It’s not easy being a shopaholic in Saudi Arabia. Yes, despite of all the sales and discounts and offers and promos, a true shopaholic knows no bounds. And doesn’t know satisfaction either. Haha! We crave a lot of stuff and items and sometimes, we yearn for products that are not easily available in Riyadh. Why we do this to ourselves, I have no idea. We just do. So we turn to online shopping and get our fill from free shipping or at minimal amount shipping. But then there are times that hey, some shopping websites are not yet shipping directly to Saudi Arabia. Seriously?! WHY! Oh well, that’s not a huge problem if you think about it because nowadays, we have couriers and shipping outlets that help us. In turn, we help them get more income. Here’s one option you might want to try on your next shopping escapade. Here’s an answer to all the “Oh no! They don’t ship to Saudi Arabia!”
Shop and Ship (SnS) is a service of Aramex that allows us customers to shop from 15 countries (US, UK, China, Turkey, UAE, India, South Africa, Hong Kong, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Singapore, Canada, and Malaysia) and then deliver our purchases at additional rates in our doorstep. How awesome is this? Gone are the days when we couldn’t shop at websites that doesn’t offer shipping to Saudi Arabia. Here’s how Shop and Ship works, in a nutshell:
- Sign up at Shop and Ship. Their lifetime membership is USD 10 (SR 37.50) if you use the code ONLYUSD10. When I signed up months ago, I had a promo code that had me paying just USD 5 for a lifetime membership.
- Once registered, Shop and Ship will give us physical addresses of 15 most popular cities in the world: New York, London, Shanghai, Istanbul, Dubai, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Frankfurt, Milan, Barcelona, Paris, Singapore, Ontario and Kuala Lumpur. You’ll see this in your account.
- Use these addresses when shopping at websites that only deliver to these countries. For example, you’re shopping at the Apple website because you want to get first dibs on their latest gadget release. Upon checkout, enter the address in the country that is applicable with your purchase (on Apple, it’s USA). You might have to pay the website a nominal shipping fee to get your purchase to the address so look for free shipping options.
- Once your purchase is completed, all you have to do is wait for your item to be delivered to the Shop and Ship address. You’ll receive an email informing you that your package arrived in the Shop and Ship address.
- Aramex processes your package and forwards it to your country of residence within 3-5 days. There will be a “Pay Now” feature in your account so you can pay the Shop and Ship shipping fee via credit card on the website. You can also wait for it to be delivered and pay cash on delivery.
- You receive a text message or an email informing you of the arrival of your item (in this case, KSA). Wait for the item to be delivered to you.
Easy huh? They have an infographic and a video which can help you understand their service more:
Well, there are of course pros and cons in this service. I have used Shop and Ship twice and I can say that their service is efficient. I didn’t have any problems with them so I guess I’m quite lucky when it comes to shipping. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of using this international shipping service:
- PRO: We can shop anywhere! There are a lot of online sites that don’t deliver to Saudi Arabia and woe us because we like their products! In my case, I wanted to try Ipsy, the beauty subscription box that only costs USD 10 per month. And I also want to get my hands on Colourpop makeup immediately. But both these sites, ipsy.com and colourpop.com don’t have international shipping options. So what do I do? Have a US forwarding address, of course! And that’s when I used the New York address given to me by Shop and Ship.
CON: It doesn’t work on all websites! So technically it’s a bit limited still. I wanted to buy at sephora.com a few weeks ago. I supplied the New York address again but my order was cancelled because I was using a third party shipping service. So I guess it’s still the prerogative of an online merchant whether or not we can use Shop and Ship.
- PRO: Purchases are delivered immediately. Once Aramex receives the items/packages, they immediately send it. When they received my order from Ipsy, they sent it the next day. The same went for my Colourpop order. It’s hassle-free! All I have to do was wait.
CON: They don’t consolidate packages. They sent my Ipsy and Colourpop orders individually so I had to pay the shipping fee twice. If they waited for my packages to come and they compiled them together in one box, then I probably would have paid less for shipping.
- PRO: They give addresses to 15 countries! We can literally shop on online sites in Dubai, London, Shanghai, etc. The choices are endless!
CON: We don’t need all those 15 countries. Have you bought anything from an online merchant in Mumbai? Johannesburg? Frankfurt? Nahhhh. For the most part, the UK and US addresses are the only ones you’ll ever need.
- PRO: Fast shipping. Because Shop and Ship is powered by Aramex, the items are delivered within 1-3 days of arriving here in Saudi Arabia. It’s also easy to track the packages because they give tracking numbers.
CON: And because it’s fast shipping, it is expensive. The rates are the following: If you’re ordering from US, UK, China, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong or South Africa, shipping to KSA is SR 68 for the first half kilogram and additional SR 37 for each additional half KG. If you’re shopping from Turkey, India, and UAE, then shipping to KSA is at SR 41 for the first half kilogram and SR 21 for each additional half KG. So you see, they’re really expensive. And we waste money if our purchase don’t reach 0.5 kg. But you have to give it to them for fast shipping.
- PRO: SnS Protect. If you’re worried about loast and damaged shipments, especially if they’re worth over $100 then SnS has an option for you to protect your items against loss or damage. Shipment value of up to $100 has no additional fee to pay. They’re automatically under the SnS Protect program. Every additional $100 though incurs $1 for the SnS Protect. So let’s say your package is worth $2000, then you have to pay an additional $19 for the insurance.
CON: There will be unexpected problems that you nor SnS want to happen to your package so just be ready. There might be problems with the item, there might be delays, etc. Know that nothing is ever perfect.
As an added bonus to Saudi Arabia residents, they also make purchasing and shipping perfumes possible. It’s not always possible to have liquid shipped. For an additional $10, you can avail of their SnS Select service and shop for any of the items from the US: perfume, nail polish, hair spray, hair growth products, deodorant spray and tanning spray. Although I’m not sure why you would want to order these in the States when they’re pretty much available here in Riyadh, especially the perfumes. Unless your perfume is really hard to find or one-of-a-kind. Or you prefer organic sprays. Haha!
I recommend using SnS only when you really want the product (and don’t want to wait too long) and there’s no other option for you to get it here in Saudi Arabia. For those who are asking if I paid anything other than the shipping fee of SnS, none. I didn’t pay any thing apart from what I bought, what it took to ship it to the US address, and what it took to ship it from US to KSA via Shop and Ship. No custom duties, no taxes, no whatever.
Soooo where in the world do you want to shop today?