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Top online stores in South Africa
Have a gander at our ‘virtual’ pick of some of the coolest online stores in Mzansi – they’re all only a click away.
Have a gander at our ‘virtual’ pick of some of the coolest online stores in Mzansi – they’re all only a click away.
Online shopping in South Africa may still be unchartered territory for many, but more and more the bricks and mortar of storefronts are being exchanged for the HTML and PHP of virtual marketplaces. Aside from big businesses – like Woolworths – launching eStores alongside their physical outlets, cyberspace has given many up-and-coming South African entrepreneurs a platform from which they can hawk their goods and punt their wares without falling victim to crippling overheads.
And to give you the bigger picture: a 2014 study by MasterCard Worldwide revealed that the South African digital economy is one of the fastest growing in the world. The report also states that this growth can be attributed to a rapidly increasing proportion of the SA population with internet access. With such speedy growth, e-shopping is bound to get even more popular than it is now.
So whether you’ve already hopped on the bandwagon and sworn allegiance to Bidorbuy.co.za or Takelot.com, or whether this is the first you’ve heard of the phenomenon, we’ve put together a list of our favourite places to do a spot of online shopping in Cape Town and surrounds.
TOP ONLINE STORES IN SOUTH AFRICA
Thanks to the 2010 advent of Labels4Less.co.za, penny-pinchers can bid adieu to dingy bargain basements and do their discount shopping from the comfort of their own poorly lit ground floor. This innovative South African site sells high-end European brands at between 40% and 60% less than the original price: think Diesel jeans, Superdry T-shirts, Replay swimwear and more. And as owner Francis Massa is a stickler for quality, virtual aisle cruisers can rest assured that the stylish threads are 100% authentic and up to standard; there are no rejects, knock-offs or flawed clothing to speak off. Not to mention, Labels4Less delivers for free to any doorstep in South Africa and maintains a 10-day return policy, meaning you can send back whatever you’ve ordered within 10 days of receiving it and get a full refund or credit note (no explanation necessary). Though, if you’re in Cape Town, you can pop down to the shop’s physical storefront in Kloof Street and check out the goods in person. Lastly, the site runs a weekly flash sale, during which goods are further marked down in price for a seven-day period.
Gone are the days of browsing through long aisles of items at a store with hopes of getting a loved one the perfect gift. Virtual site TidyandCo.co.za is all about giving digi-shoppers an [almost] endless list of super unique items. Buyers can purchase triangle sculptured ice trays, cufflinks, tote bags, artworks, books, solar jars, massage candles, beer bread (yes, this exists), decorative items and so much more. Not to mention, gift choice is not limited to tangible items – select from a range of cool experiences like a hot air balloon ride, dance classes and rock climbing to surprise someone! Moreover, if choosing a specific gift is laborious for shoppers, the slick site has a solution: simply hover over to the ‘gift finder’ tab, answer a few questions about the recipient of the gift and a recommendation pops up! Standard delivery is overnight in main city centres of South Africa (provided the order is placed by 2:30pm), while those located in outlying areas can expect to wait 1-2 days for delivery and also pay a flat rate of R49. All orders above R450 include free shipping.
The team at League of Beers (LOB) isn’t just hawking ales and pushing pints, they’re genuinely passionate about what’s brewing in the craft scene. With a motto that claims ‘Not your ordinary beer store’, the site and the people behind it do their to best to support small-scale local producers, inspire tasting adventures and introduce the community to a carefully curated, incredible range of both South African and international tipple. One of the LOB’s most brilliant offerings is the ‘Beer of the Month Club’, a membership that lasts between 3 and 12 months and includes delivery of 12 handpicked cold ones every few weeks. It goes without saying that cutting-edge beer accessories, homebrewing kits and standard cases of (what can be hard-to-find) craft beer are also on sale, and delivery is free within South Africa.
How often have you craved a bottle of wine while at work, only to have glanced at your watch and noticed that it was way too late to start making your way to the store? Of course, the Western Cape liquor law trading hour regulations makes it that much more difficult. Thankfully, there’s always a go-to site like GetWine.co.za, which enables you to shop without physically having to beat time, is more than a blessing. The virtual vino cellar sources bottles from top estates and farms in order to give connoisseurs the chance to choose from a range of labelled and unlabelled wines at discounted prices. From sweet Rosé’s to dry whites, shoppers can scroll and click endlessly through the site to make sure that their palates are satisfied. Moreover, those who are seeking to add a personal touch to their wine orders can do so – the store allows for custom wine labels as well as the choice to order mixed cases. Not to mention, wine lovers can also hop onto the craft beer trend as the site has a pretty neat selection of that too! Delivery is nationwide and free to those that dwell in Cape Town and surrounds.
