How I Buy from US-Based Online Shops | My Shopping Box
I love online shopping - that's no secret. It's amazing (sad for your wallet, though!) how you can buy things with just a few clicks, without even leaving the house. But have you ever needed something that's not available in your country? Or have you ever passed on buying something just because it's not available locally? The thing is... you don't have to. I've ordered quite a few stuff online - both from local stores and from US-based companies - over the past few years. It's easier than you think.
One of the things I feel like a lot of people are wondering about is how to order from US-based companies without 1) spending too much on shipping and 2) waiting too long for their order to arrive. There are a few ways to do this, and it's really up to you which way you choose. It will all depend on your budget, your schedule - if you need the item as soon as possible, if you are willing to wait and for how long.
I personally have tried...
- Having my order shipped internationally direct from the site
- Direct international shipping to the Philippines costs a lot
- Package will go to the post office, and you'll have to claim it from there yourself and pay a fee (last time I claimed something from the Quezon City PO, I paid ~50 Php, but I think it's 100+ Php now).
- Shipping usually takes at least month (but I haven't done this in years, so maybe it doesn't take as long now?)
- Having my order delivered to a friend or relative visiting abroad and get it when s/he comes back
- Of course you'll have to consider the weight and volume of your order because your friend will only have limited baggage allowance.
Both of those ways work but they may not always be practical. My favorite and most used way is using My Shopping Box, which is basically a shipping service that gives you a US address when you sign up. Then all you have to do is order from your store of choice and have it delivered to your MSB address. MSB will ship the package directly to your doorstep.
I first got introduced to MSB years ago but only started using it late 2015. Back then they had a yearly subscription fee of 25 USD for non-BDO card holders, but now there's no more sub fee, so you only need to pay for the MSB shipping!
Rates and Delivery
MSB shipping by air usually takes 1-2 weeks. It's double the price of shipping by sea, but it's way quicker. Shipping by sea would take 45-60 days according to their site.
Most of the stuff I order are within the 1-lb range, so I usually just pay the 5.99 USD base fee (air), which is not bad for an international package. Just to clarify, you'll need to pay a total of two shipping fees. First is the fee for shipping to your US/MSB address. Second is the fee for shipping from MSB's US warehouse to your Philippine address. Sometimes, though, companies offer free domestic shipping, and if you avail of those promos, you'll only need to pay the MSB shipping!
Please note, however, that if you order bigger or heavier items, the MSB fee will increase by a lot. My package from Amazon, for example, was shipped in a large box, so shipping cost 5x the usual. MSB measures by volume or weight (whichever is higher). I know companies package items differently depending on the number of items in your order (like how ColourPop usually ships in envelope mailers but sometimes they use boxes), so just take note of this!
Also note that right now, MSB does not consolidate packages from different merchants into one single package. I wish they did, though!
You can track the status of your package on their site, but another thing I wish, though, is for them to provide more specific tracking info. Right now you'll only see if your package has been shipped but not its exact location. You can always send them an email to ask for specific updates, like I do a lot of times because I get really anxious about my packages.
How it works
1) Create a My Shopping Box account for free to get US and Europe addresses.
2) Order from your website of choice and enter your MSB address in the shipping information.
3) Wait for your package to be delivered to your MSB address. Companies usually provide tracking numbers, so you can check the current status of your package. You'll get an email every time a package arrives at your MSB address.
4) Once your package has arrived, it will appear under the My Shipments tab in your MSB account.
5) Authorize shipping and pay the corresponding fee which is based on the weight or volume of your package.
6) Wait for package to arrive.
I have been using MSB for years and so far have not yet encountered any problems (*knocks on wood*)! I do remember, though, one time they sent me an Amazon package that was not mine. It had my address on the MSB shipping label but wrong suite number. I checked the Amazon label and it was indeed someone else's package. I immediately reported it to MSB, and they quickly had it picked up.
Here are the sites I was able to order from through My Shopping Box so far.
Oh, and MSB now also ships from Europe! I haven't tried it yet, but my account now comes with a Europe address in addition to my US address.
My Shopping Box is the only shipping service I've used so far, and I'm quite satisfied with the service. I know there are others companies offering the same, but this is just what I'm using.
Have you tried MSB before or are you using a different shipping service? Leave your recommendations below!