On­line shop­ping: top tips, great sites

Every­thing’s go­ing dig­i­tal, so why should shop­ping be any dif­fer­ent? Here’s what you need to know to get the best out of your e-com­merce ex­pe­ri­ence

YOU (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - BY KHATIJA NXEDLANA

THE year has been hurtling by and there’s less than two months to the start of the hol­i­day sea­son. Which means Christ­mas, gifts, shop­ping, shop­ping and more shop­ping.

It’s enough to send you into a flat panic, isn’t it? But there’s a way to avoid the mad­ness of the malls and the ten­dency to spend more than you need to.

It’s called on­line shop­ping, of course – and it’s a way of do­ing all your festive sea­son buy­ing from the com­fort of your couch or desk.

The cy­ber shop­ping phe­nom­e­non is in­creas­ing in this coun­try, says Vin­cent Hoog­duijn, CEO of the e-com­merce divi­sion at Me­dia24. On­line re­tail grew by 25% in 2016, most of it thanks to “pure play­ers” such as on­line stores Spree and Takealot.com.

“A pure player means the only dis­tri­bu­tion chan­nel is on­line,” Vin­cent ex­plains, “whereas a multi-re­tailer like Woolworths is a hy­brid be­tween on­line and off­line.”

One of the best things about on­line shop­ping is the abil­ity to find great bar­gains.

Here’s how to go about it, along with a list of SA’s best on­line shops and tips on how to keep safe and se­cure.

HOW DO I FIND A BAR­GAIN? SIGN UP FOR IT

No one likes a clut­tered in­box, but if it’s bar­gains you’re af­ter, you should sign up for re­tail­ers’ email news­let­ters.

Fil­ter them in your in­box to a “shop­ping” folder to pre­vent your in­box be­com­ing too clut­tered, but don’t for­get to check them reg­u­larly.

Re­tail­ers ad­ver­tise bar­gains in their news­let­ters and sign­ing up is a great way to en­sure you don’t miss those spe­cial deals.

AC­CEPT APPS

If a re­tailer has an app that of­fers on­line shop­ping, down­load it and ac­cept the push no­ti­fi­ca­tions – these are usu­ally the first heads-up that a sale has started or that dis­count vouch­ers are avail­able.

EARLY-BIRD DEALS

Some re­tail­ers, such as Woolworths, make sale goods avail­able on­line be­fore sales start in stores, while oth­ers reg­u­larly have on­line-only sales as well as dis­counts not of­fered in their phys­i­cal stores.

DAILY DEALS

Shops like Takealot.com and Loot.co.za of­fer daily spe­cials where goods are heav­ily dis­counted – up to 50% off or more – for one day only. On­line auc­tion site Bi­dor­buy.co.za hosts R1 auc­tions and other spe­cials on Crazy Wed­nes­day, Snap Fri­day and on week­ends.

MAKE A WISH

Make use of the wish list op­tion on your ac­count. If you see some­thing you like but you’re not in a rush to buy it, put it on your wish list – you’ll get an email no­ti­fy­ing you if it’s on sale or if the price drops.

BE PA­TIENT

When an on­line store has a big sale – at the start of a sea­son, for in­stance – it’s worth wait­ing a day or two if you don’t see any­thing you des­per­ately have to have right there and then.

Stores of­ten dras­ti­cally drop the prices on sale items to move stock be­fore the sale ends.

SHOP AROUND

While on­line sell­ers are of­ten cheaper than phys­i­cal shops it’s a good idea to com­pare prices be­tween on­line shops.

Web­sites such as Pricecheck.co.za do this for you – go to the web­site, type the prod­uct’s name in the search box and a list of sell­ers and prices will pop up.

BLACK FRI­DAY

Look out for big deals lead­ing up to and on Black Fri­day on 24 Novem­ber, a tra­di­tional day of sales fol­low­ing the Thanks­giv­ing hol­i­day in the US which has spread around the globe.

Cy­ber Mon­day on 27 Novem­ber is also a big bar­gain day. This is usu­ally the time of year when the best bar­gains can be found.

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