What are the important things you should watch out for when it comes to online shopping? Check out these Penfires tips and best practices in buying products from online marketplaces like Ali Express, eBay, Lazada, Zalora, and more.
EXPERIENCING BUYING FROM ALI EXPRESS
This is my first time to buy something on Ali Express. Placed two orders, I received the first one after 15 days. Am now waiting for the second order to arrive. 😉
What led me to AliExpress is Lucan Lorenzo. Lol, yep I got curious about the “free” watches of Lucan Lorenzo, so I dig up more details. Turns out, the watches that I saw offered for free on LucanLorenzo.com are also available on other websites, and although LL offers free watches pay only shipping fee of around $9, I found out that similar looking products can be sourced cheaper at AliExpress.com. So am thinking now that it was just Lucan Lorenzo’s selling strategy to offer the watches for free but buyer has to pay the shipping and delivery fee. That’s its cheaper at Ali.
That’s how I “discover” the Ali Express marketplace. I didn’t know they existed before, and now, I may be hooked… I think… Lol. Hahhaha.
Items at Ali Express can be as cheap at $1 with free shipping. So why would I buy from what I believe now to be a drop-shipper? I’d do well if I go direct to source, or at least closest to the manufacturer. So here I am now, happy recipient of a trinket / star necklace ordered from Ali Express website. This is how it looks:
The product was shipped from China via Post Small Packet By Air. I ordered this October 30, it arrive in arrived in Liliw Postal Office: November 15 (based on the stamp on the package). I also claimed it the same day, excited lang. 😉
*From ordering to receiving the package, it took 17 days, not bad considering that I did not avail of any express shipment.
But the thing is the postal office levies a handling fee of P100 + 12% VAT, so I paid a total of P112 to claim my shipment from China. Total cost of getting the item: P140 + P112 = P252. Halos kasing mahal ng item ang delivery handling fee ng postal office lol.
For the price of P252, I think I can find similar necklace in the mall. Just for comparison, I got this necklace from H&M in SM Seaside on sale, paid only P200.
AFTER ORDER – LEAVE A FEEDBACK
Once you receive the product and it is as you expected, go back to your order and sign-off on it. It will reassure the seller that the product you paid for, got to you in good condition.
Leaving a feedback on your order is good practice too. You are helping fellow buyers get assessment about the product as well as the store.
7 BEST PRACTICES WHEN BUYING ONLINE
Which leads me to these tips for those interested to buy products via online marketplaces like Ali Express, eBay, Amazon, OLX, Lazada, Zalora, etc.
Look for stores and sellers with high rating on the marketplace.
Most marketplaces like Ali Express, Lazada, EBay, etc have a feedback-mechanism in place for rating their sellers, the buyers, and the products. Look for those 5-stars, highly-rated stores. Reputation is very important in eCommerce, so legit sellers who focuses on customer satisfaction
Read customer reviews.
Read the review of previous buyers, I couldn’t stress it enough. The online marketplace is devoid of face to face interaction, so feedback from other buyers can be a good measuring stick to know the integrity of the store and seller.
Credit card is not mainstream in Philippine society. Only a small percentage of Filipinos owns a credit card. So before you get too excited, check first the available payment methods.
Online sellers based in the Philippines accepts COD or cash on delivery like Lazada and Zalora PH.
*Debit cards like BPI Express Cards, BDO Cash Card, GCash, EON cards etc can be used to pay for online purchases which accepts credit card payments. If there is a “Mastercard” or a “Visa” in the front of your ATM card, you can generally use that in paying for online goods and services.
Check out the delivery and shipping promise of the online store. For the necklace / trinket I bought from Ali Express, it is stated there that “Your order should arrive within 27 to 54 days”. I got mine after 17 days, fast delivery, good!
Availability of Dispute Mechanism.
You should also look for info about how the marketplace will handle buyer disputes. A Dispute Mechanism in place is very important for buyer’s protection, so there should be one available in case you need it.
Example of issues for dispute filing:
- Product did not arrive after the committed delivery / shipment window.
- Product is not as describe – wrong size, color, fabric use, etc.
- Missing product component or defective product.
- Missing product.
- Wrong item sent.
PRICE COMPARISON / SALE OFFERS
Canvas products, check as many stores as you can before you finalize your order. It is not uncommon to have one product being sold by different sellers. Try your best to find the manufacturer’s store – you can get the product the cheapest from them on most instances.
You can also time your buying spree during sale launches and events. Most eCommerce sites have huge sales during Single’s Day (11.11 and 12.12), Cyber Monday, Black Friday, Anniversary Sale, days approaching holidays like Christmas, Valentines, Halloween, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc.
LEAVE A FEEDBACK
Feedback and leaving a review about the product you bought online is recommended. It is a duty, if I may say so. The same way that you learn from other buyers’ feedback and reviews, you can also help buyers looking at the same item you bought decide whether to push through with their order or not.
*Be aware that risks exist if you are transacting online. What you can do since online shopping can’t be stop, is minimize the possibility of being scam by following best practices in buying and selling online.
eCOMMERCE WILL ONLY BECOME BIG, BIGGER!
Online buying and yes, selling too is here to stay. This will only get bigger with more and more online marketplaces opening for the Filipino consumers. Heck, Jack Ma of Alibaba was just here in Manila a month ago for an event with GCash and to encourage more Filipinos to embrace the opportunities offered by eCommerce.
As for personal experience, aside from being a buyer, I have also tried selling a car online. A few minutes after my car-for-sale ad was posted on Sulit (now OLX), I got buyers calling me, and within 3 hours, I closed the deal. That fast!
For buyers, we now have more choices when it comes to product availability and access. We can buy direct from manufacturers thereby eliminating the middle-man. We can buy items not available in malls and local stores.
Indeed, the world has become smaller with the internet, the marketplace has changed. Time might come when movements of goods and services are transacted more and more via online, and less and less via traditional brick and mortar store. Are you ready for that future?
I am! 😉 Ending this post now, back to checking the offers on AliExpress.com, who knows I might find a discount coupon, haha.
Hope this Penfires tips on online shopping helps you! Like and Share!