Online shopping for brand name items is good for two reasons: (1) you can potentially save heaps of money and (2) you get access to brands that don’t even sell in Australia.
Here are four different situations that you may face when you shop online. I’ve given you some tips on how to approach them.
Whether you’re in Australia or from elsewhere in the world, the things I talk about below will apply to you in the same way.
Situation 1: has Australian online store.
Don’t be fooled. More often than not, Aussie online stores are pricier than their overseas counterparts, so compare prices with the overseas online store before buying.
Situation 2: overseas online store. Ships to Australia. Can pay in AUD
Consider the shipping costs (otherwise you can use mail redirection services) and whether it is cheaper to pay in AUD or the foreign currency. You may find it cheaper to pay in the foreign currency (but see my final note).
Situation 3: overseas online store. Ships to Australia. Can’t pay in AUD
In this situation your only variable is the shipping rates. You may find it cheaper to use mail redirection services to get the product home (see below).
Situation 4: overseas online store. Doesn’t ship to Australia
For these brands, you must use mail redirection services to get the product home (see below).
Some brands may not even let you use an Australian credit card for payment.
Mail redirection/forwarding services
There are several mail redirecting services you can choose from to get your goods home. These services provide you with a local address (US or UK address) where you will ship your goods, and then it will be repacked and sent to Australia.
When using mail redirection, be mindful of the weight and dimensions of any goods you intend to send back. Always check the costs and restrictions first.
If you use your Australian credit card to pay for an amount in a foreign currency, you may be charged foreign exchange and conversion fees which can add another ~4% on top of your purchase amount. Check out the terms and conditions of your card before you pay.
Also, you are better off getting a few friends together for one larger order rather than each paying separately.
Most importantly, have fun! Share with us your online shopping experiences below.