Archive for December, 1998

Web Watch – Online Christmas Shopping

December 1, 1998

When we think of Christmas in Hawaii, we think of chillier breezes, the beautiful lights in downtown and our dearest loved ones. Ice skating, building snowmen and roasting chestnuts on an open fire doesn’t really hit home for us during this special time of year.

The same can be said about shopping in Hawaii. Although we can relate to crowded shopping malls with crazed housewives diving for the best bargains, we cannot fathom what it would be like to buy Christmas presents such as snow tires, snow gloves and beanies (no, not beanie babies, just beanies!).

One common bond that we all can share during this festive December however, is how we carry on our shopping duties. Whether snowing, raining or mostly sunny after brief morning showers, we can all enjoy the convenience of pointing, clicking and completing all of our shopping duties without ever leaving our home. Yes, more and more of us have found that doing our Christmas shopping online saves us both time and money.

An estimated $2.3 billion will be spent online by Americans this year and a total of approximately 17 million people will buy at least one product online, a far cry from the scarce, online activities of yesteryear. Part of the reason for this boom in transactional activities online as of late can be accredited to an increased trust that consumers have put upon purchasing goods online. Entering one’s credit card number through a web site seems to not be as spooky as it once used to be.

There is an abundance of national web sites that we can visit to help cut our Christmas present shopping list down to size, but why not support the local economy this season by buying products from Hawaii’s very own wealth of web sites? Let’s go shopping!

If it’s music you want, then it’s music you’ll get at, the self-proclaimed Hawaiian Music Island. Here, you can peruse their rather impressive collection of local, Hawaiian audio CDs, videos and even books. Real Audio streaming technology is implemented to provide sample audio clips of a number of songs, and there is also a concert calendar tracking local artists and concerts around the country. Although the order form is not encrypted and secured using the SSL protocol, ordering a product of your choice is handled and processed in a simple, straight-forward process.

Another place to discover Hawaiian music products to tickle your fancy is at Island Gifts Direct ( In addition to selling Hawaiian music and related items (e.g. books, videos, etc.), IGD also offers an abundant assortment of local food products and stuff for the keiki. Although the ordering process is not as automated as shopping cart-type applications seen at other commerce web sites, IGD uses a simple, top-down process and also utilizes the encrypted/secure SSL protocol for form processing.

Both Aloha Cybermall ( and MarketPlace Hawaii ( use the “virtual mall” concept, providing a front-end gateway into their collection of online “shops”. Aloha Cybermall has a number of “tenants” occupying the mall, including shops carrying Hawaiian wear, food & beverage items, and health & beauty goods, among others. MarketPlace Hawaii offers orderable product lines from such names as Hilo Hatties, Outrigger Hotels & Resorts, and Liberty House. Both sites offer shops with shopping cart capabilities, as well as security on selected sites.

What defines Hawaii’s snacking craze better than crack-seed? Wholesale Unlimited, Inc. (, one of Hawaii’s most popular snack specialty stores is finally online. Now, searching, selecting, and purchasing to your tummy’s content is easier than ever.

Shopping for the techie this Christmas? How about paying the ByteWare Connection’s ( web site a visit. Although there are no online shopping capabilities at present, ByteWare’s web site is constantly updated with their latest specials.

[See also for the TechHead: Motorola (, CompUSA ( and CNET (].

This Web Watch cannot be complete without mentioning the State’s shopping centers who are online. Most of these do not have online ordering capabilities, but you will be able to find the mall’s merchant listings and directions on how to get there.

Ala Moana Shopping Center

Aloha Tower Shopping Center

Hawaii Kai Towne Center

Kaahumanu Shopping Center

Keauhou Shopping Center

Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center

Vitoria Ward Centers

Windward Mall

What the hey! Let’s also list some of the more popular web sites that are not from Hawaii. Follow these links to complete your round of online shopping. Happy trails!