Online shopping like everything else in life, has its pros and cons. Pros in this case would be having to skip on the moving around part and just getting to the buying, hence all the other advantages that come with that such as saving time and increased efficiency.
The cons on the other hand may include shoppers not being able to physically inspect or try on the items before purchasing hence one’s at the risk of some serious underwhelming once the package comes and it isn’t as expected.
Well, these are general pros and cons but in Zimbabwe we have our own unique set of pros and cons… added to the usual ones that is. This is particularly true when we are talking about international online shopping, let’s use the United States for example.
reThe obvious pro is availability. It’s public knowledge that Zimbabwe shut down manufacturing industries and hence we do not have as much product locally available, whereas with the States, that’s a different story. Therefore, the next best thing would be to get them from the international market online.
The second pro is that some products especially gadgets, have proven to be significantly cheaper when bought online than when bought locally (whether online or otherwise).
Now to the cons. The first con unique to Zimbabwe (and maybe one or two more countries) is that our money aka bond notes cannot make international payments because essentially its value is not recognised internationally, we’ve talked about this a lot on Techzim.
The second con, which I’d want to talk about is the hustle of then getting the goods to you, here in Zimbabwe.
Techzim once wrote on how you can get your goods delivered to you after buying from Amazon. Apart from the ways written on there, here’s another way to get your goods shipped to Zimbabwe: Planet Express.This time you don’t need to depend on relatives and friends who are coming into the country from the US.
Planet Express offers online shoppers from all around the world USA addresses so that their purchased goods can be delivered to those addresses. You know how disheartening it is to see something really cool but it’s stamped “USA only” or a “does not ship to Zimbabwe”. Of course there’s ways around this but they mostly depend on friends, family or relatives and that can be problematic.
See, the problem with relying on people you are close to can be the lack of the sense of urgency on their part. Not that this cuts across as a fact throughout, but I’d like to believe that’s accurate for most. So, in that case it’s better to spare a few dollars and pay for the service since the service providers are then obligated to perform as requested. Also, it’s not all the time when you have someone travelling to the States and all, which means you will have to wait until a friend of a friend of a friend eventually goes there and then comes back to Zimbabwe.
With Planet Express you can either register for the consolidated packages plan or for the one package plan. The account fee for the consolidated package plan cost $10 per month or $50 per year while the one package plan is available for free. In terms of storage, the one package plan gives you 10 days of free storage before charging you US$0.01 per lbs (0.45kg) per day while the consolidated plan package gives you 30 days free storage then starts charging you the same rate as those of the one package plan. You can check out the rest of the prices here.
Also available on the website is the calculator which allows you to calculate the cost of shipping your package to your intended destination. The period which the package takes to reach a specified destination will obviously depend on the package and the destination otherwise you can track it on the site.
To pay you can use PayPal, Amazon Pay, or a bank transfer (hope those are coming back soon). Of course USD are an issue, but hey if you can make international payments online, sure you can spend a few more to get your goods shipped here 😉