Cyber shopping gives options and convenience

Ashley Hunt

Online shopping

Online shopping is more popular than ever. With nearly everyone owning a smartphone, tablet or laptop, the ability to purchase a gift is constantly at our fingertips. There are a few online sites that are really popular and very user-friendly to consider when purchasing gifts for family and friends online.


EBay is a website that allows users to sell things online to other users. The seller will list the item on eBay — this item can be anything from cars to books, clothing items or antiques. The seller will then accept bids only or offer a “Buy It Now” option. The bid style allows users to bid on the item in auction-style online. The Buy It Now option allows the user to purchase the item immediately at a fixed price.

This site is a good place to purchase gently-used items or items that aren’t very expensive. It can be risky, so before buying, make sure to look at the ratings and comments on the user from whom you are buying. Users with good ratings will have comments from users who have purchased from them before.


Amazon is a Fortune 500 company and the global leader in e-commerce. Similarly to eBay, Amazon offers a wide variety of products such as sports equipment, jewelry and probably most common, books.

Amazon allows users to buy from retailers and individual sellers.

This site does not have a bidding option, but rather just purchasing goods at fixed prices. However, there is still the option to purchase used and gently-used items for cheaper prices than you would find at a normal retailer.


Pinterest is a website that is not known for online shopping. However, users can explore the site and find products they like, and then easily reproduce the products themselves. Pinterest is known for having a wide variety of do-it-yourself projects that one can easily copy for a homemade gift for little cost.


Etsy is an online site for the craft fanatic. Focused on selling handmade and vintage items, users can purchase a gift for their loved ones that is truly unique. Buyers can also purchase art and craft supplies, as well as art, photography, jewelry, beauty products, quilts and other random items.

For the most part, sellers on this site are individuals who hand-make items to sell online.

Etsy as a website gets inspiration from the tradition of open craft fairs. Sellers are given personal storefronts, and Etsy will list these goods for a small fee.


If you plan on relying on the internet for a good amount of your gift shopping, consider creating a PayPal account.

PayPal accounts allow users to enter in their information — credit cards, debit cards and so on. Similar to a “digital wallet,” PayPal is a secure place for users to keep all their methods of pay in one spot.

PayPal offers security for its users. Using the industry’s most secure data encryption technologies, you can be sure your information is private. Sellers will never be able to see your financial details, as it is kept privately by PayPal.

Millions of online stores accept PayPal payments. If you see the PayPal button when you check out, you know the site is PayPal friendly.

Creating an account is easy and free, so users have nothing to lose and everything to gain — especially security and convenience.