File Image: IOL
File Image: IOL

Shopping online even more during the extended lockdown?

By Supplied Time of article published Apr 17, 2020

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Despite being a country with relatively low connectivity, many South Africans have quickly embraced the world of virtual global connectedness during the nationwide lockdown, which has now been extended by another two weeks. 

Overnight, everyone from your grandmother to your three-year-old niece seems to have become a banana bread baking expert, TikTok star or living-room workout fitfluencer.

According to Matthew Leighton, spokesperson from the oldest shopper on record at the site is 90 years old, proving that you’re never too old to start, and there’s no bad time to make your first online purchase.

The data supports the trend of increased online shopping. Leighton says that the e-tailer has seen a 40% increase in page views per user, and a 15% increase in size of baskets since the start of the lockdown period.

“It’s been pleasing to see that people are playing close attention to news and government updates and recommendations. A good example of this is when Health Minister Zweli Mkhize recently urged South Africans to make use of cloth masks to help limit the spread of Covid-19 (in preference to using medical masks, reserved for healthcare workers). We were able to source and dispatch over 10 000 cloth masks in April alone,” explained Leighton.

While the delivery of non-essential items has been halted until after lockdown, Leighton explains that many local e-tailers are still working hard to ensure that essential items – like masks, gloves, foodstuffs and cleaning aids - are delivered to customers during the restrictions. Items deemed as non-essential can still be purchased, but will just be delivered later – “a post-lockdown treat if you will”, says Leighton.

“With strict social distancing rules in place, online shopping is a viable and preferred alternative to going in store,” says Leighton.

He shares his top online shopping hacks to ensure you’re never caught without toilet paper, hand sanitizer or any other essentials you may want or need:

Make a list of your favourite places to shop

Online shopping can get overwhelming, and unlike traditional shopping in a brick and mortar store, you have the option of shopping in multiple stores at a go. So before you open 300 browsers, be sure to make a list of your favourite places to shop. That way, you have an idea of where to go for specific items. During the lockdown, start with a list of all the places that are still selling and delivering essential items.

There are deals out there. Hunt for them!

Sales and deals are an integral part of shopping online. More so than in retail stores, you can find products on special or at reduced rates. However, stock can be limited – hence the superior pricing – so it pays to be quick on the click. Most online shops have the option to send you a newsletter with their products on offer, and subscribing to these newsletters can be the difference between securing the deal you want or missing out.

Stay safe

Cyber safety is a big part of shopping online – there are a few do’s and don’ts. If something looks too good to be true, and you haven’t heard of the site before, do some research. If Googling the site name doesn’t yield any results, you’d do well to proceed with caution.

There are many well-known South African shopping sites for you to choose from. All of these will offer a number of payment methods, including credit card. These sites may remember any credit card details you have previously entered, but will always request you enter your CVV number for any purchase.

If you’re unsure…

Although it’s very simple, the online shopping procedure may seem confusing at first. Most sites have a very similar checkout layout, which allows you to choose your delivery address, payment method and (sometimes) delivery date in an easy-to-understand step-by-step process. Still need help? Contact customer service – you can do this on site – and a friendly customer service agent will assist you with anything you may need.

“We’re living in unprecedented times, with the extended lockdown rightfully restricting our movement in an attempt to curb the spread of this virus. But that doesn’t mean people can’t get the things they need – they just need to know where to find them,” says Leighton.


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