Shopping online is no longer just about convenience and missing the foot traffic in shopping malls during Christmas.
Buying online also saves you money and most have claimed that it is a pleasing experience. A survey by Mastercard in 2012 found that 91% of South Africans who shop online are “highly satisfied”, while a survey by Havas Worldwide found that almost 80% of respondents said that online shopping saves them money. Convenience (36%) and price (35%) were the reason behind shopping online.
If you think that you are one of the few in South Africa to shop using the internet then think again. Masatercard’s survey found that in 2012 South Africans spent a whopping R3.3 billion making purchases online.
“South Africans may have been apprehensive about shopping online when it first began gaining momentum, but things have changed and the number of people doing it is set to rise dramatically year by year,” says Budget Insurance spokesperson Martin Janse van Rensburg.
Here are five tips on how to save money while you are out shopping online:
1. Budget: It sounds silly to put together a budget and list when you are shopping online but you can easily get carried away. So draw up a budget and stick to it.
2. Consider buying groceries online through Pick n Pay or Woolworths: Before you ask, yes both charge delivery fees. Woolworths, for instance, charges between R50 and R95 depending on where you stay and what you have ordered.
However, the money you pay for delivery could easily be saved because shopping online allows you to watch the total money you spend. Having your groceries delivered also saves you on petrol and parking attendant costs. You can be kinder to the environment too by asking to have the groceries delivered in the crates, dropping the need for plastic bags.
3. Save money by comparing prices: Shopping apps like The Genie Web app and Price Check can help you source the best deals.
4. Rank items by price: Online shop Spree, for instance, not only delivers items for free but its website handily allows you to shop by price.
5. Look for websites that offer you discounts: Let’s face it, group buying websites don’t always offer deals that you like and there’s only so many fish pedicures that you can buy. However, it pays to sign up to emails from the ones that you like so that you can keep an eye out for specials that would interest you.
Shopping online safely
Some are hesitant to shop online because of fraudsters out there looking to fleece people out of their hard earned cash. While you should be concerned and vigilant there are things you can do to ensure that you are shopping off a legitimate and safe website:
1. Make sure that your ant-virus and anti-spyware is up to date before making online purchases.
2. Make sure that the website you are using is secure before you enter your payment details. “There should be a padlock symbol in the bottom right of the browser window and the payment pages address bar should begin with https://,” says van Rensburg.
3. If you are paying someone you don’t know use a secure payment site such as PayPal. Don’t transfer money directly to someone’s bank account before you have the goods.
4. Paying with a credit card provides additional protection. FNB Credit Card division have confirmed that if you make a purchase online and if the services haven’t been rendered or goods not delivered then they will rule in favour of the customer who purchased the items on their credit card and reverse the transaction.
5. It is also important to read the terms and conditions of any website carefully to avoid disappointment. You should particularly look at the rules that apply to delivery, return of items and what happens if the goods are faulty. In South Africa you are covered under the Consumer Protection Act when it comes to faulty goods and services however if you are purchasing items from abroad bear in mind that some countries may not have consumer friendly protection.