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Let’s go shopping!!


According to figures published only this week the way we shop appears to have definitely changed. John Lewis reported like for like sales being up but mentioned that online sales far outstripped in store sales. Part of the reason for this appears to have been the “Black Friday” event which came just before the so called “Cyber Monday” event.

There are of course advantages to online shopping, one of which appears to be that the goods being purchased are cheaper than in the high street shops. It appears that there are a growing number of comparison sites with reviews on products and it appears that the view of fellow purchasers rather than the seller are what matters and has more weight in the decision making process.

One of the disadvantages of online shopping is that one does not get to touch the item being purchased, such as smaller electrical items. Such items can be a danger if they are faulty and one of the advantages of being able to see the product in real time is being able to check that it has been manufactured in a safe manner. There are currently several worldwide standards being used but in the UK there are one or two that have been used for many years.

Goods displaying the Kitemark symbol should mean that the British Standards Institute [BSI] has independently tested it and has confirmed that the product conforms to the relevant British Standard.  The Kitemark, formerly known as the British Standard Mark, was created in 1903 and is supposed to be the symbol that gives consumers the assurance that the product they have bought conforms to the appropriate British Standard and should therefore be safe and reliable.

The reality is that thousands of people are injured through using faulty products purchased both online and in the high street shops. There have been many examples in the news in the last few months such as fake mobile phone chargers which can catch fire, bottles of vodka that didn’t just contain vodka, and counterfeit make-up that contained harmful ingredients.

Online shopping is clearly here to stay and will inevitably get bigger as companies look to reduce their overheads and the delivery service gets better. One should always bear in mind when shopping for the right gift at the right price there are a lot of counterfeit goods sold to unsuspecting consumers. When shopping online or in the high street, check out the reviews that are available all of the time on the internet, and check the consumer watchdog sites that offer a wealth of information.