Why you should buy all your Xmas presents from online vendors (and skip the malls)
I used to like Raya, and then I grew up so the money stopped coming 🙁
Now, out of all the holidays in Malaysia, I probably enjoy Christmas the most. Gift-giving isn’t really a Malay thing so when I first started exchanging presents I get the most warm and fuzzy feeling inside. Its like, “You picked this up with me in mind? Thank you, that’s so sweet of you!!”
Chances are, you will celebrate Christmas as well – with your family, friends, and/or colleagues. (Fear not Muslims, this is not haram, I checked – ‘..if the stated practice or behaviour is done on the basis of societal or social relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims for the purpose of harmony is permitted in Islam’ Source)
Are you expected to get someone a Christmas present, or be part of a Secret Santa group? Are you are looking around for the perfect Christmas present? Were you planning to grab those presents in a mall? If so, this article is for you 🙂
Reason 1: If you have to spend money, might as well help out individual online vendors rather than big corporations
Notice that I said individual online vendors. Not online shops. I don’t mean Lazada or Zalora, I mean Instashops and blogshops.
Think about it – there’s a reason why online vendors have to conduct their business online: they can’t afford a physical shop, or don’t get enough foot traffic because all they can afford is a shitty location, or have to work from home (stay at home parents, students, retirees etc).
Big corporations have the system tilted to their favor. Branding and marketing budget? Check. Fancy advertising? Check. Prime locations in shopping malls? Check. I also heard from an insider that big-name retailers can sometimes get their rentals waived for a couple of years. This is especially true for new shopping malls, a tactic used to draw in the crowds. Doesn’t it bug you that already-successful corporations get their prime locations rent-free?
In the spirit of Christmas, give to those who need it more. Individual online vendors will be super grateful for the added income.You are directly sponsoring their children to go to school, or affording them a better quality meal which improves their health.
Reason 2: Due to online rivals and lack of overhead, prices are likely to be competitive anyway
There’s no shortage of vendors. If you go on Instagram, you can search for anything via the #sayajual hashtag. Want to buy clothes? #sayajualbaju. Want to buy a watch? #sayajualjam. Want to buy bags? #sayajualbeg. Don’t know what to buy? Window shop by using #sayajualonline.
For other online vendors, there’s always the trusty search function. I’m talking about the folks at Carousell, Mudah.my, Lelong, and Low Yat forum, where you can compare the prices.
Reason 3: You can save money on logistics
“But I have to pay for shipping charges!” you say.
Yes, you probably do. Please don’t ask for free postage unless offered – someone still have to pay for those and its forcing online vendors to bear the cost is a douchebag thing to do.
You’re still spending less, though. Here’s what you have to pay when shopping from online vendors:
Here’s what you have to pay for a day in the mall:
- Parking+Toll*, or
- Food & Drinks (who are you kidding of course you will be tempted to try the special Starbucks Christmas drink)
- Impulse buys that have nothing to do with your original intended purchase
*recently increased, further ouch!
Reason 4: Mindful shopping
I love this reason the most, because I’m actively trying to be more conscious of the effects of advertising in the way that I spend. Like many people, I don’t enjoy feeling that I was brainwashed into buying something. Advertisers know this, and they rarely go, ‘buy this!’ anymore, they use other, more subtle tactics to sell their products:
- Using brand ambassadors
- Using social media influencers who do not tell the audience that they were paid to promote a branded product (this is super unethical, this girl who famously quit her successful social media life exposed that she was paid to use/wear some brands. YouTubers do this a lot as well)
- Using scents (grocery stores ventilate air from their bakeries so people can smell freshly baked goodies – induces hunger and encourages spending)
- Fake markdowns – why do you think bedding is on ‘sale’ all year round?
- Even malls are designed to encourage spending.Things are never where they are by chance, they are the result of careful positioning and planning. Escalators located at the far end or even inside a store. Toilets far away from entrances, forcing you walk past many, many shops. Slow music to encourage shoppers to walk slower. Manipulative, isn’t it? Read more here.
Via online shopping, you get to tune out some of the effects. I personally look for shops with terrible pictures, which (to me) is a good indication of a seller who isn’t conscious about advertising AND cannot afford to get a professional to do it for them. I also look for local crafters, and sellers who do things a bit differently (I once saw a brilliant baby clothes shop which did not have a single blue-is-for-boys-pink-is-for-girls stereotype!)
Consumer psychology is something that big corporations invest on. I don’t think you can be completely free of it, to be honest. But we can try.
There you have it – 4 valid reasons why you should get all your Christmas presents from online vendors this year and skip the malls. Let’s be clear – I’m not hating on malls. They are great for window shopping, but let’s do the actual shopping online 🙂
The idea for this post was conceived after the author thought about the actual people struggling in this current economic climate. And then she got angry thinking of TPPA where big, fancy lawyers representing big, fancy corporations sit down together in their fancy ass suits with representatives of the government and they go like, lets further enhance our business in this region, and oh lets add a clause that protects our right to profit, if not we will sue you for millions and billions of dollars (of our tax money).