It is hard to think about the end year festive season without thinking of shopping. This is the time when people reward themselves for a year of hard work, show some love to family and friends by buying them gifts, and generally kicking back and enjoying some out of work time as they get ready to tackle a new year in a few weeks.
Traditionally and even now to a good extent, shopping involves hitting the shops and walking for hours on end looking for assorted items. For example, buying an outfit, a matching shoe and relevant accessories would see one visiting different parts of town, or different floors of a mall, before coming up with a complete ensemble. The internet via online shopping has opened up shopping choices like never before and most importantly, it has opened geographical borders so that shoppers are able to shop in any corner of the world. With just a few clicks and the secure payment system that is PayPal, one is able to shop for thousands of items that they would otherwise not have been able to access in the brick and mortar world. Physical shopping is limiting in the sense that one can only visit so many shops and only mostly within the town or vicinity they’re in.
Not too long ago I would spend hours ogling at product ads in international magazines like cosmopolitan and vogue, knowing only too well that as much as some of the products were within my reach financially, not so geographically. The logistics of physically going to buy these products abroad would involve visa hurdles, setting aside extra money for flights and accommodation and going to cities whose layout is not familiar. In my determination to have some of these products, I’d wait until a relative was coming to Kenya from the US or UK and send them. That often meant waiting a good half year for products like lotions and makeup. Not anymore. Now getting them from whichever shop worldwide is as simple as browsing through online catalogues, virtually adding desired items into a basket, virtually checking them out and paying via my already registered PayPal account and waiting for the shipment to arrive.
With the power combination of PayPal and US Address, borderless shopping is now a daily reality because after making purchases, customers from Kenya and most of Sub Saharan Africa need not worry about shipping either. The US Address service allows customers to provide a local mail address that can be used if a US merchant does not ship to Kenya. After making purchases, items are delivered to the US Address logistics center from where they’re shipped worldwide and delivered to customers’ doorsteps.
So on one end you have a secure easy to use digital wallet that is PayPal, and on the other end you have an equally secure and easy shipping system that sees to it that the goods you’ve bought overseas are delivered to your doorstep at a fair price. US Address is currently running a Christmas offer for PayPal customers whereby they get to save upto $100 on shipments from US using coupon code PPAFBF. The coupon value is $10 but is usable upto 10 times, hence the accumulated savings. If this is not a recipe for mad Christmas shopping, I don’t know what is.
The ease of online shopping comes with a host of other advantages too. Shoppers get to take advantage of the increased competition between merchants online because in an attempt to outdo one another and make good sales, they will often have crazy discounts and offers especially during the festive season. Shoppers also get to shop discreetly from the privacy of their homes or offices. Online shopping is particularly advantageous for those who for one reason or other are not in a position to easily get out of their homes walk around shops. A good example is the ailing or disabled. It is also much easier also to thoroughly research on the goods one is about to buy and compare prices between merchants before settling on a purchase.