Welcome to the Weekend of Deals. Not only is Sitex happening right now, but over in the US, Black Friday will be happening later today.
Just think of it as one super sale day in the United States when prices (and people) go crazy. Nowadays, Black Friday doesn’t just happen in the US, some local and regional stores and sites are also doing their own Black Friday sales here.
1) When should I get an item I want?
The rule of the thumb here is that if it's on sale on Black Friday itself (and not a pre-Black Friday sale promotion), you should get it. There's a very slim chance it might be a bit cheaper on Cyber Monday (the Monday following Black Friday). If you're feeling lucky, you can stalk an item you want throughout the day since as we mentioned earlier, most sites have flash sales.
Flash sales have prices that tend to offer even higher discounts over the Black Friday ones but the downside is that these sales last only a short time (hours, sometimes minutes) and the inventory assigned to them is limited. It's not uncommon for a retailer's website to crash because of the immense traffic flash sales generate, especially if it's a great item that's on sale. It happens every year and chances are it'll happen again this year too.
2) Will there be voltage issues with electrical products?
Yes. The US uses 110V while we use 240V for our electricity. Before buying make sure to check the voltage requirements of your item. If it's listed as 110V only, you will need a step-down transformer to convert the 240V from the power outlet to a 110V input to safely use your overseas acquired equipment. On the other hand, if the voltage requirements list it as being from 110V - 240V, then you're safe. Remember to also account for the difference in power plugs between both countries, which may need a converter depending on your wall power socket design.
3) Is there local warranty?
In most cases, no. But some retailers allow you to return your purchases to them if they fail or you're not satisfied with your item within a specific amount of time for replacement or reimbursement. Check where you bought your item to find out their return policy.
4) Can I avoid paying tax?
Do keep in mind that anything above SGD$400 or more will incur a 7% tax. If you're buying a single item that costs more than that, you're out of luck and just have to bite the bullet but if you're buying multiple items, you can ship them separately so that they don't end up costing more than SGD$400 total.
5) How do freight forwarders work?
It used to be that when an item wasn't available to be shipped overseas, you'd have no other option but to wail and gnash your teeth in frustration. Thankfully, nowadays that problem is easily solvable. Simply use freight forwarding services like vPost, Comgateway, Borderlinx or HopShopGo.
Think of freight forwarders as virtual addresses. When you sign up with a forwarder, you'll be assigned a custom address for your mail. Simply use that address when you're buying stuff and get your items sent there. Once the forwarders receive your item, they'll match it to your assigned address and then appraise you of its arrival and delivery charge. You'll have a deadline to pay (from a few weeks to a two months depending on which service you use) before your item gets charged for using up storage space.
Some forwarders also offer extra services like repacking options (in which they compile all your packages into one to cut down on weight and shipping charges). If there's tax to be paid, the forwarders will take care of it too and then include the price in your final total. Once everything is settled and you've paid your bill, the forwarders then mail your item to your local address.
6) Are freight forwarders trustworthy and safe?
Generally they are BUT some people have mentioned of late deliveries and lost mail. We've been using them for a while ourselves and can confirm that sometimes they do deliver packages later than the due date but thus far, have zero issues with lost packages.
7) What does #BBBMTL mean?
BBBMTL is short for “buy buy buy mai tu liao,” the last three words are Hokkien for “don’t hesitate.”
P.S. If you prefer to see, hold and touch your gear before you buy them, then check out the deals you can get at Sitex this weekend, happening at the Singapore Expo.