Seasonal shopping survival guide

Written by

Luke Hilton

Luke Hilton is a Warrington-based email content writer and designer in the financial services industry. He enjoys mixing analytics and creativity and can usually be found with his head buried in stats, piecing together the patterns that make good content. In his spare time, the drive to figure things out continues with what can only be described as a love-hate relationship with DIY. With a keen love of the outdoors, Luke is usually up a mountain somewhere or in his garden growing his own oasis.

Thursday 2nd November 2023

‘Tis the season to go shopping! First up we have Black Friday, swiftly followed by Cyber Monday and then – of course – Christmas.

Though high street footfall is still below pre-pandemic levels, there’s a lot to be said for enjoying a physical shopping experience! Whether you like exploring a new city or prefer a quick dash to your local shopping centre, make sure you enter retail’s “golden quarter” armed with these top tips.

1. Create an itinerary for the day

A shopping day undoubtedly takes up more time than settling down on your sofa and opening up a few tabs. So maximise your time and make the most of the day.

Trying to squeeze in visits to multiple shopping centres spread far apart is going to be stressful. Instead, choose one city, shopping centre, department store or designer outlet that offers up all your favourite retail shops within a short distance.

Start off at your favourite shop or the one that’s most likely to stock what you’re looking for. That way, you can get your day off to a flying start by ticking off an item on your shopping list straightaway.

2. Make a list (and check it twice)

Write down a list of everything you’re looking for - you’ll thank yourself later! Even if it’s more of a general list of ideas, having it written down will help to guide you away from impulse purchases.

Try to follow the rule that if it’s not on the list, it’s not something you need. It’ll save you time (and money) once you start shopping.

It’s also a good idea to jot down a list of questions you’d like to ask an in-store team. You might want to see how heavy a piece of tech is, how fabric feels or what a product looks like in person. Heading to a physical shop gives you the opportunity to find out more before making a purchase.

3. Set a budget (and stick to it)

You’ll see this top tip popping up across many of our blogs – and that’s because it’s so important! Never head out on a shopping spree with no spending limit in mind. Decide how much you can afford and make sure you don’t spend a penny over your maximum. It’s all too easy to stick another item in your basket but resist temptation!

4. Check out independent shops

Smaller, independent shops might not always have an online presence. Don’t miss out on a great deal on a really unique item you simply couldn’t get elsewhere.

There are also plenty of intriguing finds to be discovered in vintage or pre-loved shops – which could be ideal if the person you’re buying for is a fan of bygone eras.

Make it part of your mission to pop in to at least a couple of local shops for extra gifting inspiration.

5. Enjoy shopping in person

One of the great things about traditional shopping is you can really get into the occasion.

Take a break and watch the world go by, whether you drop into a local coffee shop or treat yourself to a meal out. The advantage of online shopping is speed and convenience, but physical shopping allows you to enjoy an immersive experience.

Why not invite your friends or family to join you on your shopping mission (they’ll have to avert their eyes if you’re buying a present for them!) to make your trip much more of an event?

6. Stay up to date

Many retailers will share details of their upcoming sales and special discounts in advance with their newsletter subscribers or social media followers. Whether you’re shopping in store or choosing to click and collect, you can make sure you’re prepared for the best deals to go live.

7. Ask for a better price

A great advantage of shopping in store is dealing with salespeople face to face. If you spot a lower price elsewhere, show proof of the better deal and ask if the shop will meet the price. You could find yourself walking away with the very best deal out there just by asking.

You might also get a bargain by asking the salesperson to throw in a freebie. This works particularly well if you’re buying an item that suits an add-on, such as a free game with a console.

Follow us for more top shopping tips

Buying on a budget? Take a look at our Black Friday guide for hints to help you get the best deals. Why not follow us on Facebook to make sure you’re the first to hear about our latest blogs too?