While some people love the hustle and bustle of a busy shopping centre, meeting friends for coffee and browsing the stores, there is a certain appeal to shopping online.
There are no crowds, you can do it any time of day or night, for most websites the checkout process is relatively easy, you don't need to travel anywhere and, if you want, you can do it in your pyjamas.
However, the experience can be hit and miss.
I have successfully made several purchases online, where the goods I received did what they were supposed to do.
But I have heard of some horror stories where people have received a product that only vaguely resembles the photo they clicked on – if they received it at all.
There are risks too, when buying clothes and shoes, where you don't get the benefit of trying on before you buy.
Stores will allow you to return products that don't fit, but that takes time and effort.
Also, patience is needed when making purchases on overseas websites as shipping times can be lengthy.
It comes as good news, then, that we will now have more options to buy online locally, with the launch of a new virtual mall.
We reported at the weekend that there has been a big shift in trends when it comes to our spending habits, and there has been a move to online shopping.
This comes as no surprise given that lockdown forced a lot businesses to "pivot" and rethink the ways they ply their wares to the public.
Tauranga's virtual mall is launching on November 1, with a Rotorua mall under development.
This is a fantastic way of supporting our local businesses.
While some small businesses do not have the budget to set up their own websites, a virtual mall is a great way to get products online and in front of consumers.
If you're a small business owner who doesn't already have an online presence – I would encourage you to look into this – there are people who prefer to shop online and you could be missing out on their custom.
While I don't believe there is a need to ditch physical storefronts entirely, those businesses that have an online presence can enjoy the benefits from having their feet in both worlds.
Ultimately though, whether you prefer shopping online, or going to the shops, it's important we support our business community and buy locally.