The Ultimate Guide to Online Shopping - Tips, Tricks, and Resources for Safe & Successful Online Purchases in South Africa

The Ultimate Guide to Online Shopping - Tips, Tricks, and Resources for Safe & Successful Online Purchases in South Africa

Shopping online is a great way to find the perfect clothes, products and souvenirs. And while it's relatively easy to buy something from an overseas retailer and have it delivered to your door, buying anything in South Africa can be tricky. However, this guide is here to help you through the process with tips on how to avoid scams, how to shop safely, and everything else you need to know about shopping online!

Buying things on the internet isn't always safe or simple. But when you take precautions and prepare yourself as much as possible you'll be able to shop with ease. The following resources will help teach you what you need to know before shopping online in South Africa.

Shopping online has many advantages when compared to traditional shopping.

  • Online shopping can be done from the comfort of your own home, at any time of day, and with minimal effort.
  • You can find all sorts of products on the internet and, most importantly, you'll have all the information that you need to make an informed decision before making a purchase.

How to Shop Safely

Before we go into detail about how to shop safely, it's important to mention that the best way to stay safe is by avoiding sites you're not sure about. Sites like Ebay, Gumtree, and any other site where you have to buy something over the internet are risky because they don't allow you to see the product or person you're buying from.
  • When you do decide to shop online in South Africa, there are things you can do to make sure your purchase is safe. First of all, be wary of any personal information requests for anything more than your name and email address. If a company insists on knowing your address or social security number before purchasing an item, find a different site!
  • Next, only use well-known websites such as Fishpond or South Steeze or Takealot - sites that are usually recommended by friends or family members. Most importantly, always check prices with other retailers before making a purchase! 
  • The first thing you'll want to do is learn a little more about the company you're buying from. If they don't list the address of their business, find out where they are located and if you can contact them through social media or email.
  • Look at reviews of the products they sell, read customer feedback and take note of what people are saying. It's important that you know who you're buying from and get some background on them before making any purchases.

Trust Your Gut

When shopping online, it is important to check the legitimacy of the website and the reviews of the business. If you're not sure how reputable a company is or if you feel like something may be up with their reviews, trust your gut. That's usually a sign that something isn't right.
  • You should also do some research into who's hosting the site before making a purchase. Depending on what country or region they are in, they may have different laws and regulations on what they can sell to customers in other countries.

Prepare for the Worst-Case Scenario

Online shopping is an exciting experience, but it's important to prepare for the worst-case scenario. Scammers prey on unsuspecting shoppers and can take advantage of your convenience. There are several ways you can prevent this from happening: 
  • To start, avoid giving out your personal information unless you're sure of the site you're ordering from. It might be easiest to just type in "PayPal" or "Shopify" when comparing UK or US sites to ensure that the site is legitimate.
  • Secondly, never give out your credit card numbers over email. This should be a no-brainer, but there's always someone who falls for it - don't let it be you! Also, make sure that you're not ordering anything that is prohibited in South Africa by checking with customs beforehand.

Shipping, Customs and Duty Fees

When buying from a foreign retailer, you might have to pay for shipping, customs and duty fees. If you're not sure what these terms mean or how they work, this article is a perfect place to start.
  • In order to ship your goods from their country of origin to South Africa, the seller might charge you for delivery. This fee will be added to the cost of your purchase before it's converted into your local currency and processed through PayPal's system. Customs and duty fees are the additional costs associated with importing goods into a country. These vary depending on the country being imported into and can often be quite costly. Check with your local customs office for more information on what may apply in your situation.
  • When you buy something from an overseas retailer, make sure that they're using a reputable courier service so that they can ship things safely and securely with no problems!


Online shopping is a great way to find the best prices and deals while avoiding the hassle of finding parking or waiting in long lines. But before you click "buy," please take a look at the tips, tricks, and resources below to make sure you have a safe and successful online shopping experience.
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