Do you dread Christmas shopping? The queues, the chaos, being trampled by fellow shoppers and bashed by trolley’s? Why not do your Christmas shopping a little differently this year, from the comfort of your own home or, as shown by our stats, office.
The online shopping landscape has exploded over the last couple of years and nowadays there is enough variety online to ensure that you’ll find something for everyone. But where to start?
We have compiled a list of things to remember while shopping online over the festive season to make sure your online shopping experience is enjoyable and ensure your gifts arrive on time (and not in January).
Start shopping early.
If you are buying online you need to ensure there is enough time for payment to clear, the order to be packed and shipped to you (or your loved ones). If you are wrapping them yourself you will need to allow time for that as well.
Check the FAQs.
The FAQs give you all the information you need on exchanges and returns, shipping and delivery, cancellations, general queries, payments and more. Some online stores take longer than others to deliver items, depending on a number of factors including if the items are in a warehouse or ordered from a supplier. Always check the delivery and shipping FAQs to see how long an item will take to get to you before you purchase.
Local is Lekker.
Use local online stores for your Christmas shopping. Shopping on local online stores means the delivery time and order turnaround will usually be quicker than overseas, ensuring you receive your gifts before Christmas. Using local stores also helps avoid costly import duties and taxes that overseas items often, if not always, incur.
Just like with normal brick-and-mortar stores there are a lot of online stores and some of them are selling the same items (but with different price tags) so look around before purchasing. There is a greater variety of goods online, so don’t just purchase the first thing you see either.
Use reputable online stores.
Reputable online stores are becoming easier to recognise and identify, but if you are unsure read reviews and make you have a way to contact the merchant if something goes wrong with your order. Check their social media sites for customer reviews and whether they are responding to queries before you purchase. That way if something does goes wrong you have a fail-safe to either get your money back or your order delivered.
Some online stores offer free delivery no matter your cart size while other stores have a minimum order quantity in order to qualify for free shipping. Merchants usually have a few methods of shipping which can range from free (or minimal cost) for standard 3 – 5 day delivery, to next day or even same day at a premium. If you are strapped for time you could always get the items delivered directly to your friends and family (provided you know their exact delivery address and there will be someone to sign for the parcel)
Shop the SALE!
Just like everywhere else online stores have sales at certain times of the year (and sometimes all year round) most of the bigger online stores offer specials over Black Friday which is just after Thanksgiving (usually November 28 – 30) as well as Cyber Monday (1 December) so keep a lookout for these. Places like Takealot, Superbalist and Daddy’s Deals also offer limited time or Daily Deals.