“One in five Canadians claim they’d rather clean the house than visit a mall the week before Christmas.” Says a recent survey conducted by American Express Canada. (We’d rather step on a thumbtack!) But it’s not just the hectic crowds that are changing consumer patterns. Wanting to really understand current spending habits in the online world, we had Amex Canada connect us with a woman who truly understands market growth in Canada, when it comes to shopping on the World Wide Web: Joanna Track, founder of dealuxe.ca.

Joanna gives us her tips and tricks to navigating holiday shopping online, and it starts with making your list on the Amex Hot 100 Wishlist. Friends, hitting the mall during the holiday rush is a thing of the past!

How has online shopping in Canada changed in the last five years?

I think we’ve made huge leaps and bounds in the past five years, and even in the past twelve months. Canada has come a little late to the party, but in the past twelve months we’ve seen a ramp up. Canadians are more aware of their online options, a lot of Canadian retailers are going online. Well.ca, myself, Beyond The Rack…somebody had to make the move and now people are. There’s momentum; it’s exciting.

In your opinion, why is shopping online for the holidays a more favourable option?

I’m a huge advocate of online shopping and not just because what I do for a living but, as a consumer, I think that we’re all really busy. We don’t have time to go trolling through the malls with crowds. As a busy mom, it (shopping online) gives me the ability to do it on my own time. A lot of my shopping gets done at 10 and 11 o’clock at night! Also, the ability to price compare is a real advantage in the online world. You can pull up a lot of information on a lot of different products and click around. 
All of a sudden, you have a much broader scope of choices that you might not be able to get within walking or driving distance from your home. Really, there are a lot of advantages with utilizing the online world to tackle your holiday list.

Dealuxe.ca has some lovely items (which we want!) on the Amex Hot 100 Wishlist; tell us why using this Facebook App is advantageous for holiday gifting?

One of the things that overwhelms people, as both givers and receivers, is not knowing what to get someone and not necessarily being satisfied with what you get. A lot of people can be happier by sharing information and that’s really what the Amex Hot 100 Wishlist is: a tool for sharing. There’s a broad range, so there’s something for everyone, whether from our site, Sony or Toys R Us. It’s a fun and easy way to avoid gift disappointment and re-gifting. (We’ve all been there, it ain’t pretty.)

What trends are you noticing for holiday fashion this year?

Leopard and different animal prints. Some people are really bold with this trend and others more conservative. On Dealuxe, you can find this in everything from a pair of shoes, for a more bold statement, to scarves, small clutches or handbags, so you can include it in your look without going overboard.

Lace. We have some amazing lace tops and dresses!

Leather. Not just leather but leather looks, waxed jeans – they look leathery but they are actually jeans, so they are comfy.
What is your advice to those who are a little bit shy to embrace the online shopping world? 

Try it once and I promise you’ll be obsessed! That’s what has happened with so many people we have encountered.

People say they enjoy the shopping process (going to stores & malls) and in theory they do; in theory I do, but as time-strapped and busy as I am, with too much on my list – the online world allows you to be able to do your shopping on your own time. Also, you can read so much more information and understand the product so much more – even if you might not be touching the product, you end up having so much more information about it than you would walking by on a sales floor rack. I encourage people to give it a try.

What about sizing? Isn’t it hard to determine if something will actually fit without trying it on?

Where we see most people start their relationship with us is in accessories; handbags, scarf, gloves, hat, stuff that you don’t need to try on. Secondly, we have bent over backwards to make sure this is a positive service experience, so if you buy something and it doesn’t fit, send it back at no cost and we will send it back in a different size. Or try something else!

If you still haven’t started your holiday shopping, head over to the Amex Hot 100 Wishlist on Facebook to get some ideas. With 100 items, there is a lot to consider! Make a list, share it and then, as Joanna says, try shopping online. Not to brag or anything, but we are – get ready for it – done our shopping! With several Canadian companies promising just 2-3 days in shipping time, most of our presents are already sitting in the living room! Now we just need a tree.