For most of us, the prospect of shopping during the Festive Season, especially around Christmas, comes with mixed feelings of excitement but also anxiety. Leveraging experience and customer insights, we’ve compiled a list of 7 winning strategies to help you get the most out of your shopping experience by maximising the excitement and minimising anxieties.
When one thinks about shopping during the Christmas period, a lot comes to mind. Some of it may be positive, but most often than not, there are concerns around finding time, enduring long queues, scouting for the best deals and the inevitable prospect that the desired products may be out of stock.
The good news is that there are methods that you can use to overcome these hurdles and make your trip to town a worthwhile experience. Building on our previous article on improving your Shopping Experience, here’s our list of 7 winning tips:
Tip #1 – Make a list and budget accordingly.
The value of drawing up a comprehensive list of your needs and wants is the foundation for any effective shopper. Thankfully, your smartphone can replace pen and paper, helping you make interactive lists that are always a few clicks away. Suppose your smartphone doesn’t have a dedicated application for notes (or you don’t like the default option), check out your app store for a range of free and paid options.
The other key component of your shopping list is budget considerations. With January around the corner, along with non-negotiable expenses like school fees, Christmas shopping should be well planned.
Tip #2 – Stay connected to your favourite stores.
Once again, your smartphone can act as your assistant in the quest to conquer Christmas shopping! Use it to stay in touch with your favourite retailers through online platforms (social media & website) and have direct access to a whole host of information, from operating hours to the hottest specials and everything else in between.
Tip #3 – Beat the rush – timing is everything.
When it comes to timing your Christmas shopping, the earlier, the better. An early-bird approach is likely to decrease the chances of long queues and unavailability of products. You will also have the time to look for the best deals on gifts and revise your list if necessary.
If possible, make arrangements to shop in the morning. Shoppers have consistently acknowledged this benefit, mainly that your mind and body generally function at optimal levels in the morning.
Visiting a Shopping Centre/Mall
Tip #4 – Safety first.
Your safety, along with your family, personal belongings and cash should be a top priority whenever you are out shopping. Extra caution should be exercised during the Festive Season – looking out for pickpockets and scammers who are known to target unsuspecting shoppers. Practical examples of essential safety measures are:
- Avoid parking in secluded areas and be aware of your surroundings as you enter or depart your vehicle. Car jamming has been on the rise and can be prevented by double-checking that doors are locked before walking off.
- Identify the location of the mall’s security office or police post and save phone numbers in your contact list. If you are shopping with children, ensure that they know the mall’s security personnel’s uniform and have your phone number in case of an emergency.
- Protect your handbag or wallet by keeping it as close as possible and ensure that bags and pockets are securely zipped/buttoned up. Use your phone sparingly to avoid distractions that can cause you to let your guard down.
- Where possible, minimise carrying large amounts of cash and use a debit/credit card or mobile money services. Stay alert during withdrawals at the ATM and don’t forget to hide your PIN code with your free hand when punching it in.
Tip #5 – In-store catalogues & specials.
Connecting virtually with stores is only half the job. When you are at your favourite store, make sure you keep your eyes open for in-store promotions and sales to get more value for your money. Take advantage of price catalogues that some retailers place at the entrance and make sure to take a copy home. It will be helpful when you draw up your next shopping list!
Tip #6 – Take the lead in protecting yourself and others from COVID-19.
Although shopping can often be a fast-paced and frantic activity, it’s essential to continue upholding COVID-19 regulations when you are out in public. Keep your face mask on (covering your mouth and nose – unless you are eating or drinking), use hand sanitiser when entering stores (and carry some for personal use as you move around), maintain 1 to 2 metres of social distancing and if you develop flu-like symptoms, avoid public places and visit your nearest health facility.
Tip #7 – Stay one step ahead when shopping online.
We now live in a world where you can buy products and have them delivered to your doorstep – thanks to online shopping or e-commerce. Unfortunately, an increasing number of people and companies are looking to deceive and steal your hard-earned cash. Here’s how you can avoid the pitfalls:
- Get in touch with your bank for the latest guidance on online shopping safety measures, along with the features and limitations of your debit/credit card. Make it a point to regularly check your transaction history and bank statements to ensure that no unauthorised payments were made.
- Check that you are shopping from a trusted online site or boutique. Carefully read the customer reviews and payment/delivery terms and conditions. If you have a friend or relative that has successfully bought from the store, ask for their help on the first transaction.
- Always have security top of mind. Install reputable anti-virus/malware software on your phone or computer, scrutinise links received on social media or email, avoid shopping while connected to public Wi-Fi/hotspot and create strong passwords for your accounts.
- Knowledge is power – share lessons, insights and safety measures with those around you, including children who are connected online. Finally, remember the golden rule before providing your personal or banking information online: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
We hope these 7 tips will transform the way you shop and most importantly, keep you safe on and offline. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter for more similar content and specials from over 200 stores at our Shopping Centre.
We wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year – from all of us at the Swazi Plaza. 🎄❤