Saturday, November 8, 2014

Look at Shipping when Online Shopping!

I just saved 25% by spending an extra 15 minutes comparing prices online.

I think most people by now must have realized that buying goods directly off the internet is HEAPS cheaper than buying from a brick-and-mortar store.

PROS: Convenience and better prices
Not subsidizing rental
Not subsidizing labour
24/7 availability

CONS: Low Confidence and Poor Experience
No ability to touch and feel item before purchasing
No personalized assistance from shopkeepers

Clothes are one thing that I think are not the ideal goods for online purchases. With such variance in size, cutting, fabric, etc, I think it is hard to have a online substitute of a retail store.

However, I am a fan of buying standardized goods online. Any good that you know is the same thing if you bought it in Thailand or Taiwan. A mug. A calculator. A letter opener. (Just listing the things I saw on my desk) All these things, regardless of location sold, if they have the same brand, they are more often or not produced from a single country of origin, with the same quality and then distributed around the world. These are the goods that I am talking about here. Same quality and same product, regardless if you bought it from Shop A, Shop B or Website C or Website D.

Being in the working world, I am exposed to a lot of new things that I previously did not know about. Singapore is such a global trading hub that you see ships delivering goods from one part of Europe to a trading house in Singapore, only to be sent back to Europe again but to a different country. The ability to arbitrage prices is still around today, although opportunities are shrinking each day as more information becomes readily available on the public domain.

Anyway, I just wanted to share an online shopping experience that I had recently.

Most people would think that Ebay or Amazon or the big online retailers would have pretty good prices right? Well, wrong.

(just buying some sporting good that isn't available in Singapore)

By just goofing around and comparing prices, you can see that buying directly from the retailer might not be the most price friendly in terms of the item itself, but the shipping cost was actually what made the difference.

Just like for investing, Capital Gains + Dividends = Total Return
It's the same for online shopping, Product + Shipping = Total Price

Too many people get caught in the price of the product itself and forget to look at the total price, very similar to how many investors only look at yield these days and are blindsided to the total return.

So perhaps the next time when you think about buying something, you might want to consider buying it online where you might get extra rebates or discounts with your credit cards. And be sure to check around on a few different websites to compare prices. And never forget to check the shipping charges because they are the sneaky ones that can really kill you!


  1. Hi GMGH

    Hahahaha my wife always buy her clothes online. I don't hv a habit of purchasing them online unless they were not available at the shop somehow. I like getting the customer shopping experience since I hardly ever shop.

    1. Hi B,

      Yes, my sister buys her clothes online too. Her wardrobe is at least twice the size of mine, easily!

      Maybe because most men don't shop as often, so we have a preference to "do-it-once,do-it-good", haha!

  2. Great post! Thanks you so much for the share. It is indeed a helpful one.
    Home Accessories | woman fashion


Observe the house rules.