In february, 2011 Amazon’s UK division made a move that could potentially change the online shopping business paradigm in India, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. It started offering free shipping to all these 4 countries for orders above £25. Since the shipping charges on a standard £25 order could be to the tune of £15 to £18, it used to be prohibitively costly and unviable for customers to order. With that out of the window, things could change for the local players and us customers.
Taking this opportunity, i decided to order a few items, mostly books and Blu-Ray discs. Some of the points I noticed are -
- The Blu-Ray discs are a lot cheaper than the ones available in India. For example, the Batman/Dark Knight Blu-Ray combo, which is priced at Rs. 2399 in India was priced at around £13.5 at amazon.co.uk, which is roughly Rs. 1000.
- Many of the Blu-Ray discs, like that of Wanted, the Anjelina Jolie movie, is not available in India at all.
- Customs duty may be charged on the package if it has Blu-Ray discs. It mostly depends on the customs personnel handling he package. Of the three packages I ordered, I was charged for one of them a sum of Rs. 400. The package value was around Rs. 2000. You can mostly avoid this by marking the package as a gift during checkout.
Till now, I have placed 3 orders under this scheme. On an average, the free super-saver shipping takes 15-20 days to ship to the major cities in India. The earliest I have received is in 12 days.
As far as packaging is concerned, its actually pretty good. They pack the goods in card board boxes which are about the size of the items so that they don’t move around inside. One thing to note here is that the books, however big and heavy, are neither bubble or plastic wrapped. This can cause the dust jackets or covers of books to be slightly torn at the edges some times. I all for free shipping, it not bad at all. The items are mostly in very good condition.
Items offered with super saver shipping is mostly sent through Deutsche Post DHL, Royal Mail, USPS and Anpost. This means that on arrival in India, your package will be handled by India Post and not by any Private Courier as in the case of Priority Shipping. Of the three orders that I placed, 1 was shipped via Deutsche Post DHL and the other two by Royal Mail. In general, the Deutsche Post DHL package arrived within a shorter time. Not everything ordered from amazon.co.uk website is shipped from UK. The ones shipped via Deutsche Post DHL was shipped from Amazon’s Germany warehouse. Likewise items might also be shipped from their US warehouse which is generally via USPS. The items should reach within a month if you stay at some far off place and by far off I do not mean Ladakh. I mean a place outside the major cities.
In all I had a pleasant experience and would definitely recommend it to you all. The offer is valid till August 15, 2011 so hurry.
All trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners.