It’s been a good few months since I last added to my Online Shopping Guide, and today’s post will be the very last addition to this series for the year. For all of my new readers and subscribers who are not familiar with this particular series: due to the fact that online shopping is growing tremendously in South Africa, this guide is about my personal experiences with various local and international online stores and whether or not you should risk ordering from them. For me, 2017 has been the year of online shopping, and I enjoy sharing my experiences with my readers.
Each year, I happen to catch the Christmas bug. I don’t know how or why that happens, but I can’t seem to not love Christmas. In fact, I can’t remember a time when my stomach didn’t do a little happy dance at the sight of Christmas trees and bright fairy lights (I think that I have elf ancestry). Unfortunately, South Africa doesn’t appear to get as excited as what I do, meaning that I can’t find certain products that I absolutely need (yes, need). That’s where Next comes in. Next is a very popular clothing and homeware online store based in the United Kingdom, and they ship to South Africa with SkyNet. They have some of the most beautiful bedlinen that I have ever seen, including Christmas bedding. I have never owned Christmas bedding before, and I have never seen any in South African stores, so importing Next’s Christmas Bears Bet Set became very necessary. I added a set of Metallic Reindeer mugs in too, just for fun.
Personally, I don’t think that any of these items were badly priced. The Christmas Bears Bed Set for a double bed cost R423, including two matching pillowcases, and the Metallic Reindeer Mugs cost R127 for a set of two. I qualified for free shipping because my order was over R400, which is a huge bonus! Order and payment were very, very easy too (if you can look past all of their cross-selling techniques), and I soon received an email from Next with all of my parcel tracking information. Although Next boasts free delivery, it is important to note that delivery isn’t entirely free. After paying Next for my order, I was met with two more payments: customs charges (45-60% of the total cost of orders over R500) and SkyNet’s admin fee (R228 for arranging the customs clearance). Take note that if you decide to not pay the customs fee and admin fee, you will receive a R1500 penalty from SkyNet. After paying all of the fees to SkyNet, my parcel arrived at my door in the same week. Altogether, this entire process took about two weeks. Working with SkyNet, rather than directly with SARS or the post office, was very pleasant and I experienced excellent customer service.
All of my items were packaged beautifully and the mugs made it to South Africa in one piece! Everything looks exactly the same as the way they were advertised on Next’s website too. I was particularly happy with my Christmas Bears Bed Set, which has been on my bed since November. I am crazy about the design and detail! My Metallic Reindeer Mugs are very classy-looking and they have successfully made it through several dishwasher cycles (take note that they are not microwave-safe). I would definitely order from Next again in the future, especially for their homeware, but only if I absolutely cannot find the products here in South Africa.
Unfortunately, I could not link any of the products mentioned in this post due to the fact that they are currently not on Next’s website. However, you can browse through their mugs here and their bedlinen here.