AmazonGlobal: Free Amazon Shipping to Singapore on purchases over USD $125

AmazonGlobal is a program by Amazon that ship items internationally with little hassle. They offer you a low shipping fee that competes with popular U.S. to Singapore couriers. AmazonGlobal has been around for awhile and what's different now is: shipping to Singapore is free for item amounts above USD $125. I bought several products from Amazon recently and made use of this free services. I talk about my experience and some tips for getting it done right.


Choosing items that qualify for AmazonGlobal

When shopping at Amazon, you need to choose items that can be shipped internationally. Due to U.S. export restrictions, not all items can be shipped internationally. When searching for your items, be sure to select the AmazonGlobal Eligible checkbox on the left column to filter out items that do not qualify. For example, I was searching for "mechanical keyboard" here and this option let me focus on the right products.


If you are at the item description page, you can scroll down to the "Product Details" section and look for the shipping attribute. If it says "This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.", then the ship is eligible for shipping.


Getting free shipping

If you want to qualify for free shipping to Singapore, the total amount for items in your shopping cart needs to be above USD $125. This works out to around SGD $162. From my order below, you can see that International shipping to Singapore will be USD $18.17 (SGD $24). As the total amount is USD $154, the shipping fee is waived.
Also note: all the items in your cart must qualify for International shipping. If an item cannot meet this condition, it must be excluded from the cart.

If you are interested in checking out the items I bought:
CM Storm QuickFire Rapid - Compact Mechanical Gaming Keyboard with CHERRY MX BROWN Switches
Beyerdynamic DTX 101 iE In-Ear Headphone - Black
SteelSeries 4HD Professional Gaming Mouse Pad (Black)


You should pay in USD instead of SGD

At end of the checkout, you are given a choice to pay in USD or SGD. It gives you this option if you have set the default currency of your credit card to SGD. The exchange that Amazon offers at the time of my writing is 1 USD to 1.326 SGD which is expensive. A quick search at Google gives the rate of 1.25 SGD (you will never get this rate as this is the FX rates for trading). As I was confident that my credit card bank (StandardChartered) is able to offer a better USD rate, I went ahead and placed my order in USD. The statement came up to SGD $199.65. That is a rate of 1 USD to 1.296 SGD.

That's a lot of numbers up there and the verdict is: you should place you order in USD.

You are given a choice of paying in SGD (left) or USD (right): choose USD.


Amazon offers items at a lower price

The price offered by Amazon is lower than other retailers. For example, the Beyerdynamics DTX cost S$119 from treoo.com (S$82 on Amazon). The CM Storm Rapid goes for S$136 on qoo10.sg (S$88 on Amazon). These are substantial savings of 30%. Furthermore, you can earn 6% rebates by using the Frank card by OCBC which results in even more savings.
Do note that you will want to keep your total cart amount below S$400 or there will be 7% GST charge on your items. The $400 applies to the total package: cost of items + packaging + delivery fee. More details at Singapore Custom page.

Downside of buying from U.S. retailers

The downside of shipping from overseas is the long delivery time. My parcel took 18 days to arrive and this is its journey:
Oct  8, 2013 12:50:00 PM SINGAPORE SG   Delivered
Oct  8, 2013 02:00:00 AM SINGAPORE SG   Package arrived at a carrier facility
Oct  8, 2013 02:00:00 AM SINGAPORE SG   Out for delivery
Oct  3, 2013 03:35:00 AM CHANGI SG   Package has left the carrier facility
Oct  3, 2013 02:50:00 AM CHANGI SG   Package arrived at a carrier facility
Oct  3, 2013 02:48:00 AM CHANGI SG   Package arrived at destination country
Oct  2, 2013 08:29:00 PM CHANGI SG   Package arrived at a carrier facility
Oct  2, 2013 04:41:00 PM CHEK LAP KOK HK   Package has left the carrier facility
Oct  2, 2013 01:34:00 PM CHEK LAP KOK HK   Package arrived at a carrier facility
Oct  1, 2013 10:46:00 AM Anchorage AK US   Package has left the carrier facility
Oct  1, 2013 05:48:00 AM Anchorage AK US   Package arrived at a carrier facility
Oct  1, 2013 03:28:00 AM Louisville KY US  Package has left the carrier facility
Sep 30, 2013 11:48:00 PM Louisville KY US  Package arrived at a carrier facility
Sep 26, 2013 12:07:35 PM Hebron KY US   Package has left the carrier facility
Sep 23, 2013 08:09:07 PM Hebron KY US   Package arrived at a carrier facility
Sep 26, 2013 09:52:00 PM Louisville KY US  Package received by carrier
Sep 22, 2013 08:20:39 PM Coffeyville KS US Package has left seller facility
LocationDateLocal TimeActivity
Singapore, Singapore15/01/201413:53Delivered
Changi, Singapore14/01/20145:10Departure Scan
14/01/20142:36Import Scan
Changi, Singapore13/01/20140:01Arrival Scan
Chek Lap Kok, Hong Kong12/01/201420:05Departure Scan
12/01/201415:10Arrival Scan
Anchorage, AK, United States11/01/201410:48Departure Scan
11/01/20147:05Arrival Scan
Louisville, KY, United States11/01/20144:05Departure Scan
Louisville, KY, United States10/01/20140:52Arrival Scan
10/01/20140:39Departure Scan
Louisville, KY, United States09/01/201418:30Origin Scan
United States03/01/20145:35Order Processed: Ready for UPS

The US leg of the journey took 10 days, the international flight took 2 days and the UPS team took 6 days to process it in Singapore and send it over. The waiting time is excessive to me. Or is this my impatient Singaporean nature at work here?

When you buy products from local retailers, it is to change if it's defective. My girlfriend does mail back non-fitting dresses back to ASOS. However, clothes are easy to pack and mail back. What if you bought a bulky item like keyboard and you want to return it?






Above is the return item screen. It states the latest date for return and you need to provide the reason for returning it. Look at the options available - I'm amazed "accidental order" and "better price available" options are there. I have read the return shipping page and Amazon states that they will arrange for UPS to pick the items up from you once you start the return process. I have not use the return feature before as my items were in working condition. If you are looking for answers here, you are on your own.

Lastly, the warranty of the item is contentious. Will the local distributor service a faulty product that broke down after six months of use? What if there is no local distributor? These are the things you should consider.

Summary

There are savings and risks from buying from Amazon and it's the same for any overseas retailers. My advice is to do your homework: compare the prices and weigh out the risk and cost of defective items (example, I wouldn't buy a big ticket item like a laptop online).
Summarising my tips:
  1. Use the AmazonGlobal Eligible feature
  2. Keep your cart items total amount between USD $125 to $310.
  3. Beyond USD $310, the 7% GST will be levied on your package
  4. Always be aware of the USD to SGD rate
  5. Pay in USD instead of SGD
With those tips in mind, you should have a pleasant experience shopping at Amazon.com.

Related Posts:
Ship Amazon packages from US to Singapore using comGateway - For buying items that will not ship overseas.CM Storm QuickFire Rapid Mechanical Keyboard - Singapore Review
Review: Buying Kindle Paperwhite in Singapore