Karan ShahJul 28, 2012 15:53:48 IST
We bet many of you fascinated by cheap, Chinese gadgets, small and big, would like to have them for fun or work. Be it fancy Apple accessories, LED gadgets, car accessories, tablets, phones, toys or hobby products, the Chinese market is full of stuff that you would wish was available at a store near you. Usually, streets markets are filled with LED and lighting gadgets, and small toys available for cheap. But where do you find cheap Chinese accessories for mobile phones, tablets, audio equipment or car décor?
Several online shopping websites such as eBay sell Chinese gadgets and accessories, but they are not as cheap, and additionally involve a shipping fee. Here is a selection of Chinese websites that sell these products, and ship them worldwide for free.
For free shipping, you have to sacrifice on delivery time as shipping to India usually takes anywhere between 15 and 30 days. The parcels arrive via air mail (China or Hong Kong post) through various air routes into the country, and are screened at the main customs' office for contents to filter out, illegal items, and products that need duty to be paid for. Then they get deployed to various cities, local post offices, and finally to your doorstep.
The websites are neatly designed and the products are easy to find.
En route, if your parcel is lost, damaged or unfortunately flicked, then you can consider yourself unlucky. But there are ways to safeguard your product delivery. You can opt for a tracking number, at a nominal additional cost, where each parcel is tracked by the shipping company all the way from China to your local post office. They can then pin-point the exact route, present destination and status of the parcel at any given time, assuring you of the receipt of your parcel. However, if you want your product to surely reach you faster and safely, you can opt for shipping services such as DHL, UPS or other international courier services. However, these services come at a very steep price, and at times you end up paying almost 3 to 10 times more than the product itself. We suggest you opt for these shipping methods only if you have shopped for multiple items, expensive items, or if you really want them urgently delivered. The shipping options are available just before you finally checkout for payment.
Discount coupons and service charges
These websites also offer heavy discounts using coupon code systems. Coupon codes can be searched for online through various websites such as couponcactus.com, dealcatcher.com, and dealspl.us. These coupons vary in discounts ranging from 2 percent to 50 percent on either a minimum shopping bill of USD 10, or any other amount. The currency is calculated by default in USD, but you can change it to INR, if you wish. However, it is usually preferable to transact in USD, because when payments are exchanged, they are done in US dollars. Remember, when you pay online, you will be charged a service fee by the payment company, which is usually 5 percent to 10 percent of the bill. This charge varies from one payment gateway to another.
Checkout is easy with advantages of points and coupons for discounts.
Most of these online shopping websites offer a range of products that can fulfill your desire of acquiring cheap Chinese products, and most of these are of good quality. All you need to do is register yourself for free, fill out your details such as shipping address and phone number, and you are ready to add stuff to your cart. Payments can be done through various methods, which include the safe and friendly PayPal, Visa or Master debit or credit card, or direct net banking. Some of these websites offer points on every purchase, which can be redeemed later for a free gift or added discounts. These websites also offer bulk or wholesale purchases, and have heavy discounts and clearance sales from time to time. Lastly, these websites also offer dropshipping options, where they remove all the labels and traces of their company name from the package in case you want it delivered to someone else as a gift. However, do remember, dropshipping will only get rid of the online website’s name and not the contents of the package because of customs and duty rules. Dropshipping is usually free or costs around USD 0.01. We patronised a few of these websites over the past few months, and here is what we experienced with a few of them.
Websites: Focalprice.com, Suntekstore.com, Lightake.com, Dealextreme.com, Madeinchina.com.
Categories available: Apple accessories, cell phones, tablets, apparel, home and office, car accessories, computers and networking, consumer electronics, health and beauty, sports, toys and hobbies, video games, electronics, computer hardware, jewellery, watches, surveillance and security, novelties, cameras and camcorders, health and beauty.
Payment options: PayPal, Visa, MasterCard or American Express via PayPal, bank transfers, WebMoney.
Shipping options: Airmail (free), EMS, DHL, TNT, UPS, FedEx
Other options: Wholesale, Affiliate programs, dropshipping
Customer service: Live chat, email, telephone
Bonus: Points, coupons, gifts
Delivery to Mumbai, India: Average 20 – 25 days by free shipping.
