Why I will definitely be shopping on Amazon this Black Friday

Stop panicking – it is not Black Friday yet and you have not missed out on the deals.

Black Friday is on 23 November this year and you still have time to save. However, it pays to be prepared.

This Black Friday, I will definitely keep an eye on South African stores for a new TV and a cool PC case for that gaming rig I have been threatening to build for two years, but my main attention will be on Amazon.

The US-based ecommerce store recently ran its Prime Day sale, where it offers Prime members access to big discounts for a limited time.

The sale was awesome, and Amazon-branded products had serious discounts applied.

It was the perfect time to score an Echo smart speaker – and conduct a test run for Black Friday 2018.


Does not ship to SA

Amazon offers an array of products which, for South Africans, can be grouped into two categories: Ships to South Africa, and Does not ship to South Africa.

Products that are available to purchase and ship directly to SA state as much when you visit their listing page, and vice versa.

What’s cool about a product shipping directly to SA through Amazon is that you get a single bill.

Amazon charges you for the goods you buy, the shipping, and the import fees – and then handles the logistics for you.

Amazon Shipping
Does not ship to SA.

When you buy a product that does not ship directly to SA, like the Amazon Echo, it’s up to you to get the goods back home.

Fortunately, as the home of the brave and the free, there are US companies that exist to spread the country’s awesomeness around the world.


MyUS and Fedex

To take advantage of Prime Day, and test channels for Black Friday 2018, I signed up for a US address service called MyUS.

MyUS calls itself the number one player in the industry, and essentially lets you buy products from US stores, send them to a US address they control, and then ship on to South Africa.

The company sets you up with a “suite” address in Florida which you send your order from, for example, Amazon to.

They hold it in their warehouse, and then, via partnerships with the likes of Fedex and DHL, provide you with shipping options to your country.

Once your order is with MyUS, they repack it into a single box after checking all your goods are okay, and then the selected courier picks it up.

MyUS also offers zero US sales tax on goods, thanks to its tax-free postal code in the US.

For my order, I wanted the goods ASAP, and selected Fedex express – which saw my package arrive in less than a week after I placed my order with Amazon.

Fedex then handled the customs clearance, and import duties and VAT. It contacted me directly, and I made the necessary payments for the duties directly to Fedex via EFT.


The cost

Now to the important part – how much this all cost.

Amazon Prime Day is available to Prime members, who also get things like free shipping, access to Prime Video (Amazon’s version of Netflix), and a whole bunch of other stuff from the company.

Currently, it works out to just over R170 per month ($12.99).

MyUS offers multiple tiers to users – Single Package, Premium, and VIP. Premium is around R92 per month ($7), with the first month free, and is the option I selected.

In terms of the Prime Day deals I purchased, Amazon was offering up to 50% off (a proper 50% off – not a South African 50% off) its branded products, such as the Echo and Kindle.

I ordered an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, Cloud Security Cam, Echo 2nd-gen, two Echo Dots, and a TP-Link smart plug. This came to just under R3,700.

Fedex priority shipping through MyUS then set me back R1,900, while the import duties, VAT, and customs clearance was a bit over R1,500.

From ordering to opening the packages at home, the wait was under a week and cost a total of R7,399.

By comparison, local pricing for the items I purchased – excluding delivery – would have been R9,900.

The table below shows how much the Amazon order cost to import, along with the price of the individual items locally.

Order Pricing
Amazon US Import
Amazon Order R3,698
Fedex Priority Shipping (via MyUS) R1,908
Fedex VAT and Customs Clearance R1,529
Amazon Prime Membership R172
MyUS Membership R92
Total R7,399
Local Pricing
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (Wi-Fi 300ppi) R2,400
Amazon Cloud Security Cam R3,000
TP-Link Smart Plug R700
Amazon Echo (2nd Gen) R2,200
Amazon Echo Dot (x2) R1,600
Total R9,900

Drawbacks

There are drawbacks to ordering from the US, however.

First off, you are essentially buying grey imports and will not receive free local support and warranties as you would if buying the item locally.

This is a problem if your gear stops working after a couple months.

Your items will also have US plugs on them, which means you have to change the plug or buy a US adapter to use them in your wall sockets.

Lastly, tech items made for sale in the US – or other countries besides South Africa – come with software made for the US.

This means for smart home gadgets, for example, you will have to set up a US address for the system’s account so services are not geo-locked.


Black Friday 2018

With the ordering and importing from Amazon quick and easy, US Black Friday deals – which are always the envy of local shoppers – will definitely be on the to-buy list this year.


Now read: South African online shops tested – with unexpected results

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Why I will definitely be shopping on Amazon this Black Friday