Opinion: Singaporeans Should Shop Online and from Overseas Websites

Recently, I got interested in the topic of Online Shopping in Singapore. With limited research, I found out the reasons why people would swear by going online to shop. It is also interesting to know that the same product can be bought cheaper online, and I am not talking about TaoBao or Qoo10.

sg-shop-online

Why Shop Online?

You get better deals.

This is the most logical answer that I can think of. More about better deals later.

Easier

You don’t even need to step out of the house. Some may argue that they need to touch the goods in order to buy them. If you are that kind of shopper, you have to stay away from online shopping. Or I may suggest that you go to a local shop, try the product and buy online if possible. I will come back later on why should you do that.

Faster

Remember the recent Black Friday  (BF) or Cyber Monday (CM) Sales recently? Some companies (i.e. Timbuk2) are promoting the same BF, CM discount weeks before their actual dates. How is that for efficient. And most of the time, merchants will extend their promotion longer online.

For example, Creative Technology has extended their offer after Sitex 2014 (a local Singapore IT show).

 

sitex-creative-after

 

So, you see, there are advantages when you shop online.

Why Shop Online from Overseas Websites?

I heard from many of my friends that you can get anything from TaoBao (China website) or Qoo10 (available in a few countries). I think this argument is subjective and most probably dependent on what you want to buy.

Lets just do a simple check on one product that I recently purchased (guess where I brought it and how much I pay for it 🙂 ). It is the Anker 40W 5-Port Desktop USB Charger with PowerIQ. Super useful product that I can attest during my recent holiday trip to Japan.

On Qoo10.sg, a simple check shows that it cost S$62.70 (there are various sellers, I am just pulling one of the data). When you check on TaoBao, it is only RMB179 (or roughly S$37.80). That is considered a good deal if you compared it with Qoo10, isn’t it?

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compare-qoo10-taobao

Now, lets do a check at Amazon (here is the full link). Guess the price? USD25.99 !! (roughly around S$33.94)

amazon-anker

As you can see from this actual example, the same product is cheaper when you purchase from overseas website, and it is not true that TaoBao is the cheapest.

Here is another example. I am actually super interested in Motorola Moto 360. It is not available officially in Singapore. I found at least 2 websites selling it. One is from Lazada.sg and the other is Best Buy.

On Lazada, it is retailing at S$629. Not so cheap but at least you can buy it.

moto-360-lazada

But when you go to Best Buy website, you will be surprised at the price. For the same item, you only pay USD299.99 (exclude shipping cost) or about S$395. That is a big differences in pricing.

moto-360-bestbuy

 

So, for the same item, you get better deals from overseas websites. No wonder some of my friends always buy from overseas websites (BTW, I did check this item on TaoBao. It is not available.  A reader pointed out that Moto 360 is in TaoBao. So sorry that I did not see it. The price is RMB1966 or S$415)

Conclusion

10 years ago, if someone ask me to go online to shop, I will think twice. I  was worried about the securities of the sites and etc at that time. Now, with more securities in placed for most merchants and credit card companies, I believe I can shop online in peace (of course, you still have to be vigilant)

Not all online shops are safe. ONLY SHOP AT THOSE REPUTABLY ONLINE SHOPS. Do not be swayed by cheaper pricing. It is not worth it. This is an article is from Straits Times recently. Do take a look at what you can or should do when doing your online shopping.

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The honest guide to shopping online this festive season: 10 things you need to know

Recently, I also read an hilarious article about how this lady shopped from an online blogshop in Singapore, only to find out that the sizes of the clothing are totally wrong. I think she is just not careful about the Asian sizing.

Check out her blog post

Most big merchants will use a reference (a model’s height and other statistics) to let you gauge on the clothing that you are about to buy. Normally, you will “test” by buying small quantity. Once you confirmed that the sizing are correct, you can continue to shop from the site. That brings to the other point on Online Shopping.

Shop at your favorite Online Shops

It is important to shop at trusted websites. Some sellers bring in similar clothing or products from unknown sources to sell online. I would stay away from them. Of course, there are many good and honest ones though. Just that you will need to research (read the reviews and etc) before committing to buy from them.

As mentioned earlier, I got interested into online shopping recently and my research shows that many people, especially in the UK or US, regions are monetizing it (i.e. in the form of cashback). You shop at your favorite online stores and you can get cashback. I checked with my friends in US and found that there are many choices. Before that, I thought that it was a scam. Haha.

Here are two are them which I think is interesting. In HopShopGo (which I used their portal for bringing my overseas goodies), it encourages you to a system, Rebates.com, which has a cashback system. I read/browse through the system and thought it is wonderful. A few percentages (approx 2%) of your purchase can be rebated to your account for the 1000+ websites that they have.

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I also looked at another one (DubLi) which has over 4,000+ websites (or merchants which they usually call).  They have some VIP system that allows more cashback (approx 6% to 7%) and also allows referral system (get money for referring friends to the system).

Both systems are free to join but the VIP status on DubLi will requires a membership fee (If you are always shopping online, this membership should be your least problem).

In fact, I was so excited over the finding (on DubLi) that I did a blog post on it. It has been viewed quite extensively as compared to my other posts. And through my own means, I gave out a few VIP passes because I trusted that system (actually the people behind this system).

I will be doing another giveaway soon (before year end) and I hope that you can join in the giveaway. In the meanwhile, this is my referral link for the sign up (http://bit.ly/lobang)(or this link if Bit.Ly is not friendly in your country: http://www.dubli.com/T0US1AI8R)(yes, I will get referral money if you sign up the membership).

Finally, I hope that this post is beneficial to those who has started or who wants to shop online. Always make sure you do your homework and shop at your favorite shops. If the deal is too good, it is usually too good to be true.

Be safe and happy shopping online.

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