I've been an online buyer for years and I'm proud to say, I don't take advantage of my virtual purchasing power! There are things that are "worth purchasing" and there are some worth letting go even if the deal is too hard to resist!
I've shopped at Ebay, Strawberrynet, KKCenterHK, various mineral websites and a lot more! (Please note that I am not affiliated to any of the online companies mentioned so please purchase at your own discretion.)
Here are some of the factors that help me decide if online shopping is worth it or not!
1. Forms of payment
I only shop online if the site accepts Paypal payments! I am wary to give out my credit card information so signing up on Paypal is a huge plus and you don't have to pay anything unless you want your credit card verified! You only get to pay a minimal fee which will be reimbursed once your card is verified!
2. Shipping Cost
Free shipping is a huge factor for me. Always check shipping rates before you start shopping! It's such a heartbreak to put things you want on a cart then once you checkout, you see the HUGE shipping rate included which makes you leave the site and swear on online shopping forever!
It pays to click "Shipping Information" and read thoroughly. I don't mind paying shipping rates if they are fixed or affordable! It's a personal choice of mine not to purchase at any site with shipping rates that goes as high as the price of the product itself! I'm not exaggerating! I've seen quite a number especially on Ebay!
3. Product Price
Most prices are in US dollars, you definitely have to convert and bank rates are not on our side! As enticing as it seems, a product that's approximately a dollar to $5 dollars cheaper doesn't mean its worth it! Remember, you have to pay for shipping plus keep in mind the fact that you may end up getting the wrong shade or product because you only get to see them on photos!
I, on the other hand, would go ahead and shop for products that are not available locally or out of reach! For products that can be found locally, I will only shop for it online IF the price difference is high! I don't mind waiting even for a month if I get to save at least 30% of the local retail price! I get to have this thought because most products down here have sales ranging from 10%-20%.
It pays to search for reviews on customers who shopped in the particular site! I like reading their overall experience shopping in this particular site! It helps to know how "fresh" the product they get, how they were packed and how soon they got the product! These are the factors I check from buyers!
Local readers may want to read these additional information:
- Request the seller to ship the package as "gift" and if possible, ask them not to include the price of the package. If they must, request to write down whatever amount below $50.00. Keep in mind though that Customs officer won't believe you if you're buying electronics or expensive clothing for less than $50.00!
- Most Asian online stores would give you an option to choose between Registered and Unregistered mail. Registered mail is safer as you get to ask the seller to track the package for you BUT, you have to bear in mind that most registered packages are sent straight to the Central Postal Office located in Manila. If you live far from the area mentioned, it will be a huge hassle for you to pick up the package!
- Most sellers I've encountered ship their packages quite fast! Most of the packages I received took at least 3 weeks to arrive. It's super lucky
I should play the lottery momentif I get the package within 2 weeks! In this case....
- Do not bother the seller every now and then on why you haven't received your package/s yet especially if they've done their part! Most of the time, or shall I say --- AT ALL TIMES, our packages are stuck in our local post office because we need to wait for them to get to the mood to sort out packages and write notice cards!
- Try to have your packages sent at home instead of your office! Most offices are located in business districts and most Postal Offices in those areas are huge! More packages sent to the post office means taking more time for the P.O. workers to sort them out and write notice cards! I've had one package arrived 2-3 months when I had it sent to my work address (wrong move).
- Not all packages gets to your door! You won't even know which type of packages will get to your door or which ones you need to pick up! I've asked that question a million times, it boils down to the "mood" of the people handling packages! I've got big packages sent straight to my doorstep while small bubbled envelope packages required me to pick it up! Any rules? Beats me! It must be their well-kept secret!
- Expect to have your package opened right in front of you for customs check! There are lucky days they don't open it. Again, it's a rule we will never understand!
- Once you are given a notice card to pick up the package, prepare Php40.00 (approx $1.00) PER package. It's a fee we're doomed to pay!
I got Laura Mercier Oil Free Foundation Primer for oily skinned clients and 2 Stila Oval Shaped Sharpener! A huge reminder to everyone to always do your research before you order anything! I actually bought the Stila Oval Shaped Sharpener in a whim because I need new pencil sharpeners for my favorite eyebrow pencils and eyeliners! The funny thing is, I got too excited with the Buy-One-Take-One deal I didn't check online that this sharpener is meant for "oval shaped" pencils! Which I haven't seen in my entire life!
Yeah, that's a story to tell on my online shopping escapade! It pays to RESEARCH! :)
Any other tips from online shoppers out there?
I'm sure I missed out a couple of important points!
I can't get over the Stila sharpener I can't use! *hahaha*