Friday, May 20, 2011

Readers' Corner: Online Shopping

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%.

4. Reviews
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 moment if 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!  
My most recent package is from and I had to pick it up at the Central Post Office.  Here's how nicely wrapped the products are with loads of protection!

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*

Keep smilin'
Stay happy!


  1. Thank you for these tips, especially the one about the 2-3 weeks of waiting for your stuff to arrive and the other about not bugging the seller. I just made my first online international purchase last Friday and I was getting worried that it wasn't here yet. (Haha, nasanay sa local online shopping XD)

  2. ako i always get my package at the post office... next time i make it a point to tell the seller to deliver it at my doorstep heheh ( thanks for this, very informative)

  3. Thanks for the tips. Last time I bought online (products from abroad)... customs charged me almost half of the cost I spent for the items. O_O

  4. since i've started this makeup and kpop addiction i've settled just on a few that i can count w/ 1 hand, 1 for Korean makeup, 1 for geo lenses, 2for kpop as they are my most reliable suki's. and on occasion that i do order anything stateside i make sure i order directly fr the site i.e. coastal scents, sigma makeup & everyday minerals, they ship int'ly and are reliable.
    gcash & paypal are my bff's. i've been burned by a friend no less, on 2dvd's that on tot cost US$130, to this day no refund no product, bahala na Dios sa kanya. so i've been there, kung sino pa yung friend sya pa yung fail.
    adv to 1st timers: always research, look for feed backs, look at their top seller stamps on ebay or amazon. research research and good luck ;-) ☺♥

  5. @Morbidfrank
    i'm sorry to hear that, if available in the area like Ca and Mi or Ny [afaik], look for Johnny air, it cust thru customs ;-)

  6. Thanks for the tips. Very informative :) I'll bear all this in mind next time I purchase online.

  7. i bought online from abroad only once and i don't think i'll do it again... first, i didn't receive any notice card for almost a month, i had to go to the post office myself to follow up... turns out it was there all along... then, the post office customs guy who handled my package was so mean and he even tried to extort a large sum from me, questioning me how come there were no receipts or attached documents (even though my seller had already labelled it a 'gift', ha!). he even announced to his kasamas the content and brand of my item. grrrr... i ended up paying a smaller amount but which he pocketed for their christmas party. arrghhhh talaga! the worst experience!


I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to comment your questions, suggestions and just anything you may want to say! Keep smiling and stay happy!