So what is the issue we want to address here? It’s pretty standard: let’s consider the guy that lives somewhere in a remote country that don’t have access to “common” things in developed nations, but who want to purchase something online.
What are the obstacles?
Let’s say the guy lives in Madagascar. Well, you can take any country that has the same environment, you get the idea: is an island (not a movie, BTW) that don’t usually get access to services like Spotify (although I wrote an article earlier showing how I could access it from here). Moreover, considering that I want to buy some physical products online, chances are that the vendor doesn’t ship to this country.
First of all, depending on the online resources that he wants to access, it may happen that same online resource is only available to people who are physically located in the US (for example). So he has to find a way to access the online resource first.
Now, assuming he found a way for accessing the online resource (more on that on the following paragraph), he still has to provide a US-based address to ship the product to, then have that same product shipped to him in his own country.
Finally, the chances are that buying online isn’t as evident as it may seem from where he is.
Some solutions (although limited)
Let’s start with the easy one: access to the online resource. In fact, this is easy to solve since, with a VPN solution, he can pretend to be browsing from a US-based city thereby allowing him to overcome the location-limitation. It has a wide range of articles dealing with how to apply that solution.
Now when it comes to telling the vendor where to ship the product, the chances are that it can only be shipped to a US address. But here again, there are a lot of services that allow you to send and forward your products. Those usually are paid services but, solutions exist. You have to Google a bit and find such answers. You can even rent a US-based address and manage the emails online. The “only” requirement is that you send to the service provider a notarized proof of your country’s residential address – but that’s not difficult to have.
Then comes the online payment: more often than not, paying via Paypal should be possible from the country you are based in. At least, some banks will allow him to have an international Visa card that can then be associated with a Paypal account from which he can proceed to payment. In such cases where Paypal isn’t an option, you can still fall back to other solutions like moneybookers.com that is becoming more and more integrated into e-commerce sites.
As I told in the introduction, I’m going a bit sidewalk in this article, but I think this topic addresses an actual need from the readers of this blog. Now, the usual thing: your turn now, wanna share how you do it from your own country?
Feel free to add to the comment section and let us know about your “buying online” experience.