Holiday shopping insight from the experts

November 28, 2018
Alisson Clark
UF/IFAS, Warrington College of Business, Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering

Maybe you haven’t darkened the door of a shopping mall since high school and you’re wondering how they’re still around. Or you’re curious if you can save a few bucks by getting your brother a knock-off electronic gadget instead of a known brand. Read on as University of Florida experts shed light on all of your holiday shopping mysteries.

Are no-name products just as good as the name brand?

Store brands are less expensive than nationally advertised products, but will anyone mind if you cook up a holiday feast of no-name items or gift a knock-off TV? UF Warrington College of Business expert Woochel Shin says some store brands are actually better than the big names…but even he has some brand loyalty. Full story

Do online product recommendations actually help?

You know the suggested items that pop up when you go to buy something online? Retailers say they generate a huge amount of their sales, but UF Warrington researcher Anuj Kumar wasn’t so sure. See what he discovered when he partnered with a major department store’s website to see what changed when recommendations weren’t offered. Full story

How is the mall still a thing?

It might seem like brick-and-mortar retail stores are fading into obscurity, but don’t expect them to go away completely. What we’re seeing is an overdue adjustment to the realities — and limitations — of online shopping, Kumar says. He offers five different possibilities for the future of shopping. Full story

What if I am the employee who deals with all these holiday shoppers?

Have you tried “social mindfulness?” Warrington researchers Mo Wang, Klodiana Lanaj and Yifan Song found that when customer service workers spent a few minutes thinking about things from a customer’s perspective, they experienced less mistreatment from customers. When they did have negative interactions, the staffers who practiced social mindfulness didn’t dwell on it as much. Full story

What’s the safest way to pay?

Cybersecurity researcher Patrick Traynor of UF’s Wertheim College of Engineering never uses his debit card right before a holiday. Why? Because the fraud protection folks might be off enjoying the holiday, too, which could slow detection of fraudulent activity. A credit card or alternate payment such as ApplePay offers more protection, Traynor says. For tips on shopping safely online, check out this post from UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

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