These websites are China's B2C e-Commerce export sites, with over 900,000 items across almost 100 categories up for sale. These sites claim to offer around 10 percent to 70 percent lower prices compared to other similar sites. The websites are very neatly designed without any fancy flash animations, which disturb the buyer with discounts, running offers, and sales. The categories are listed on the left which can instantly take you to the desired product on a speed track. Alternatively, you can also search for any product by its item (SKU) number, a keyword describing the product or its category. Towards the right are dedicated windows for offers and deals, gift and rewards and other advertisements. The center strip has another category, which lists new arrivals, top selling products, deals, brands, reviews, videos, etc. Towards the bottom left is a section that highlights exclusive deals such as clearance sales, and brand sales from time to time. Scrolling down on the left is a list of recently purchased items and reviews on the products from customers, and your recent history of browsed items.
A Chinese tablet for cheap
Once you start browsing through categories, you have options such as "add to cart" for immediate purchase, "add to wish list" for purchasing later. Also, displayed are the number of items bought, price match with other websites, videos and reviews of customers who bought them, a detailed description and specifications, along with photos and videos of the product you are looking at. Lastly, they usually maintain a database, and list out other items that the customers have bought along with this one.
After buying some items and receiving them on time, we shopped for a 3 Watt IR LED from Focalprice.com. The LED was dead on arrival, and hence we contacted the RMA department (Customer service) immediately. They replied within a few hours of us sending the email. They asked us how we tested it, and also to confirm the faulty product we should send its pictures or videos. We shot a video of the product test and uploaded it to their website. And guess what? The very next day they asked if we wanted another piece reshipped or a refund for the product. We opted for a refund, and our money was back in our PayPal account on the third day. Overall, FocalPrice is a good and trusted place to shop online for gadgets and stuff.
Similar to Focalprice.com are websites such as Suntekstore.com, Dealextreme.com and MadeInChina.com. But the prices and specifications of certain products can vary. On the other hand, LighTake.com is solely dedicated to electronics and gadgets. They too have very good customer service, and respond within a day, if in case something goes wrong. Usually these websites don’t ship out products or entertain customer service complaints on weekends and Chinese holidays. Once you place an order, the shipping takes some time to begin. First your payment is realized, then the item is procured from the respective dealer, distributer or retailer. It goes into quality check and then packaging. This procedure itself takes around 4 – 5 days. Once it leaves the company, it takes anywhere between 15 – 20 days to arrive at your doorstep.
We have not yet had any bad experience with any of these websites, although there was one episode with DailyShop.com. We had placed an order worth USD 27, and did not receive the parcel for almost three months. The customer service kept promising that they had shipped it, and it should arrive within a few days, and that we should be patient. They also asked us to check with our local post office for any problems such as customs clearances. Finally, we filed a dispute with PayPal, and explained the complete story. They contacted the website we shopped with and exchanged a few emails between us and the website customer help desk. Around 20 days later, we received a full refund back into our PayPal account. We did not have to do anything more than just file a complaint with PayPal.
In order to safeguard your money, we would advise you to opt for parcel tracking or a registered shipping method, unless you are spending on goods priced under USD 10 - 20. If you are spending higher amounts, we recommend getting a courier shipping done, which will not only be delivered within seven days; it will also be safe and tracked.
A super cheap Android-based tiny full HD media player
Once you start browsing these websites, you will find the wildest gadgets for dirt cheap. For example, Chinese 7-inch tablets are available for just USD 59 (approx Rs 3,500) onwards, and an Android-based HD media player the size of a thumb drive is available for as cheap as USD 72 (approx Rs 4,300) onwards. You might bump into some of the items that could turn out necessary for your home, office or car. You can even earn bonus points and get free gifts in exchange. Once you buy a product, you can write a review of the product you bought and gain points. Additional points are offered for uploading product photos and even more for videos. What's more, shop for USD 10 or more and get a USD 2 discount on your next purchase of a minimum price of USD 10.
Please note that these offers and discounts vary from website to website. Do read the terms and conditions properly before you patronize their products. This article is written as per the experience we had with these websites.
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