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Giant hypermarket’s virtual twin, Amazon, is the go-to online retailer that many of us turn to to buy just about anything we need: it offers a huge variety of items not only from Singapore, but around the world.

Yet despite its convenience, the sheer mass of items available can make finding good deals difficult, not to mention confusing. As such, we have compiled some easy tips to make your Amazon shopping experience a much smoother, cheaper, and enjoyable one.

Image Credit: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/
Image Credit: www.telegraph.co.uk

1. Know Where To Look

Amazon offers some pretty good deals for a lot of items. The tricky part is where to find them.

Sometimes, the best way to get the most out of Amazon isn’t through the website itself. Price-checkers, like Camelcamelcamel, show you the most heavily discounted items for the day, while websites like Gold Box Deals catalogue items that are on lightning sales, which are discounts that expire after 1 to 2 hours.

Another place to explore is the Amazon Warehouse, which offers “deep discounts” on items that are still in good condition. Warehouse items are also covered under Amazon’s 30-day return policy, so don’t worry if items fail to work — you can always return them.

Image Credit: http://pixshark.com/
Image Credit: pixshark.com

Note that products from third-party merchants will not ship to Singapore. To get around this problem, try to find the same item sold originally on Amazon under its product page.

Before buying on Amazon, compare prices of items with those offered by Singapore retailers — goods on Amazon are not always the cheapest out there.

Image Credit: http://www.amazon.com/
Image Credit: Amazon

2. Go Prime

Regular shoppers might be aware that Amazon offers discounts for Amazon Prime members. It costs US$99 per annum to register for membership, and in return, you enjoy free 2-day shipping without minimum order size when you shop from the site. Tip: share your free shipping benefits with up to 4 people, to maximise the amount of items a group can get in bulk.

If you want to try Amazon Prime, but don’t want to commit just yet, there is a free 30-day trial which you can sign up for. Do note that your account will be automatically switched to Prime once the 30 days are up. To prevent that, disable “Amazon Prime Automatic Upgrade” under “Membership Information”.

Amazon Prime_103

3. Do Your Research

Avoid buying items that you are uncertain about. Unless items are defective, you will have to pay for shipping costs back to the US should you wish to return them. Good items to shop for include kitchen hardware, apparel and books; it is best to avoid items which require the use of wall plugs to work, unless they have duel voltage — plugs in Singapore work differently from those in the US.

Things to look out for before making purchases include warranty (make sure it’s international), details regarding product returns, and whether you will be able to track delivery. It’s also a good idea to read up on customer reviews of products you intend to buy.

Image Credit: http://spotastore.com/
Image Credit: spotastore.com

Should your package fail to arrive at the stipulated timing, do note that you will be eligible for a refund of shipping costs, or in the case of Prime Members, an extension of membership.

4. Avoid the GST Trap

There is no GST charged on packages worth less than S$400. If your basket of items go above S$400, split your items into multiple orders to avoid GST charges.

Image Credit: http://www.arabiansupplychain.com/
Image Credit: www.arabiansupplychain.com

5. Get Free Shipping

Trying to get your items shipped for free has to be the one goal that all Amazon shoppers have. The site has an AmazonGlobal Saver Shipping program, which applies if you buy eligible items from Amazon USA that are worth more than US$125. To find out which items are up for free shipping, check 125 and up.

Image Credit: http://www.parkablogs.com/
Image Credit: www.parkablogs.com

If you are keen on buying small items, check in with forums such as HardWareZone for others making group purchases. That way, you can buy items collectively to enjoy free shipping.

Image Credit: http://www.hardwarezone.com.sg/
Image Credit: www.hardwarezone.com.sg

6. Pay Less For Shipping

Image Credit: http://www.borderlinx.com/
Image Credit: www.borderlinx.com

If you’re buying items that cost less than $125, yet aren’t comfortable with buying collectively with others, here’s another way to ship items to your home: by using registered delivery services like Borderlinx, which deliver items specifically from the US and EU.

Borderlinx calculates shipping costs according to weight. Should you have multiple parcels, the delivery service can also store your items free-of-charge for 30 days, helping you consolidate all your parcels before shipping them out together. This means you will be able to avoid paying expensive shipping charges several times over.

Besides that, Borderlinx also provides free repacking (to further decrease shipping costs), round-the-clock customer service, and DHL shipping services to your doorstep.

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