Online Shopping – Korea, New Zealand and Beyond

I do a large amount of my shopping online especially here in Korea where it is harder to find products and very easy to shop online. Even back in New Zealand I would do a bit when I could afford it. Sometimes if there is something that I can’t get here in Korea I will buy it online in New Zealand and have it shipped to my parents house. That way my Mum can send it to me the next time she sends me a care package. I did this when I wanted to buy an Ereader, I decided on the Kobo which was available in New Zealand through Whitcoulls Booksellers. It turned out to be easier and cheaper doing it this way.

So these are some of the online sites that I use, I will put where they ship to but many of them are worldwide as that makes things so much easier for those of us not living in America.

These first few are big online shopping mall type places where you can find many different things.

Trademe – Trademe is the go-to New Zealand auction site. It’s great and has almost everything you could ever want to find. Most items are second-hand but you can also find sellers who are mini-shops selling new items. You can do a search for it just to list new items so that’s really useful. They also recently started to let sellers from elsewhere in the world list items. I’m not sure of the guidelines on that but it always lists where the seller is located. In New Zealand I used to buy all sorts on here, mostly jewellery but have also bought computer stuff, books and clothes. The last time I went home I needed to go to a wedding and I was only going to be flying in about one day before it. I did not have time to buy a dress and I can’t really find anything in Korea as I am plus size. I looked on many websites and then finally as a last ditch effort I  found some on Trade Me, they were new and really cheap so I bought two dresses. This way I would have a choice in case one looked bad or anything. I had them sent to my parents house and they were there waiting for me when I arrived. I ended up wearing a long green maxi dress that I paid about $30 NZ for and got a lot of compliments on.

Amazon – I have used Amazon in the past both to New Zealand and to Korea but have not done so for a couple of years now. The reason for that is the shipping cost. I used to use them in New Zealand for DVD’s that were not available in New Zealand. We have really crappy programing in New Zealand although it has gotten better in the last few years as they try and compete with the internet. We used to not get some series until years after they aired on American networks. Supernatural for instance was one I bought the first few series for. They were up to about season 3 in America already out on DVD before the first season finally aired in New Zealand. I got sick of waiting and the cost was not too bad at that time for a couple of DVD series packs. When I first got to Korea I remember I bought some clothes and books from Amazon  I must have decided the shipping was worth it  perhaps it was cheaper then because all the times I have gone to  buy things since then I get to the shipping page and balk at the cost. They sometimes estimate it will be almost as much as what you are buying. There are rumors about them coming to Korea in which case I would take another look.

Gmarket – Gmarket is the Korean go-to online shopping mall.  It was bought out by Ebay a few years back.  It’s a little different from Trademe and Ebay as it’s not an auction site. It’s more of an online mall. There are lots of sellers who have mini-shops and can list all of the items they have for sale. Some of the sellers are ones that also have brick and mortar shops but some are just online retailers who are using Gmarket as their primary selling platform. I love Gmarket, I shop on there almost every month, you can find everything you want and usually at good prices. If it’s an imported product it will probably be more expensive. I have bought furniture, jewellery, makeup and skincare, books and grocery items from this site along with a whole lot more. When I first got here it was a bit hard as the site was not very English friendly, they did have an English version but some of it was still hard to navigate. Since then however it has been slowly growing its worldwide appeal and the English site is really easy to navigate now. Lots of their items ship worldwide and you can easily see if it does because it has a little airplane next to the listed item.

Fishpond – Fishpond is another New Zealand based site although they do have Fishpond.com and Fishpond.com.au. It started as a place for books, music and movies but you can find many other things on there now too. It was a place where New Zealanders and Australians could get more imported items and take advantage of the online shopping that was available everywhere but our little corner of the world. They sell both new and used products and I’ve purchased a few books from them in the past. They have a pretty good range at good prices. I might have a look at their international site and see what the shipping is like. It’s always good to find new sites.

iHerb – iHerb is a site I only discovered once I got to Korea. They ship worldwide so a lot of the forums would talk about this site and Americans would say how they can get some of their favourites from back home. Initially I did not have much interest, I had a look but there was nothing I really needed, it was a lot of organic type products and nothing that I had to have. Then a few years back I started to get interested in more healthy and natural stuff, when looking for some of the products that were recommended I rediscovered iHerb and all its glory. I have mainly bought food items but they have a lot of skincare and makeup so I have purchased a few different things over the past couple of years. They have very reasonable shipping rates and often have deals where if you buy over a certain amount you get free shipping.

Mini in the Box – Mini in the box is part of a larger site called Light in the Box and is based in China. The main site does bigger items like sports gear and clothing, they have a big wedding section too. The one I use is their site called Mini in the Box which is for smaller items like gadgets and cell-phone covers. It’s super cheap and it’s not the best quality but for the price it’s one of those ‘you get what you pay for’ things. I have bought some ipad/ipod cases, Samsung phone cases and a few novelty items from here. It’s good for those little things you don’t want to pay a huge amount for. I got three cases for my phone, they were all under 10,000won. One of them has broken pretty quickly but I have been using it every day and it’s been in my purse a lot. I can’t really complain but I hope the others last a bit better. They ship worldwide and have a lot of sales and deals. I have not paid for shipping yet as it’s always been a deal.

The next few sites are more specialty sites that cater to one product.

StrawberryNET – I’m adding this one here because it’s a makeup/skincare/perfume site which goes with my blog but I have not purchased from here yet. I do look on there often but I have always found things elsewhere or it has just not been worth it. With my renewed interest in beauty I might find more use for this in the future. My good friend back in New Zealand buys from here all the time. She gets a lot of her skincare and makeup from the site and has told me that their rewards system is quite good too.

Dorothy Perkins – The online store for the UK based clothing store Dorothy Perkins is my favourite clothing store. They do really pretty clothes at good prices and best of all they cater to a range of sizes from petite to plus size. Being a plus size girl in Korea is hard because they just don’t cater to those larger sizes very well. Dorothy Perkins has been a godsend. I buy from there very often and they ship worldwide no problems. The shipping fee is usually around 10 pounds which is not bad but they often have free shipping deals so I just look out for those. I can’t say too many good things about this store, their clothes are super cute and they always look really nice on. I have liked them since I lived in the UK a good many years ago so it’s nice to still be able to shop there. I have had a few packages go astray but not for a while and those few times they have refunded me the full amount of the package.

Book Depository – The Book Depository is the UK based online books shop that offers free worldwide shipping. What more could you ask for. I love books and although I do a lot of my reading electronically these days, because it’s easier when you are traveling, sometimes I do like to buy the hardcopy books. I have bought some language books from them recently as I want to learn Spanish and it’s easier to have the book you can hold than the electronic version. I find retain things easier or at least I think I do. I also recently used this site for Christmas gifts for my nieces and nephews. I actually used Amazon to pick out the books as their website is better for searching and browsing books and then I bought them on Book Depository and had them sent to my parents house. My Mum kindly wrapped them all up and put them under the tree. Apparently they were a big hit – it was super easy and at great prices too.

Do you know of any other great sites that ship worldwide for a reasonable price? If you have any that you think I should check out let me know. I always love to find new shopping places.

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