The last time Techzim wrote about AliExpress was exactly a year ago when the annual 11.11 Sale was on.
Boy, what 12 months in Zimbabwe can do to you…
Back then, it wasn’t so hard to click around on AliExpress’ website, add a bunch of stuff to your shopping cart and then whip out your bank card and click that all too important ‘buy‘ button. Some would say it worked like a breeze (or clockwork, depending on whether you went to an A or B school) and all you’d then have to do is wait a few weeks and your goods would arrive and maybe you’d be exempt from that dreadful conversation with the taxman.
Sadly, how to make online purchases from Zimbabwe has now found a special place in the National Archives, under the section of “Ancient Online History”. Making payments with “money” you have in your bank account is not as straightforward for those in the land of
bondage bond notes as opposed to how others in neighbouring Botswana, South Africa and even Zambia are doing it.
Anyhow, as the world’s biggest sale is in a few days, it’s not all doom and gloom as there are a couple of workarounds on how you can land yourself some awesome deals this Christmas (this Christmas because it usually takes about 6 weeks for packages to arrive). Hopefully you can get a few presents for the loved ones or better yet, that bitcoin mining rig you’ve been wanting to get your hands on for some time now.
This year, AliExpress are looking to do even better than the $17.79 billion dollars they made last year, by offering discounts of as much as 50% on various items, including electronics.
So, how do you go about it?
What do you need to do this year to be able to be in on the fun?
- Open an AliExpress account if you haven’t already
- Downloading the mobile app will get you even further discounts, as much as 30% less on certain products
- Start adding items to your shopping cart that you’d like to buy until 10 November 2017
- Make sure you look for items that have a review rating of 4.0 or higher and have been bought/ordered at least 200 times, as well as the seller must have a positive feedback of 90% or more. Anything less than this is you asking for heartache
- Attach your pre-funded US dollar bank card or get a friend or relative who’s out the country to jump into your account and attach theirs and make payment
- Get out your calendar and start counting the days, usually between 4 – 8 weeks (if you selected the FREE shipping option. It’s not recommended for you to pay for shipping, as when it comes using the express route, the vultures at DHL have been known to get their hands on packages and demand a clearance fee – even though you never contracted them to get involved in the equation)
- When your goods arrive, you should receive a postal slip in the mail advising you to come collect your package. They sometimes delay, so after 4 weeks be sure to pass by their offices and check with them weekly. The best would be to get someone’s number there (even better if you get their WhatsApp number) and you could just check with them without needing to physically go there
- Get your local bank card ready to go swipe for payment of any duties. If your goods were worth more than $10, you’ll need to pay ZIMRA some taxes. This is if your whole package (believe me, you can get a helluva lot from China for $10). They don’t accept EcoCash as a means of payment, nor do they accept EcoCash’s MasterCard either
- Make sure you’re checking your mail box at your gate continually because if they send you a notification and you delay to collect, you could pay storage fees of $2/day and depending on how long they’d hold on to your package, it may not work out economically for you to still get the goods
There you have it. Simple steps to follow and not much more difficult than sending money through EcoCash.
So, get ready for the AliExpress 11.11 Global Shopping Festival by signing up now and adding your goods to your cart. On the 11th of November items do disappear “off the shelf” fast and you don’t want to leave it to chance.
Let me know in the comments below whether there are any questions you’d have in regards to buying online (yes, it’s safe, I’ve done it before a number of times) or the delivery of your goods in Zimbabwe. If you have any tips, do share, so that other readers and myself can benefit.