Online shopping has become more and more global of late. While we may have been limited in South Africa to only a handful of international online stores, we have slowly started to join the rest of the world in this regard. While our postal service leaves a lot to be desired in terms of offering the most affordable of options, there are quite a few courier companies around to provide delivery to your door (or office). With the Rand-Dollar exchange not assisting us much in terms of imports, both on the item itself as well as well shipping, which often times inflates the overall cost two or three-fold.
Thankfully, there’s now an alternative to your international shopping needs, many of which are based in China. While buyers may have always had the option to purchase goods from these regions, they’ve mostly been for smaller items, via resellers or individuals, often times with not available after a week or two after your purchase, and more frequently, the item not arriving at all. Sometimes, too, companies and individuals don’t offer shipping to South Africa, which can be circumvented with courier companies such as Postbox Courier, although, even there, services may be limited to where you’re shipping from.
With the rise of retailers in China, many online sites have started opening their doors to worldwide shipping, including South Africa. One such retailer is GearBest. But, it isn’t easy for consumers to get over the anxiety purchasing from companies that aren’t held to local laws, or even shipping confirmations. Thankfully, GearBest offers users peace of mind, both in terms of item warranties, as well as shipping verifications with tracking and email updates. Having recently reviewed the Xiaomi Redmi 4X from the site, not only did they provide confirmation of my shipping address from their warehouse, but also offered to track during the two-day delivery period, and finally delivering the item to my office via DHL. But for those still battling to make the leap to their first purchase from the store, here are a few FAQs that may put your mind at ease.
1. Shipping Options
Buyers have the option to choose from express and standard shipping. Standard shipping doesn’t offer a tracking option, whereas express shipping does. There may also be free shipping on certain products, or for purchases over a specific value. Express shipping takes between two and three days to arrive, while standard shipping between 7 and 21 days. For orders that take longer than 25 days, these can be escalated to Customer Service.
2. Deals, Sales, Coupons
GearBest makes use of a digital wallet, which allows customers to add funds. In addition, the site also makes use of GB points, which adds to your tally with each purchase. Customers can use these points to reduce overall charges on future purchases, but often have a three-month (plus remainder of the calendar month) before these points expire.
Depending on the item you’ve purchased, it may be subject to customs duties, often times in South Africa, once it has arrived. Express shipping, due to the higher charges, may sometimes cater for these charges, but standard shipping doesn’t. While tech equipment has fairly standard fees, items such as medications and other pharmaceuticals often have much higher duties attached.
5. Cancellations and Returns
For items that haven’t yet been shipped, users have the opportunity to cancel orders where necessary. Simply navigate to the “My Orders” page and select the option to cancel.
For items that are faulty or dead on arrival, users also have the option to return after three days of it arriving, with certain items including longer warranty periods. Users will be prompted to take a photo of the condition of the product and login a ticket for its return. Depending on the case, GearBest will compensate customers for the shipping charges for its return. This compensation will be added towards your GB wallet to be used on your next purchase.
Depending on your product, shipping may not always be posted from the same location. GearBest has warehouses in various regions throughout the globe, and customers can choose the nearest shipping locations to reduce costs. Be sure to note the different taxes and duty fees from the different regions.
7. Customer Services
If you ever require assistance, GearBest‘s Customer Service are ready to handle your query. At times, they may not be able to respond or provide an answer in a specific timeframe, but always aim to respond within a 24-hour period.