Online shopping in Canada

At a time when people are staying home and many shops are closed to the public, online retail is taking centre stage. Francell offers her insights on some of her favourite online shopping options in Canada.

If you had asked me a year ago how I felt about online shopping (back when I was still in South Africa), I would have said it was okay, I liked it. I mean, I had ordered a dress or two on Zando and I used to order the occasional items from Takealot, but nothing major.

Today, however, I love it! There is a big difference between online shopping in South Africa versus Canada and, for the most part, I think it’s because of the trust people have in the system. There is also such a huge variety of options when it comes to online shopping, with just about every retailer having an online store offering delivery or pick up in store.

Since moving to Canada, I have ordered kitchen supplies from Bed Bath and Beyond, products from Walmart, groceries via Instacart, clothes from Zulily and numerous other household goods from Amazon. I have even bought boots on Amazon. There is literally something for everyone.

The best thing to do is to wait for the sales – oh and do they have great sales in Canada! For the last four weeks I have been contemplating buying new trainers or, how I like to call them, tekkies. I went on a couple of sites and ended up liking a particular pair from Sportchek – bonus, they do free delivery. I added it to my cart and decided to let it sit there for a couple days. I do that often, I don’t know why, maybe it’s because I tend to do online shopping while I am drinking wine, so I never check out immediately.

Fast forward three weeks and a Facebook advert popped up with the exact same pair of Sportchek sneakers on sale for 60% off. Naturally, I immediately jumped on the site. Unfortunately my size was already sold out, but I ended up with another pair of Underarmour sneakers for just $30. Bargain!

I learned early on to always check the store’s online site first. When I landed last year, I desperately needed winter boots. I went to Marks and they had a pair of boots that I liked for $169 and I was going back and forth wondering “should I, shouldn’t I?”. Well, I couldn’t make up my mind and went back to my Airbnb without the boots. That night it haunted me and I went online just to see if I could find some reviews on the boots, and to my surprise Marks was having a sale online only and advertised the exact same boots for $119, plus if it was your first time ordering you got an additional discount.

My opinion of online shopping has drastically changed, but I do have a few rules for myself that I follow. I check reviews, and especially if the reviews have photos. I stay objective when it comes to no-name or unfamiliar brands. You will always have someone complaining about something, so use your own discretion.

That being said, here are a few of my favourite online stores in Canada:

Amazon – great for any household items like pillows, electronics, kitchen supplies etc.

Instacart – a very convenient app for groceries.

Marks – I use it mainly for shoes but they also have great clothes.

Sportchek – perfect for any athletic gear or equipment.

Zulilly – very similar to OneDayOnly in South Africa and you can find great sales, especially on clothing.

Here are some more really great apps to make life easier in Calgary.

Happy shopping guys and girls, and stay safe!

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