Thanks to the internet and eCommerce, you can buy Chloé; Absolu de Parfum from France, without even moving an inch from your couch in the US. International online shopping is on the rise, and more people than ever and buying stuff from foreign sites.
It might seem to be an exciting experience, but it’s not always pleasant. Here are some tips for buying things online from other countries safely.
Find stores that “really” ship to your country
Just because some websites are International Online Shopping Sites doesn’t mean they ship to your country. A shopping site may ship to the US and Canada, but it may not ship to Australia and the UK. So first things first, identify websites that ship to your country.
The second step is to find legit websites. If you don’t know yet, international shopping isn’t as simple a process as you may think. When you purchase something from a foreign website, you literally ‘import’ items. And imported items need to go through a long and strict process before reaching the end customer.
It’s a complex process, and not all sites can go through it. Therefore, many sites claim to be international shopping stores, but they are not. They’re either local sites claiming to sell globally or fraud websites looking to loot your money.
Look for international sites with local versions
Take, for example, Amazon. It’s an international online marketplace and sells in almost every corner of the world. But instead of having one site for all countries, it has websites for each country.
For the US, Amazon has ‘amazon.com,’ for Canada, it’s ‘amazon.ca,’ ‘amazon.uk’ for the UK, and so on. Amazon has local inventories in these countries, so although you’ll Buy Online from other Countries, your product won’t undergo the import procedure. This leads to a pleasant and quick international shopping experience.
Know what’s banned
As discussed, when you shop online from another country, the goods are moved from one country to another, i.e., they are being imported. Therefore, they will undergo the same process as commercially imported goods.
Every country has some import rules and customs restrictions. There are certain items, like weapons, drugs, and some dairy products that have import restrictions in almost all countries. The last thing you want is to spend a hundred dollars on a purchase just to find out what you bought isn’t even allowed in your country. And who knows, you may end up being fined heftily for playing around with the law.
So, make sure to take a good look at the list of what’s banned and what’s not in your country before you buy international products.
Know why you’re buying
Are you shopping from an international site just because you want to show it off to your friends? Ask yourself – does that even make sense? As discussed before, buying goods from other countries is not easy, and you should not do it just because you want to. You should buy international products only if:
- The goods are not available in your local market
- The items available in your local market are insanely overpriced
Purchasing from international sites for merely showing off is not a good enough reason.
Don’t buy in bulk
Let’s say you’re shopping from International Online Shopping Sites because the items you want are too expensive in the local market. You see a cheap price tag, and you decide to shop in bulk. But guess what, the customs department is waiting to fine the heck out of you.
Customs won’t have a problem if you bring in clothes, sheets, towels, or other accepted products if your purchases are limited to one’s personal use. But if you buy in bulk and it looks like you’re importing items for commercial gain, you’ll have a hard time getting hands on them.
And the discount you might have received on international shipping will be outweighed at once by the commercial import paperwork, the fine, or the seizure of your purchases.
Choose the right mode of shipping
You can Buy Online from other Countries in a variety of ways. You can use the International Postal Service, freight service, or shipping service. Here’s how your shipping charges will look like for each payment method.
- International Postal Service: You have to pay for both the carrier to go to the local post office and any duty and processing fee owed.
- Freight service: You’ll be billed for both the duty owed and for the services of the custom broker
- Shipping service (UPS, FedEx, DHL): The shipping service will bill you for the duty they paid on your behalf.
Make sure you and the seller agree on which method will be used to ship the product. If any shipping issues arise, handling and transportation costs may outweigh the cost of your purchase.
Read auction rules carefully
Hey “Storage Wars” fan, do you like buying at online auctions? Most items purchased at online auctions have a $0 duty rate. But customs often charge a small processing fee for imports that require duty. An express or courier service will bill you for it as a part of your shipping cost. In case of freight shipping, you’ll need to make forwarding plans with the seller or pick up items at the port yourself or with the help of a customs broker.
Certain products can be a snap to find and buy on the internet, but your order can be seized if it violates certain regulations. And you never know what rules might come into play and what products might be held in customs. The customs department destroys items that don’t meet the requirements or violate quota restrictions. So, it’s better if you expect delays and hurdles when you shop online from another country.
International online shopping is possible, and you should definitely try it at least once. But be aware that moving to goods from other countries is not too easy, and you are likely to get stuck in a lot of customs regulations. So be prepared for the delay. Online shopping sites like Desertcart provide more convenience by handling customs and shipping to any part of the world in a short period.