Johannesburg - Bought anything online lately? Many of South Africa’s connected consumers may have purchased books and music online, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg of online shopping.
Arthur Goldstuck, the managing director of World Wide Worx, says surveys have shown that once people are experienced Internet users and go online regularly, “their propensity to shop online increases dramatically”.
The most popular purchases made online are those involving coupons or deals, gaming, applications, music downloads, travel tickets, and arts and music event tickets, with the biggest online shopping sites being kalahari.com, groupon.co.za and picknpay.co.za.
Online grocery shopping, says Goldstuck, has declined “mainly because people want to choose fresh products personally, delivery schedules are too inflexible and too many mistakes are made by in-store stock pickers”.
Still, it’s important for retailers to have online outlets. Thus the continuing proliferation of these, and their convenience for those of us who are looking for non-perishable items like clothing, gadgets or gifts.
Verve has put together a small “mall” of websites you may not yet be aware of, where you can find anything from toys and fashion to kitchenware and gadgets.
The most expansive online fashion store is www.zando.co.za, which sells thousands of products and hundreds of cutting-edge brands, including the recently acquired Utopia, ideal if you’re want wedge-heeled shoes.
If shoes are your addiction, a shoe boutique causing a stir is www.melissaza.co.za, which features everything from high heels to pumps in a vast range of colours.
36Boutiques.com sells designer clothing and top brands in everything from lingerie to handbags and shoes.
The site www.kaboose.co.za features a range of beauty products, including perfume, at highly competitive prices. The site also offers a “personal beauty adviser” if you sign up and provide information about your beauty profile.
If you’re shopping for toys for a child and want to avoid plastic junk, try www.smarticle.co.za, an online toyshop that offers a boutique range of educational products hand-picked from around the world as the best examples of green design.
The range, for tiny tots to 10-year-olds, includes arts and crafts goodies, games and puzzles, toys for active play and outdoor fun, and building sets and blocks.
At www.faithful-to-nature.co.za you will find products ranging from eco-friendly and organic toys and tableware to mineral make-up, vegan nail polish, gluten-free foods and organic household cleaning products.
Another diverse organic produce supermarket is www.ethical.org.za, and a worthy “green” clothing site is www.earthchild.co.za. For interesting solar toys and gadgets, visit www.suntoy.co.za.
At www.thegreenshop.co.za, you will find all manner of eco-friendly goods, from eco-toys to Bokashi composters.
If you’re seeking stylish, high-quality kitchen gadgets, try www.yuppiechef.co.za, which sells all the brands that foodies love.
For every manner of gadget, visit www.yuppiegadgets.co.za, where you’ll find everything from computer and cellphone accessories to funky kitchen and garden accessories.
Check out the “Glow in the Dark” toilet roll and the pink toolkit for women.
The most popular sites include www.digitalplanet.co.za, www.have2have.co.za, www.wantitall.co.za, www.takealot.com and www.loot.co.za.
If you’re getting married, try the comprehensive online wedding directory www.celebration.co.za. It provides an extensive and diverse list of contacts for dress designers, make-up artists, venues, wedding cake makers, decorators and florists.
Also on the site are plenty of tips and hundreds of articles and blog posts for brides and grooms to glean inspiration from.
Custom-made wedding and evening dresses are available from www.bride-zilla.net.
The www.liftshare.co.za site helps South Africans find someone else travelling their way so they can share their journey. This site is affiliated with www.liftshare.com, the world’s largest lift-sharing network, so it’s a tried and tested system that makes registering and searching for journey matches easy and safe.
Once you register and place an order on these sites, there will be no delivery fee or a small charge (in the case of products), and no matter where you live, it’ll get there (give it a day or three). You pay online with your credit card.