Kin is a Mzansi one-stop-shop for anything from local jewellery, décor, furniture, stationery and toys - and lucky for us, all of this is available online. Select some pretty unique items by browsing the site according to what you’re looking for. Kin prides itself in creating a platform for up and coming local designers, artists and makers of things alike to extend their reach - which is a great thing because KIN features some of the most beautiful pieces of art and accessories that you generally won’t find easily anywhere else. Delivery is free for all parcels within South Africa (via Post Office), and keen beans can pop into anyone of the physical stores in Cape Town to collect their goods. Payments can be done via EFT, PayFast and PayPal.
Perfect for the ‘hipster in you’ (or music lover in you that totally loves the original, finer things in life), Roastin Records, a vinyl shop based in the Mother City, has decided to spread the love and take things national – via a really kiff online store. Peruse through endless virtual aisles jam-packed with the coolest LPs rendered in old-school style. We’re talking about a classical offering made up of legendary albums like Roky Erickson’s Don’t Slander Me and Gremlins Have Pictures, AC/DC’s Powerage and even Ramones’s Road to Ruin. For a more current musical fix, the store also has a healthy mix of alternative sounds; think: Neo Boys, V/A, Rush, Fokofpolisiekar and many more. Music lovers can choose from three shipping options; note that domestic orders via the post office take 1 - 10 days, while courier packages take 1 - 4 business days. The vinyls are carefully packed and shipped in a custom box.
Inspired by Scandinavian interior design, MonoShop.co.za gives shoppers the opportunity to sift through a collection of minimalistic and beautiful homeware creations made by local designers. Browse the site for individual items or via the type of room you’re looking to spruce up: living room, kitchen & dining, bedroom & bathroom and home office. Either way, you’re bound to see just what ‘Mono’ means – all pieces incorporate only the colour black as well as different shades of white. What’s more, Mono has a blog that shares tips and tricks on how to best use some of their offerings in your personal space. The shop delivers nationwide (for free) and also offers a gift wrapping service!
What started out as a half-baked idea in the minds of two developers in 2006, has quickly risen to the forefront of the South African e-commerce landscape. The award-winning Yuppiechef.co.za site searches the world for the finest kitchen tools and brings the quirky, stylish culinary equipment right to your doorstep. From rabbit-shaped pepper mills to herb savers, biltong makers and spaghetti measurers, the virtual marketplace offers online shoppers the chance to browse widely for the secret ingredient to success in the kitchen. What’s more, a hand-written “thank you” note accompanies each purchase – an effort to connect with a cyber-community that doesn’t have the benefit of face-to-face contact.
Inspired by a vision to make women’s clothes that fit into nature’s authenticity, Amy Venter, who is Durban-based, has brought to life her version of a beautiful online clothing store. Weaving love, passion, comfort and beauty into each outfit, Jane Sews has breathed a new form of simplicity into the South African design scene. Choose from super comfortable and suave genuine leather sandals, kaftans, palm print shirts and dresses, gorgeous jumpsuits as well as equally gorgeous, handcrafted leather bags and woven straw hats. All orders are dispatched with a courier service and arrive within 1-2 working days provided that the product is in stock.
Presents in the Post gives a whole new meaning to online shopping by adding a most interesting twist to it all – you shop but have no idea what it is that will arrive in the post. The whole thing works like this: shoppers go on the site, pay R350 (EFT or credit card), select the ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ option, click on a picture that appeals most to them and, voila, – a surprise package made by a local creative is on the way! Keen shoppers also have the option of writing a letter and sending a mystery gift to a dear friend. If you’re wondering whether the things that are usually sold are worth it, hover over to the ‘Raj Loves’ section of the site just to see the kinds of items that Raj (mystery sender/character of Presents in the Post) is into! The innovative shop also offers the more regular side of online shopping: choose from an array of quirky and cool items (think: notebooks, cushions, vintage aprons and many more) and post away! Deliveries are nationwide!
Renowned painter Claude Monet once said that he owed his becoming a painter to flowers, and if you, like him, feel that flowers are somewhat inspirational, then Net Florist is just the online store you need! The easy-to-navigate site has a posy for almost every occasion (weddings, birthdays, anniversaries), and even has a ‘cocktail flower range’ (head on over to the site to see what that’s about). Offerings include Ethiopian roses, lilies, sunflowers, Singapore sling orchids and more. Not to mention, the site also has some great items that can be nicely paired with a colourful blossom. We’re talking glass candy jars, bath lotions, leather bags, perfumes and other exciting goods. If you’re worried about how fresh the flowers will be once they get to you, NetFlorist is way ahead of you – the service offers same- day delivery of flowers and gifts as long as the order is made before noon! Shoppers can pay via EFT, credit & cheque cards, Paypal, eBucks. Deliveries are made nationwide.
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