It’s a known fact that when it comes to gadgets and tech deals, the online market in USA is best, both in terms of prices and variety of gizmos. The yearly sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday often see prices going way down and lucrative combo deals being offered.
But, it is also known that getting some of those gadgets is a very hard affair as international shipping is limited. And our infamous Customs department makes things much more harder. All this restrictions have led to either people using their friends and relatives, travelling abroad, as carriers or using small services like ShopandShip and iBhejo.
Since last few years, the online e-commerce scene in India has seen a major boom and thus importing things from aboard has been fading away slowly as most of the gadgets are available here.
However, the deals we get here are still not that good and sometimes the price of a gadget here is so high that it’s cheaper to import.
And moreover, the process of importing things from USA(or UK) is much easier with the help of the following services.
Disclaimer: International shipping laws and duties are complex matters. One buyer may get his/her item intact while another may face loss in transit, even when ordered the same item using same service. So, this list only shows the services which are popular and we can’t guarantee that your experience will be hassle free. As such, do exercise caution before using them.
1. Amazon Global Store
Amazon shook the Indian e-commerce market with its formal entry in 2013. From then on, its market share in the space is steadily rising. Recently Amazon launched the Amazon Global Store in India which is a marketplace to buy products from Amazon stores of other countries.
The main feature of this is that you don’t have to deal with customs at any step. Neither you need an international credit card as you can pay in Indian rupees. The final price you pay for a product contains shipping charges as well as import fees. All in all it’s a nearly hassle free service.
Borderlinx is one of the better package forwarding services among the options like Shop & Ship, iBhejo and others. If you want a primer, a package forwarding service works as following: Your order from Amazon USA, will be first shipped to a local address in US(provided by the service)and from there, the service ships it to your address in India.
But there are a few drawbacks in this system. First, the custom charges may or may not be known to you upfront(like in case of Amazon). Borderlinx uses DHL as their shipping partner and they pay the required custom duties and collect the same from you during delivery.
Second, you will need a Credit card or Paypal account to make payment. This is particularly a major hindrance as many people in India don’t use Paypal and have Debit cards which don’t work for international payments. But there is a work around for this given at the end of the article.
3. eBay Global Buy
eBay’s Global Buy platform has been around for quite sometime now. It is same as Amazon Global Buy, allowing you to buy products from eBay USA sellers. The final prices shown for an international product include the shipping costs and the perquisite duties. Moreover you don’t have to pay in Dollars or Pounds as your Debit card or Net Banking can be used.
The catalog of products is quite huge and diversified and similar to Amazon Global, you don’t have to deal with customs. The one downside of both these is that you are limited to the products that are sold on their respective online stores only.
Which One Should I Use?
That really depends on how comfortable you are using them. In terms of safety of whether product will reach you, Amazon Global Store is first in the assurance ratings. So if a product is available on it, and the shipping & custom duties make sense, it’s best to go for it. eBay Global Buy is also better in that regard but you have to take some care to scrutinise the seller before buying.
Borderlinx has an advantage that you can order from any site that ships to USA. But you will have to find out the the shipping cost and duties yourself, using their calculator.
In terms of pricing, it depends on item to item and you will have to check each service to find the lowest price.
One thing to note is that eBay coupons are also applicable on eBay Global Store items so you get a discount of 8-9% if you have a coupon. And below are some of the tips which can help in the process.
Many of these shopping sites require a international credit card or Paypal for making payment. If you don’t have any of them, you can use a virtual VISA card service like Entropay to make a payment in foreign currency.
Before buying, make sure the item is permissible to be imported to India. You can find the list of prohibited items here(doc file download).
Many international websites will detect your location from your connection and will only show products and deals for international customers. To get around this, use an VPN connection. Preferably use a paid plan, as you are going to use for financial transaction. We have some options.
International shipments require signed delivery and sometimes you also need to give the delivery personnel a copy of your ID.
To conclude, these three are not the only providers of this service. There are many more small sites online,and still more offline, but obviously your experience will vary. If you know any other such site that you use or have doubts, do share with us through comments.