The Gamification Of Online Shopping Among Gen Y
- August 23rd, 2012
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Today’s post comes from Sam, a Millennial contributor who discusses how shopping online, compared to in a physical store, makes the process quicker, cheaper, and often more fun by adding a gaming element to the daunting task of browsing and purchasing BTS items.
The Gamification Of Online Shopping Among Gen Y
When the month of August began, the first thing that came to mind was back-to-school shopping. My first stop was Chegg for textbooks. Afterwards, I started looking for new clothes and discounts on Gilt, J.Crew, and the Loft. I then went to Etsy to find a new poster for my room. My final stop was Amazon where I browsed for a new cellphone case. Not once did I think about going to an actual store to buy these items. Rather, I sat at my computer for less than an hour and I was able to find everything I needed. Why did I click online rather than go to stores? Because online shopping is often cheaper, and definitely easier, and quicker. Online shopping is my preferred shopping method — as it is for many of my peers.
E-commerce sites and online shopping offer a simple experience for the always-busy student and digital savvy Millennial. Students who are on a tight budget are able to find everything they need online at a low cost. Granted, they may need to pay shipping and handling, but when it comes down to comparing prices, it's still often cheaper to purchase something online. Plus, many companies provide free shipping or student discounts knowing this will entice people my age. And if they don’t, students have become skilled at finding discounts by searching different sites, using apps, finding coupon codes, and utilizing sale sites and flash deals. Further, gamification is becoming increasingly important to Millennials, and I think this is reflected in my generation's approach to online shopping — it’s a game to find the best items at the lowest prices.
Sites like Groupon, LivingSocial, and Gilt allow me to browse around for discounts and deals on almost anything from restaurants and concerts to festivals and shopping. I like these sites in particular because they let you customize your searches by location, which is helpful, especially if you don’t go to school near home. I always visit these sites when I am looking for things to do on a long weekend or for a vacation because you can discover local activities and events that you may not find on tourist sites. In addition, Groupon and Gilt offer discounts of more than 50% off top designer brands, which is a great steal compared to prices in stores. It gives me the chance to finally have those brand pieces that I crave, and provides me with satisfaction knowing that I paid less than the original price. These online sites provide an outlet for cheaper but high quality items and events, allowing people to really make the most of their money and time.
Online shopping has been around throughout my lifetime and that of my peers, but it’s become increasingly popular as people my age seek more options that are simple and accessible. With sites like Amazon, anything is available. Millennials have come to rely on these online destinations for having everything; they serve as a convenience amidst our busy lives. Even sites like eBay are skewing younger, as a result of young people being deeply entrenched in online shopping, and desiring to “score” the best deals. They can read reviews and get suggestions all within a matter of minutes, which simplifies the shopping experience and adds a Millennial twist of sharing and receiving feedback from strangers. Before making any online purchase, I typically read the feedback and comments of previous consumers because I want to make sure the product I'm interested in is as high quality as the picture or the description. Reviews are the best way to determine if the product is really going to be up to your standards and because they aren’t written by the companies but by “normal” people who already bought the product and used it, they are going to be honest.
Not only does online shopping enable one to save money, but it also allows people to find unique pieces not always sold in stores. I like sites like Etsy where the products are made by crafters, rather than companies, so you can get an original item. Etsy allows “DIY” people to sell their items on the site, basically allowing them to run their own e-commerce site. The minute I discovered Etsy, I was hooked by the number of categories they have and all the pieces they sell, from purses to furniture.
Sites like Etsy also encourage a “DIY” attitude as it welcomes crafters to sell their items and gain fans to support them. When I go to Etsy, I usually have a particular item I am interested in purchasing, but after an hour, I am still on the site browsing various categories and products. Etsy provides inspiration and is entertaining for anyone who is interested in crafts, arts, or clothing. Sure thrift stores and independent shops sell one-of-a-kind items, but searching for personal pieces online lets one find products from all over the world that they wouldn’t be able to access ordinarily. In a way, online shopping expands our cultural scope, where the shopping opportunities are endless, not limited to one’s town or city.
Finally, the biggest advantage of online shopping is the time one saves. Rather than “wasting” time driving to the store, shopping, standing in line at checkout, and then driving back, shoppers can just log on to the website, browse the items and then pay for the product they choose — all in a matter of minutes. Nothing has been out of reach for my generation from information to connectivity with friends, so we look for this easy access when shopping for clothes, schools supplies, and more. We want it all at our fingertips and brands are adapting to our generation to enable this.
Sam is a rising senior at Rutgers University, completing a dual major in Communication and Sociology, in hopes to pursue a career in advertising or marketing. Sam believes the best way to learn is through personal experience, which explains why she is actively involved on and off campus. When the day gets too crazy, she likes to listen to music and go on long runs. Sam’s main goals are to make one person smile a day and live the same type of life her grandmother did, that is putting others before yourself each day.