Not too sure whether you guys know about it but Amazon (US) has free shipping to Singapore. Of course not all the items are available for the free shipping. In fact,...
Not too sure whether you guys know about it but Amazon (US) has free shipping to Singapore. Of course not all the items are available for the free shipping. In fact, quite a lot of the products they sell do not qualify for even international shipping. But honestly I think there should be still quite a number of items that interest Singaporeans that qualify for the free shipping option. Even if they don’t qualify for free shipping, some still allows international shipping and there will be charges involved. And even with the shipping charges, the prices there could be much cheaper than what you would normally buy in Singapore. I am guessing there is always a huge markup in Singapore, considering the ridiculous rental prices we have here. I mean these landlords should be punished for their greed. If retailers cannot sell at such huge prices, then they can’t afford the high rental and things will go down soon. However, seeing that the government is very protective of these companies, I think it might still be a while for the rental and property prices to go down to realistic levels. Don’t kid ourselves, the current prices aren’t sustainable for the long run. If it did, then our future generation will be in deep deep trouble.
Anyway, if you are new to shopping online, Amazon is a relatively safe place to shop. Hey, it is a major US retailer and they do have very good customer support (unless you are very very suai). From the forums I visited, it seems that generally the support is top notch but there are several cases where the support seems to be lacking. Not too sure whether it is because the way Singaporeans treat these support staff or that these are exceptional cases. I myself have completed two orders with Amazon and I found nothing wrong. Yes, the free shipping might not be that fast but the items arrived safely and I am more or less satisfied. Not too sure what people are complaining about. It could be just that Singaporeans love to complain. But then again, I believe Americans love to complain as well. Perhaps it is because Singaporeans on the whole tend to want to take advantage of things?
There are a few steps to take note when shopping with Amazon:
1. First of all, not everything can be shipped to Singapore. This is something that many people failed to realize. If it cannot be shipped to Singapore, then of course there will be no free shipping option lah. Even if the product is supposed to be allowed for international delivery, certain items could be blocked from shipping to Singapore. So again, if they don’t allow shipping to Singapore, there is certainly no free shipping option at all. You have get a forwarder to help you ship the items for you. I have seen items that can be shipped to other countries but not to Singapore. Could be distributor issues or something like that.
2. Secondly, you need to spend at least US125 to qualify for free shipping. Don’t be angry or frustrated if you don’t see the free shipping option. You will need to spend at least US125 to have that option if the ALL items qualify for free shipping. So if you are in doubt and wonder whether the items qualifies, then just increase the total quantity (of the same item) till it reaches US125 and above. If the free shipping option appears, then you are in luck. if not, then it does not qualify for free shipping or it is oversized. And don’t forget about mixed items, some of the items might NOT qualify for free shipping and there will STILL be charges for shipping.
3. Only items sold by Amazon can qualify for the Amazon Free Shipping. Right? Makes sense or not. There are plenty of other sellers on Amazon and most (if not all) do not have free shipping to Singapore. One of the easiest way to spot whether an item can be shipped to Singapore using the free shipping option is to see who is selling the product. If it is by “Amazon.com LLC”, then you do have a good chance for free shipping. If it states it is fulfilled by “Amazon.com LLC”, then there is also a chance as well. For other items sold by other vendors, I honestly don’t think you should waste your time. Be prepared to pay for shipping.
4. Check your cart. Don’t worry, so long as you don’t “place” your order, you won’t be charged. Even if you have placed your order, you can always cancel the order before it is shipped. Of course once it is shipped, then you are in deep trouble. Anyway, the cart is the place where you truly know whether the item has any free shipping or not. It tells you everything, from the delivery charges to the estimated ship date and so on. Play with the quantity and the total amount to check whether the item(s) can have free shipping or not.
5. Create an account and make sure the address is right. Several of my friends are so paranoid that they don’t give the correct address. I am guessing that they are afraid that some CIA operative will swoop down on them whenever they failed to pay their credit card or something. However, after creating the account (with the fake Singapore address), they found something which they like and, well…..he went on and purchase the item, all the while forgetting that he has given the fake address. I don’t know about you but I just think it is stupid and a big waste of money and time. Explaining to the CSO why the address is wrong can be kind of embarrassing.
6. Switch to US currency. Amazon’s exchange rate seems excessively high. I would recommend you to switch to US currency and then pay your credit card’s exchange rate. Of course do some research first.
7. Check out “Today’s Deals”. Who knows, it might contain something which you always wanted and at a deep discount. Again note that it might not come with free shipping to Singapore.
8. Electrical Appliances. Note that there are different power requirements and some electrical appliances cannot work in Singapore. When it doubt, always check with Amazon CSO. Singapore’s requirements are 220 – 240 volts AC, 50 cycles per second. I honestly think that you SHOULD NOT purchase any electrical appliance from Amazon. Although nowadays quite a lot of electrical appliance do support both US and Singapore’s voltage systems. You will also need an adapter because in the US, they use those sissy thin plugs (just like the ones from China). If the voltage requirement is different, you can purchase a “step down” transformer. However I would not recommend it. There are plenty of stuff to buy from Amazon, why choose one that could be potentially dangerous.
9. Keep calm and just shop. I saved the best advice for last. Online shopping is tricky. We get excited. We just want to buy useless stuff and feel fulfilled in life. But alas, that could cost you a lot of money. So keep calm when shopping and make sure you read the description carefully before you purchase. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. You can always purchase it at a later date or in the case of the one hour “Today’s Deals”, once you have something you can consider. Don’t rush into it. Trust me. I purchased too many wrong items before. But sometimes it can be a very difficult thing to do when you are online shopping.
Good luck. Remember to compare prices. Not everything in Amazon is cheaper. Sometimes the stuff in Amazon could be more expensive than what you would normally find in Singapore. Do some research. Not to mention the warranty issues. It might be even more costly to ship stuff back to the US when it breaks down in Singapore. I normally purchase only items which if it dies, I will just throw them away. And please, stop complaining about the slow (free) shipping from Amazon. It is FREE. What do you expect?