There is no denying, Amazon is the global leader as retail e-commerce company. With operations based mainly in United States and independent marketplaces in Europe, they have established very strong ground to the biggest markets. How about Asia, which has been proven to be harder to penetrate? Also other countries that is currently unreachable directly.
Their solution is called AmazonGlobal. The way it works is very simple, Amazon will send the order directly from their US store/warehouse and have the customs fee estimated upfront. This allows Amazon to ship to additional 65 countries around the world and hoping to compete with other e-commerce companies who are operating locally. I personally doubt they will be able to generate much revenue from here, compared to what they are already earning, it is more about prestige and as very early step to dominate global market.
It is very important to note that not all products, in fact only very small percentage of their massive catalog, which are eligible for AmazonGlobal shipping option. They are only items that are sold and shipped by Amazon.com and very likely the ones that qualify to enter by local customs.
You can also start by going to their AmazonGlobal page to browse the catalog with products that are eligible with this offer.
If you are already familiar with Amazon, there is nothing new here. You browse and search for the products you are looking for and add them to the shopping cart. Upon checkout, you will see the breakdown and total of your order that you will need to pay. Aside from the normally high shipping cost (from US to Indonesia), you will also find the Import Fees Deposit.
The Import Fees Deposit will be used to reimburse the carries for the import fees that they have paid on your behalf to the appropriate authorities (read: customs) of the destination country.
Amazon also offers two types of shipment:
- AmazonGlobal Expedited Shipping (averages 5-10 business days)
- AmazonGlobal Priority Shipping (averages 2-4 days)
I had ordered with Amazon many times before, although usually for smaller items for direct shipping to Indonesia (without using AmazonGlobal) or asked a friend to bring it back from US during his travel there. But when I saw Philips Fidelio X1 at half the suggested retail price from $300 to $150 on Amazon’s Today’s Deals page and it was eligible for International shipping, I could not resist to order it. I threw in a Sandisk Cruzer 16GB as it almost added nothing to the shipping cost.
A total of $235.60 for $300 retail priced product, including shipping, import fees, and an extra USB stick with decent capacity. Not bad at all. Placed my order and then I waited.
For carrier partner, Amazon worked with i-Parcel to track down the International shipment. It provided regular updates to the package, until it reached local customs. Then it was stuck for over a week, which I was not too surprised. After making several contacts with reps from i-Parcel regarding the status of customs clearance, my order finally arrived.
From the estimated delivery of 5-10 business days, it ended up to more like 20 business days which was still acceptable. It was more important for me to know the package was handled very well. The box of the headphones which was rather large was in perfect shape, no bend whatsoever or anything lost or tempered.
After nearly 6 weeks from the delivery date, I also received an email from Amazon that they had refunded an amount of $19.55 from the Import Deposit Funds. Wow, that makes the total order only $216.05!
Is ordering through AmazonGlobal shipping recommendable? YES, but only if you cannot find the products in your local stores or if the total price after additional fees is noticeably less than what you can grab locally.