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Why should I buy online?

Online shopping has become part of our lives and at some point in time, you might have bought something online or at least used a trial version of a software or service that then requires you to pay for it online. Whether you went on ahead and paid for something you got online or wanted to but did not go through with it, that makes you a consumer of online services. Today in Zimbabwe, we can list a number of services or products that you can buy online which is an actual indication that Zimbabwe is now trying to establish its position on the global e-commerce market.

Perhaps the most common questions that people in Zimbabwe ( Zim being a fairly reluctant player in e-commerce ) ask are “Why would I buy online?”, “Why should I?”, “Can't i just go to the shop?”. These are the questions that most e-commerce players in Zimbabwe are trying to answer and most, if not all, are having trouble giving compelling answers. I certainly am not going to give the best answers for these questions but will just highlight just a few reasons why shopping online may work to your advantage, and maybe sometimes save you a couple of dollars or even dollars/hour if you have that kind of schedule.

I have enough time to think

One of the problems I used to have whenever I went shopping (non-grocery items) is that I ended up buying something that is either inferior, faulty or sometimes the wrong thing. Zimbabwean shops are run by two kinds of sales people, the friendly ones and the scary ones. When you enter a shop, the friendly sales person approaches you, smiles and offers to help you with whatever you are looking for. Whether they know what they are selling or not, they try as much as they can to assure you that the product is good and is good for you. My personal weakness is that I feel bad for leaving the person who has put in so much effort in trying to convince me to buy something. Because of this, sometimes I just end up buying the product so that in my heart I have peace, knowing that I made someone happy.

This is not always the case though because sometimes you buy not because you felt bad but because you were actually fooled into thinking that you are getting the best deal. I have seen this with most people buying cellphones especially. They buy fake phones or used phones thinking that they have got the best deal only to discover that they have been dealt with. The shop environment is usually not the best place for making decisions. There are a lot of things that distract you and impair your judgment. I remember buying a small pair of jeans, not because I did not know my size but because I was excited, nervous and obviously not paying attention to details. Bottom line is, its easy to get tricked when you are playing on someone else's turf.

Now with online shopping, the game is a bit different because you certainly can play the game on your turf. From the comfort of your home or office, at your own time, on your own laptop or smart phone, you can go through whatever product you want without anyone trying to confuse and fool you into thinking that you are getting the best deal in town. You can spend as much time as you want looking at one product and no one will ever bother you about what you are thinking or anyone to search you as you make your exit. Buying expensive things is particularly important that you have enough time to learn and understand the product before someone starts pushing you to go for it. When buying online, you have time to ask your friends or family about it before buying and also important, you have Google to help you learn more the product.

When you are online, provided you are in an appropriate environment, its easy to relax, reflect and think straight. You can easily get rid of impulse buying and have enough time to verify the authenticity of the product. In the long run, I think online buying can actually help you save dollars you would have otherwise wasted on wrong, faulty or fake products. As a disclaimer, I'm not saying buying online means you will not get faulty products, it is important to take note of the return policy of the online store you are buying from. From my experience, most online stores will either exchange or refund you for faulty products or incorrectly represented products.

Since there are so many answers to the questions asked at the beginning of this article, this article will be continued in a series of chapters so that you won't get easily tired with reading one long article.

About The Author

Rational Ear

Software Engineer at Zimall Online

@rational_ear - E-Commerce Consultant, Software Engineer and Entrepreneur. #PastPresident #Rotaractor #Rotarian #Rational

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  • 05 May 2014, 05:38 pm

    Tatenda Nyamugama

    Thank you for the article. Really true at least now i feel normal, i also feel the urge to buy when im served by someone nice, especially the ladies. Very true with online shopping helps on decision making.

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