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Online shopping in Bogotá: what to keep in mind

Safe online shopping
María Montes

María Montes

I'm a social anthropologist working in marketing and I'm passionate about food, traveling to big cities and dogs. I like being that person everyone comes for recommendations especially if it is in Bogotá, a city I love dearly and where I been living intermittently for over 12 years. Instagram: @mariaisaturtle

Online shopping is a worldwide practice that is becoming more and more popular each day and Colombia is not behind. Aspects like time, traffic, and costs are making people in big cities more aware that spending time shopping is not the best option.

Now more than ever, people are using the internet to shop for an extended variety of items, like groceries, clothes, furniture, plane tickets, and more! In a city like Bogotá, where the distances are big and losing time in traffic is not an option, people are starting to do more online shopping because why waste your precious time in the mall buying socks when you can invest it in doing some cool stuff in the city? Here are some of my personal tips and advice you should keep in mind while doing online shopping in Bogotá.

Good and reliable websites

Shopping for goods in another country can be quite challenging, especially because it’s hard to tell which sites are legit and which ones are a scam. Make sure the website you are on has the following:

  1. Digital certificate: it is the lock that appears on the left side of the browser, right next to the “ https:// ” sign.
  2. Prices: you should check to see that the prices are not suspiciously low or that all the items cost the same.
  3. The interface: scammers are very low-budget and their websites never look “too real.”

Some of my personal favorites:

Just as I mentioned before, online shopping in Colombia has become a more popular practice in the past few years, but it doesn’t mean that all the shops have great websites and great customer service. These are some of my favorite go-to sites.

Site’s home page online
© Photograph by Falabella (Site’s home page) Falabella.com

Falabella.com: South America’s biggest and largest department store and they are everywhere in Bogotá. Their shopping platform is very good; it usually has great offers online and has the option to pick up your products from the store if you want to save some extra money.

Site’s home page
© Photograph by Tugo

Tugo.co: this website is a must for those who want to purchase new furniture and decoration items with cool and modern designs at a great value. They also offer the option to pay a bit extra for someone to come to your house or office and assemble the furniture.

Mercadolibre.com: This place is like the Latin American version of eBay. Here you can buy new and used stuff or be part of an auction and sell your own things. The site works really well; you just need to pay extra attention to the other users’ reviews and you’ll be fine.

Card for online shopping
© Photograph by Delante Co in Flickr

Best days for sales

Just like in the United States, the Colombian market has days that are better for shopping than others. The Colombian government decided to stretch those days by adding an extra day to the equation: in addition to Black Friday, which is famously known for its great sales that can go up to 70% off, we also have something called Cyber Lunes (Cyber Monday), which is before black Friday and only applies to those who shop online. Black Friday this year will be on November 29th and Cyber Lunes will take place on the 25th of November.

How to pay: Believe it or not, Colombians are not very keen on credit cards. Therefore all these shopping establishments offer a variety of payment methods like direct payment from your debit card or even an option to go to a grocery store close to you and pay cash with a unique purchase code. Of course, credit cards are accepted too – mostly MasterCard, Visa, and Amex with some restrictions.

A few more tips:

  • Keep in mind where you plan on getting your order delivered, as many of these deliveries require someone to receive them (doorman, relative, cleaner, etc), so you might want to order your stuff and have it shipped to places like your office or school so you can be guaranteed somebody will receive it.
  • If you have an issue with a purchase and need to call customer service, never give your card details out loud. If you are required to purchase something, you will be transferred to a recording where you will have to type your card number and CVV code.
  • Don’t expect anything to arrive the day after your order, so if you need a last minute present, you should go to a mall or use an app called Rappi.
  • If you are asked to select in which currency you want to be charged, always select the local currency, in this case, the Colombian Peso (COP). Otherwise, the platform or the bank you are doing the payment through will select a very inconvenient exchange rate and you’ll lose money.
  • Ask the locals for advice. There will always be someone willing to help you or share their experience, so don’t be afraid to ask.

Now that you have all these tips, it’s time for you to grab your laptop, sit on your couch, and buy yourself some nice stuff because it is never a bad time to shop for those trainers you’ve been wanting for so long or that decoration item that will complement your whole room.
Did you like what you read? Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media for more and less touristy information about Bogotá. Share your thoughts with me and follow my articles on www.colture.com.  Are you a local business? Get in contact with us to be featured on our website!

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