Online shopping in Seychelles helping customers find bargains
Many people in Seychelles are opting to shop online sourcing the best quality and more affordable products. (Salifa Magnan, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Online shopping in Seychelles is increasing as more locals seek better prices, quality and availability of products in other countries.
The introduction of a duty free allowance of $233 (SR3000) for the importation of goods exclusively for personal use in 2013 has made online shopping more affordable.
SNA takes a look at online shopping in Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, and explores the reasons locals are opting for it and what impact it has on local shops and postal services.
Reasons for shopping online
Dorisha Roucou, an online shopper, told SNA, “I shop online because there’s value for money. I’m getting good quality at a reasonable price, even if at times my goodies take a while to get to Seychelles.”
Roucou said from her experience, some shops in Seychelles are buying cheap quality clothes at a low cost in certain countries like Thailand and South Africa and reselling them at a much higher price.
However, Roucou added that: “There are a few shops in town that are selling good quality clothes at reasonable prices.”
|Parcels entering the country are mainly from the United Kingdom, China, South Africa, Germany and Dubai and usually contain clothes, shoes, clothing accessories and electronics.(ebay) Photo License: CC-BY|
Another online shopper Samia Cupidon said “I choose to shop online because there are more varieties to choose from. If you are going to a costume party, there’s different kind of choices you can make online whereas in town you won’t get them.”
The impact on local shops
SNA visited some shops in the Seychelles’ capital Victoria.
Latifah Athanasius, the shop owner of Hot Street Boutique, said so far her business is not being affected.
“I have my permanent clients who purchase clothes in my shop. It's not really a problem for me," she told SNA.
Monique Tirant, manager of Momo's Bride and Groom, on the other hand, feels that online shopping is affecting her business.
"Before online shopping came along our businesses were doing much better. More clients were coming to buy our products. Now that everyone can buy things online, business isn't going as usual,” said Tirant.
The impact on postal services
Goods bought online are collected mostly at the post office or delivered by a private courier. SNA met with the Director of Operations of Seychelles Postal Services, Barbara Esther. One of the biggest concerns is the question of space.
“We have tried looking for a larger location with packing facility so that we can restructure the parcel unit. However, it isn't possible within the town area,” said Esther.
The post office has seen an increase of 20 percent of the parcel between 2kg to 30kg while the number of letters posted, have dropped. All parcels entering the post office are scanned for prohibited items and an advice slips dispatched to the owner.
|According to the Seychelles Post Office, there's been an increase of 20 percent of the parcel between 2kg to 30kg. (Salifa Magnan, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
“To speed up the process for parcels we usually call the contact phone numbers. That is why we encourage the public to put a contact number on their parcels,” Esther told SNA.
Parcels entering the country are mainly from the United Kingdom, China, South Africa, Germany and Dubai and usually contain clothes, shoes, clothing accessories and electronics.
Businesses making the most of the digital age
As online shopping increases, some shop owners in Seychelles are keeping abreast with the changes and have created a Facebook page to update clients.
"Online shopping doesn't really affect us as we display all of our new arrivals on our Facebook page. We let our clients know what we have received, and they come to see the new items once we post," said Phillis Louise, the shop manager of Blue Marine.
Some businesses are creating their own website and Facebook.
Owners of BeFashion on La Digue, the third-most populated island, said, “Business premises are rare to come across and quite expensive. We decided to use Facebook and realised that we could save a lot more if we had an online platform.”
Advice to new online shoppers
Esther said shoppers need to be careful when choosing an online site.
“Look at the security in place and as much as possible choose PayPal as a form of payment. Reviews are good ways of knowing if a site is trustworthy,” she said.
She also advises reading the conditions of free shipping as items shipped to Seychelles are treated as non-priority items and may take months to get to Seychelles.