So you decided to spend your hard-earned money on a gadget you’ve been eyeballing for a while, but you noticed that it costs a fortune less in the United States. Well, shopping and shipping from the US has never been easier specially with some major US retailers (see Amazon) accepting non-US credit cards. I’ll be mainly focusing on Amazon since it is where you will find the cheapest prices online.
In order to make a purchase on amazon you will need the following:
- An Amazon account.
- A US suite address (an address in the US where your goods will be shipped; explained later on)
- A credit/internet card.
How it works?
In order to ship from Amazon or other online US retailers to Lebanon, you will first need to have a US address that your goods will ship to. This address will be given to you by the shipping provider you will choose. That being said, There are many providers to choose from, the most widely known being Aramex’s shop and ship service, and DHL’s borderlinx service. I personally use borderlinx and I am satisfied with their service so far. I advise that you compare both offerings (and others) and decide which suits your needs best.
Next step is to add your credit card information as well as your billing and shipping addresses to your Amazon account. To avoid any confusion i’ll explain what these addresses exactly stand for:
Your billing address is the address associated with your credit/internet card. This is provided by your bank.
Your shipping address is the US address (suite address) that is provided by your shipping provider.
And that’s about it. You are now ready for your first purchase. You will be notified by email once your items have shipped from Amazon to your US address. You will also be provided with a tracking id so you can continuously check on the delivery process. Once the items have reached your US address, you will be notified of that as well by your shipping provider. Once shipped from the US, expect your items delivered to your doorstep in 1 business week max. You will receive 2 invoices: one from customs, the other from your shipping provider. Mabrouk!
Since the main objective of online shopping is to pay less, here are some tips to optimize your savings:
- Look for the cheapest seller.
- Make sure your item is eligible for free shipping (mentioned next to the item price).
- Choose “standard shipping” on checkout (all the items I have bought using “standard shipping” got delivered to my US address in 4 days tops which is totally acceptable in my opinion).
- No matter which provider you are shipping with, always consolidate your packages in order to PAY LESS shipping fees (benefits of consolidating packages explained here).
- Before proceeding with your purchase, check the Lebanese customs tariffs in order to know the customs fees applied on the type of product you are buying (note that you pay 0% custom fees on laptops and computer parts!)
Some useful links: