Before I moved from the UK to Turkey, I regularly shopped online both as part of my job, and for personal items. Over the years I’ve purchased thousands of pounds worth of goods from countless websites, and from all number of countries. From high-end IT equipment to fridge-freezers to chocolates and flowers to obscure gadgets from Hong Kong and China; there’s isn’t much I haven’t bought online. And in that time I’ve never experienced any fraud, maybe that’s just luck.
So when I moved to Turkey – with my basic grasp of Turkish; the thought of purchasing online here wasn’t really an option – and everyone I spoke to advised against it – stories of non-deliveries and fraud was enough to put me off. However, recently I decided to take the plunge, and so far my experience is good; it is safe (more on that later), quick, easy and painless.
It is early days still; but I have purchased several items, from three different stores (www.webdenal.com, www.pazarland.com, and www.petbesinleri.com), in each case delivery has been from free to just 5TL, and has taken only a couple of days.
Although the websites are always in Turkish, I can particularly recommend both WebDenAl and PazarLand, who responded to my questions quickly, coherently, and in perfect English, and were more than helpful. I don’t think there are many UK sites I can say that about. The purchase process is fairly simple, and seems to be the same for most websites, so let me walk you through it.
- Find the item you want to buy, and add it to your basket (“Sepete”)
- When you have added all the items you wish to purchase, look for the link to go to your basket (“Sepetim”).
- Look for a ‘purchase’, or ‘buy’, or ‘checkout’ link (e.g. “Satın Al”)
- You’ll probably now see three different prices. I would advise paying via EFT (also the cheapest option), or upon receipt of the goods:
- “Havale/EFT”: Pay via an electronic bank transfer
- “Kredi Kartı ile”: Pay via a Credit Card
- “Kapıda Nakit Ödeme”: Pay when item arrives
- You’ll now be asked to either create an account with them, or at the least to provide them with your billing and delivery details. Note: if you do not have a TC number, just enter a fake number e.g. “1111111”.
- Continue through, you will soon see a page confirming your order – make a note of your order number, the final price, and also – if you are paying via EFT – their IBAN and other bank account details.
- If you are paying via EFT:
- Log into your bank account online, and create an EFT payment to the online store you just purchased from. Use the order number as a reference.
- That’s it. If you created a website account with the store, you will be able to login (“Üye Girişi”), then view any outstanding orders (“Sipariş Takip”). Check this regularly – it will tell you when they have received payment, and when the item has been shipped – and eventually a tracking number.
Wait a couple of days and the item should arrive. It really is as easy as that! If you do experience any problems, don’t be afraid to call or email the store; any reputable store will have contact details – and most stores will have staff who can speak English.
What are the benefits?
There are several reasons to look at buying online;
Online you have more choice, which is great if you’re looking for a specific product. Look in store for a new LCD or LED TV and you’ll perhaps find 20 models on display, look online and you can filter through 4,000 or so models (source: ucuzu.com).
No queuing, no traipsing around multiple stores, no worry about paying over the odds.
Delivery is usually just a couple of days, and comes straight to your door – great for heavy items.
Prices vary, but typically online prices will save you between 10% and 30% versus store bought products.
How to find the best deal
In the UK there are many price-comparison websites which will scour online retailers for the best deal. In Turkey there are a few of these for example; www.cimri.com, www.ucuzu.com, www.shopmania.com.tr, Of the three mentioned, credit should be given to Ucuzu, which seems to have more products, provides store ratings, and consistently finds the cheapest deal.
What if you can’t find what you’re looking for?
This sometimes happens – especially when you’re looking for a particular model, or something a little different. What seems to work for me (although I’m sure isn’t the best way) is the following:
- If the product you’re looking for has a Turkish description:
- Do a google search for the product’s Turkish name/description e.g.
- "Pets Choice Kuzulu & Pirinçli Yetişkin Köpek Maması"
- If you only have a product name or number:
- Do a google search for the product number and the work “turkiye” e.g.
- "UE-46C6510 turkiye"
Hit “Search” and browse through the results, hopefully you will have found a few matches – now it’s just a matter of some manual checking to see which offers the best deal.