Online Shopping in Uganda: Here’s how to buy stuff online and easily ship to Uganda

One of the challenges of shopping online from global stores such as Amazon, eBay is delivery of products to Uganda. Recently, a friend of mine wanted to buy an HTC smartphone from eBay but the seller wasn’t shipping to Uganda. Shipping stuff from the US or UK to Uganda is a bit of a hustle to be honest.

But in the event that you find something you really like online and want it shipped to Uganda, here are some of your options.

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Intraline Online

Intraline Online is a subsidiary of Intraline Shipping. Intraline Online is an eCommerce platform that let’s you shop for the best brands from online stores worldwide and deliver to you at your convenience.

They claim to source for the finest products while getting you the best available deals on the market. They then arrange for the most optimal shipping and handling to your doorstep. You can also send them a link with what you want shipped and they will advise on how best to get it to you.

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You pay 50% of the fees and the balance when your goods arrive.  One of the advantages of Intraline Online is that the prices are in Uganda Shillings and  it’s much more clear what you are paying for shipping, taxes etc is another Ugandan shipping company that can help you shop onine and ship to Uganda. It has a very user friendly website with a lot of relevant information. Even if you cannot shop directly on the platform, they allow you to add links of the stuff you want and then calculate for you what it will cost you to ship that item.

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The advantage they have is you can shop by yourself while sending stuff to their American tax free address, or they can shop for you if you aren’t well conversant with online shopping. They also sometimes offer better deals allowing you to consolidate items into one pack instead of shipping one by one item which would be expensive. You are required to pay 75% of the cost and the balance when picking your goods.

Goods Express

Goods Express an eCommerce site operational in 44 countries globally with 6 of those in Africa last year opened shop in Kampala. They enable you shop from top online retailers on the internet and ship the product for you to your address in Uganda. Alternatively they have pickup points, one in Village Mall Bugolobi where you can pick up your stuff.

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There are other companies on Facebook doing the same thing. UG unlocked that’s very active on Facebook charges $4.8 per pound for products you can buy from eBay, iTunes, Amazon, Walmart. However, you need to take extra caution while dealing with those companies.

Peer-to-peer delivery

This is one of the most common means of delivering small goods such as smartphones, Laptops and tablets from overseas. You can use a friend or friend of a friend living abroad who’s coming home to come along with the product at no charge or for a small fee. People also use their friends or family members travelling abroad for a short time to shop for them products online and come along with them.

This method works. It’s cheap and very effective.  But it’s highly dependent on the traveling schedule of people you know going overseas and coming back or Ugandans coming back home. Hence it might not be reliable for products you want in a specific time period. Meanwhile am surprised no one has still created a simple app that could match users who wish to ship products and those able to bring them home/take them abroad. Such a marketplace would really be a winner in Africa.

Courier companies

Finally, your other option is using established companies such as Aramex or DHL to ship products to you. Some online sellers do have shipping to Uganda and give you an option of selecting a courier that’s operational in Uganda, in this case DHL. The challenge is that, these companies charge a premium –sometimes more than half the cost of the actual product — to ship products to Africa. I remember I spent $150 to ship my Nexus smartphone which costed $350 from the US to Uganda using DHL. The good news is that they are reliable.

If you know of any other way to shop online and ship to Uganda, don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments.

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Image: Goods Express Village Mall Bugolobi


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