Picture this: you found a great deal on Amazon, add it to cart, and BAM! You received the bad news: “We do not ship to Singapore”. If this sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone.
Despite the emergence of e-commerce stores all over the world, there are still restrictions to what we can and cannot purchase through online stores. Amazon for example, is one of the biggest retailer in the U.S selling everything from toys to books and electronics. Even with the widest network of suppliers, some vendors still do not ship out of U.S for various reasons.
Entrepreneurs around the world have picked up on this problem by providing freight forwarding solutions. Classified as”Agents” or “Daigou” in mandarin, you can use their services to either buy on your behalf (for website which requires U.S based credit card), or “borrow” their U.S address to get your products. If the merchants charge you $30-$50 for a few pieces of clothing, using an agent could help you reduce it to $5-$20.
For products from the U.S, Comgateway provides consolidation of your parcels from various retailers, before sending it to your Singapore address. If you want to shop from the famous everything-retailer Taobao without having to translate every Chinese character, just paste the product link into 65daigou for easy order and shipping. For everything else under the sun, you can avoid shipping fees by sharing luggage space with travellers on Airfrov.
Beware of cost uncertainty:
The term “bill shock” is often used to describe the high roaming bills one receive after returning from an overseas trip, this term is about to be applied on shipping fees too. We’ve heard stories of how shipping agents surprise shopper with shipping fees higher than the cost of product itself, only after the item reaches the warehouse. This “shock” left the shopper helpless, and the process of refund is not easy to deal with.
Uncertainty aside, buying overseas products through agents is not as horrifying if you are aware of the cost beforehand. Before you select a shipping method, consider which of these factors are the most important to you: country to buy from, cost of shipping, speed, ease of use and convenience.
Here’s a quick comparison to help you:
And for anything which you can’t order online, count on the mighty Airfrov travellers to visit the physical store and purchase them for you! This works just like asking a friend to help you buy things when they travel, but without the “guilt” or feeling embarrassed to ask for help all the time.
Too good to be true? Give it a try.
(Illustrations from Freepik.com)