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howtoshoponline[su_dropcap style=”simple”]T[/su_dropcap]he holiday season is rapidly approaching which means that more and more people are shopping on line for a very wide range of goods and services. You might have noticed that some of the garments you see me wearing on this blog have been bought on line.

And one of the most oft-repeated questions I get is, how I go about online shopping. Below I have tried to summarize the basic steps I go through.

Before shopping

– Before you even start considering shopping online, make sure you have access to a credit or debit card or preferably PayPal for making the payments. If that is OK, you can move ahead and select your site of choice to explore.
– Initially do make sure that the reputation of the company you have decided to purchase from is reliable. You can do a google search to check various consumer review sites for such information.

Shopping on the site

– Next I would advice you to check the shipping policy of the company and especially if they ship to your country. My own experience is that even some major companies do not include Kenya among the possible shipping destinations. Also check their shipping charges as they may vary considerably.
– The most enjoyable part is of course to browse through the items for sale and pick your favorites to be placed in your virtual shopping cart. Remember that you will be asked for the size or other details of the items you fall for. I always make sure that I have the details of my bust, waist and hip measurements available at hand. And will always refer to the size chart found on the options menu. The same applies to shoe sizes, and if in doubt I always Google a ‘size conversion chart’ (especially for shoes)
– Once you are satisfied with the content of your shopping cart you may proceed to checkout where you will be required to fill in your personal details including shipping and billing address as well as selecting your shipping option. I normally prefer the standard shipping option, which is less expensive but not necessarily much slower than priority shipping.

Making the payment

– Now you finally have to make your payment. I prefer to use PayPal which is a much more secure mode of payment protecting the details of your debit card. Please refer to what I wrote about PayPal earlier on in this article.

-Click on ‘Submit’ or ‘Proceed’ after your order has been placed and enter your card details and shipping address (I use my P.O Box address) You may be be asked for another password – for security on online credit card transactions. As mentioned earlier, I find PayPal easier and safer to use. Once you get an account with PayPal, they will act as your ‘middlemen’  and make the transaction with the seller so you don’t have to always share your bank details.

-After payment has been received, an email will be sent to you to confirm your purchase and receipt of funds.

Receiving your goods

– After a long shopping session it is always a great relief to see the message that your order has been shipped.
– The long wait until your shipment is delivered can be hard and sometimes frustrating, but made easier to bear thanks to the emails you will receive confirming shipment and sometimes even tracking details.
– Importing the goods into your country can be a hustle, but my own Kenyan experience is that more often than not I am pleasantly surprised with both the speed and the cost of customs clearance. Of course you will be charged duty and VAT, but especially if the parcel is received through the post office, as is the case for most standard shipments, they handle all the import formalities and I am rarely charged more than a few thousand shillings by the KRA.

I hope this has been helpful. Please leave any questions you may have below at the comment section.

Happy shopping!