopping can induce frustration, time and money saving initiatives, such as online car insurance comparison services, contribute to making the online buying experience a satisfying one.

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