The Expat's Guide To International Shopping Online

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If you're looking to avoid huge mall crowds, or you're looking for a particular item you can't find in stores, the internet is your best bet.

Online shopping is extremely popular, with online sales expected to reach $370 billion in 2017.

However, don't let the ease of purchasing fool you: there are still certain precautions and expenses to think about, especially when doing international shopping.

Don't worry, though, because we are going to take you through some things you should be aware of when you're international shopping online with the various international retailers and sites out there.


Make Sure the Website is Reputable and Secure

Before sharing your payment information online, you want to make sure the website you're using is safe. The majority of all card fraud in the US is called "card-not-present" fraud, meaning that it happened online.

Besides researching the site's reliability and legitimacy, there are other things you can do to protect your information:

Use a Secure Wi-Fi Network

You shouldn't buy any items online while using a public or non-secure network. Other people can access your information through this type of Internet.

You can browse for items in public, but hold off on the international shopping purchase until you are on a secure network. Like the one in your home or at your work, for example.

Use HTTPS web pages

Check the website's URL to make sure it is listed as HTTPS instead of simply HTTP. This "s" at the end means it is a secure web page, which is safer for use when buying online.

Credit Over Debit

Credit cards usually offer protection in the event of a fraud or if the number is stolen, which makes them a safer and more secure form of payment.

Watch the Price

While you might be able to find great deals and discounts on items online, it might not end up saving you money. When buying internationally, you'll end up paying extra for shipping and customs costs, both of which can be quite expensive.

So while you might find an awesome deal, the extra costs might mean you'll be paying full price, or more, for that product.

Of course, if you can only buy it on an international site, then you might not have a choice. But it is always good to think about the final, total price instead of just the initial discount.


Check the Shipping Options

We've already mentioned that shipping internationally can be expensive. But you should also check that the website you're shopping on ships worldwide because not all of them do.

For example, some US websites will only ship to a US address. If that's the case and you still want to purchase the item, you can use a package forwarding service.

This will be another cost for you, so think about the price of the item as well as the total shipping costs. But a package forwarding service is a great way to get international products that you need that might not ship to you directly.

International Shopping is Accessible to Everyone

Online shopping can allow for worldwide markets to come together, giving both domestic and international consumers exactly what they're looking for. For a safe and successful online shop, be sure to follow these guidelines.

If you need any help with shipping or package forwarding for your next purchase, we can help. Contact us and we can help you with parcel forwarding, storage, and even US online shopping assistance.


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