Best and worst online shops in South Africa

South Africa has many excellent online shopping websites, including Takealot, Kalahari, Yuppie Chef, Spree and Woolworths.

Unfortunately not all online shopping services are the same. Some of the new players are still finding their feet, and your experience may not be as pleasant as expected.

There is seldom a day which goes by without one or two packages arriving at MyBroadband’s office, and we decided to share our experience

It should be noted that these experiences are based on the opinions of only a few online shoppers.

Takealot

Takealot is, in our opinion, the best online shop in South Africa. It offers a wide range of products, and its customer support and delivery service are excellent.

Yuppiechef

Yuppiechef, in our opinion, offers the best service in the South African e-commerce industry. It is easy to return items, and they have great products which are well presented online. When you get your parcel it is a delight – its packaging and presentation are unmatched. You may pay a bit more than other online shops, but we happily spend the extra money for the service we receive.

Kalahari

Kalahari will soon disappear from the South African online shopping scene, and it is a pity. Kalahari offers a great product range, good service levels and fast delivery.

Spree

Spree has a great looking website and the items they stock are all guaranteed to be decent. They select clothing that is made from good fabric, and the fit is usually very good. Spree offers an all-round good experience and it is a store you can trust.

Woolworths

Woolworths is one of the best online shopping sites in South Africa. It offers a great product range, and their service levels and communication are good. Returning items can be difficult, and they can improve on their product images.

OneDayOnly

OneDayOnly is a quality site with good daily deals and good service levels. While the website started to stock more “made in China” items, it still offers some worthwhile deals.

Zando

Zando has a great product range, and a very cool mobi site. Their service levels are good, but not quite on par with the likes of Yuppie Chef, Spree or Takealot. It is a decent site that suffers with the usual delivery teething problems when an e-commerce site doesn’t take control and follow up on their courier partners.

Makro

Makro has a good product range, a quality website and good prices. The Makro online shop, however, is dragged down by their slow delivery and challenges related to returning items.

Mr Price

Mr Price offers a fair experience, but the site can be slow at times. Their customer service is average, but they do offer cheap items which offer good value for money.

Mr Price Home

Mr Price Home’s online shopping site is easy to use, and it offers a good range of products. However, refunds and communication are challenging.

Ruby Box

Ruby Box did not offer the experience which we expect from an online shop. While the ordering process was fine, the parcel did not arrive within 5 days as promised. We called to query the late delivery, but the call centre was not working. We left a message which was not returned. The item finally arrived 20 days later.

Red Square

Red Square seems clueless on how to run an online store. The website and ordering process worked well, but getting the product was a challenge. When the item did not arrive as promised, we decided to contact the company. The number for the call centre was not easy to find, but when you find it and get hold of someone, they tell you whatever is necessary to get you off the phone. We were told an item would definitely arrive before Friday 12pm. When we called the courier, they said Red Square had selected the cheaper option and it was only due to arrive on Tuesday. Do not bother sending them an email, it goes unanswered.

Boardmans

This review will be slightly shorter than the rest – there are no words to describe our horrific experience with Boardmans’ online shop. In future it will be easier to just stay away.

Summary

Online shopping in South Africa
Online shop Website Ordering process Delivery Products and pricing Payment system Customer service and communication Overall
Takealot 9 10 10 10 9 9.5 9.6
Yuppiechef 10 10 10 7 9 10 9.4
Kalahari 8 10 9 9 9 9 9.0
Spree 9 8 9 8 10 9.5 9.0
Woolworths 7 9 10 8 10 9 8.9
OneDayOnly 9 10 8 9 7 8.5 8.6
Zando 8 10 4 8 9 6 7.3
Makro 7 8 4 9 9 5.5 6.9
Mr Price 7 8 5 7 7 6 6.6
Mr Price Home 7 8 2 8 7 2 5.1
Ruby Box 5 6 2 5 9 3 4.4
Red Square 4 7 2 4 5 1 3.4
Boardmans 6 5 0 5 5 1 3.3

There are some great online stores in South Africa, with Takealot, Yuppie Chef, Kalahari, Woolworths and Spree performing the best.

What gives the top online shopping websites the edge is trust – you know it will be delivered on time, if there is a problem the communication is good and returns and refunds are easy.

Some of the newer eCommerce shops, like Mr Price and Makro, have fair service levels but lack the sophistication of the top online shops.

Many of these new stores don’t communicate well with online customers and they still need to streamline their online shopping processes.

When using this group of e-commerce stores you get the feeling that online is the step child, something they’ve been forced into but it is not a core focus.

A small number of online shops in South Africa simply get it terribly wrong. These include Red Square and Boardmans – both part of the Edcon Group.

Their communication is poor, they do not return emails and the overall experience is simply not pleasant.

Please share your online shopping experiences in the comments below.

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Best and worst online shops in South Africa