If you’ve ever set out to buy something online, made it as far as the online check-out, and then abandoned your cart, you’re not alone! Perhaps it’s a pricey pair of sneakers from overseas or another big-ticket item you’re considering, and you suddenly have visions of spending all those randelas, only to never lay eyes on your purchase. Perhaps you fear being the victim of another failed online shopping spree. Or what if the tech you’re investing in turns out to be a dud and you’re not sure how you go about returning it?    

As it turns out, these fears are shared by many South Africans. According to PayPal and Ipsos’s third annual global report on cross-border trade, 72% of South Africans abandon their international online purchases at some point in the user journey. The reasons they cite for doing so are concerns about security, prices, customs, and delivery times.

While there is some validity in these concerns, the reality is that your online purchase is likely to go a lot smoother than you imagine. Especially if you know the basics on how to shop online smartly and safely. When you’re browsing overseas sites and wanting to ship the latest tech, hottest international beauty brands, European fashion or designer furniture to South Africa, here are five tips to consider. 


  1. Prioritise safety and security

Top of mind when shopping online (or doing anything else online), should be your safety and security. Make sure that you are using a private, secure Wi-Fi connection and that any passwords you need to create or supply are strong enough that your account will not be hacked. If there is a “lock” symbol in your URL tab, it means that the site you’re on is protected with secure sockets layer (SSL) encryption – and that’s a good thing. Don’t proceed if that symbol is not there, and especially don’t supply any credit card or personal information. Also bear in mind that tech experts suggest using a virtual card as an extra security measure when you’re shopping on international sites. With a virtual card, the retailer can only access and store the information of the temporary card, thus protecting your actual card account information in the event of a data breach.

Shyft, a global money app powered by Standard Bank, offers free virtual cards which can be loaded with up to four currencies (GBP, EUR, USD and AUD). Using a Shyft virtual card not only adds an extra layer of security to your online transactions but can help you get more for your money by cutting down on the international transaction fees associated with most payment methods when shopping online in a foreign currency.


  1. Take the headache out of shipping 

We’ve all been there – and seen it in the FAQs…! How will it get here? And when will it get here? Before you “add to cart”, consider the services of a reputable courier service. Aramex Global Shopper is a great option because they specialise in delivering international orders (from 32 countries around the world), even if the site you’re shopping on doesn’t offer delivery to South Africa themselves. When you sign up with Aramex Global Shopper, you’re granted access to personalised addresses around the world, which can be used when making your purchase. Aramex then forwards your package to your location in South Africa.

What’s more, you can sign up for the Aramex Global Shopper basic plan and get 50% off. Plus, you’ll receive 10% off every transaction when using a Shyft card. Hello, hassle-free online shopping, affordable rates and delivery in 5 -10 working days!


  1. Get the best forex rates

Since you’ll be paying for your international purchases in foreign currency, it’s a good idea to use a forex money app to ensure that you get the most bang for your bucks! Shyft, an app powered by Standard Bank, is one of the best out there. It allows you to keep tabs on the ever-changing markets with live exchange rate updates on the app, which means you can buy your desired forex at the best rates (and with no additional costs). You can then store your forex in your virtual wallet until your favourite international brand has its next big sale or drops its latest collection.


  1. Don’t forget about those hidden extra costs

When it comes to high value items such as tech, you could be in for one or two extra costs that you will need to factor in. For example, remember that SARS outlines that goods coming into the country for personal use must be declared and are subject to taxes. This simply ensures that taxes are paid in the same way they would be when you shop in-store locally. Other costs involve the courier service itself, and this will usually be determined by the weight of the product as listed on the courier’s website.


  1. Check the returns and exchanges policy

If there is any chance that you might be unhappy with the product, or might need to exchange it, it’s best to buy from online retailers with a good return policy in place. Keep in mind that sending products back to the company might be at your own expense though. If you’re using Aramex Global Shopper, for instance, you would return the product using their Express Service at a small additional fee. ( source – Standard Bank )


Never fear, Start My car is Near 😉

Make sure to safely shop some of this week’s top sellers.

I wish all that are celebrating , a very peaceful and blessed Christmas.


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