Fashion

A Quick Guide to Online Shopping in the Philippines

Shopping from overseas-based online retailers need not be a grueling experience.
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Thanks to the internet, shopping is now easier than ever. You can buy almost everything without leaving your bed and, in some cases, the country too. But online shopping can be a bit of a different experience in the Philippines than it is in other countries. (There are numerous import tax and shipping horror stories that prove that.) If you want to avoid facing the same problems, then this guide to online shopping in the Philippines might help. Here, we clear everything up from sizing to hidden fees down to the matter of shipping.

Online Shopping Sites in the Philippines

In 2016, online sales of menswear were forecast to grow exponentially in three years. And three years later, it's evident that the business is flourishing. Several retailers have popped up since then to offer the best in menswear, but one thing that's leading it is sneakers. Mr Porter's managing director Ian Tansley reveals, "In terms of a proportion of our business, we're seeing more money coming from shoes on Mr Porter than Net-a-Porter."

There are many retailers to choose from, whether your style is preppy or streetwear. However, you can never be too careful on the internet. As such, we've made a list of the best online shops, some of which come from the world's most popular brick and mortar stores such as Dover Street Market, LN-CC, and Bodega to name a few. Click here for a full list of our favorite, tried-and-tested retailers.

Sizing

Sizing can be hit or miss when shopping online, but there are different ways to make sure you get the right fit each time. Aside from checking the size chart, make sure you have your own measurements on hand. The best way to do this is to have a tailor take them the next time you have something done.

Additionally, some sites offer an online chat assistant that will answer any query, even sizing-related ones. Another thing to be mindful of are sizing conversions. While you can easily find size charts on the internet, you can base it on brands that you currently own for more accuracy. 

Do Your Research

It helps to do research before jumping the gun and clicking the buy button. You can discover sizing tips if you simply Google the brand and words like 'true to size' or 'sizing.' If your troubles are more than sizing, research is also worthwhile since it can lead to product reviews or other information you never thought you needed such as the material, quality, or more. Simply Googling the product and its description will also bring a bunch of other sites that offer it, too. Which brings us to our next tip...

Watch Out for Sales

Chances are, the product you want is on sale on another site. If it isn't, there are several third-party sites you can use to track sales and deals. Sites like Lyst and ShopStyle are like the fashion equivalents of Trivago and Booking. They search through several sites and from there, you can save an item and wait for it to go on sale. If fresh sneaker drops are what you're after though, it'll be more useful to subscribe to newsletters and crawl through forums for the latest news.

Hidden Fees & Duty

Don't let terrible experiences with shipping and taxes scare you off. If you read the fine print and go to the frequently asked questions section of a retailer, you can figure out if you can avoid the dreaded import tax.

Retailers like Mr Porter, Moda Operandi, and Luisa Via Roma ship with delivery duties paid to the Philippines which means relevant import taxes and duties are calculated at checkout and processed by the shops themselves. This means the item rarely, if at all, gets stuck in customs and is shipped straight to your home. Mr Porter, a subsidiary of Net-a-Porter, is particularly lauded for its three- to four-day shipping since it ships items from its Hong Kong outpost.

Shipping to the Philippines

If a site doesn't ship to the Philippines or it ships with delivery duties unpaid, you can go the forwarder route which is done with services like My Shopping Box and Johnny Air. It might look like you're spending a lot more on shipping, but if you think about it, you're saving more money by not having your product get stuck in customs. These forwarding services essentially pay off the delivery duties and additional taxes your item incurs. There's also the fact that, depending on the service you pick, you can get your item in a week or so. Just remember not to ship prohibited items... weapons, drugs, flammable goods, and more.

Returns & Refunds

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If for any reason, you decide that you don't want an item, then you can return it. Mr Porter allows you to return an item as long as it is new and unused with tags and labels still attached. It's as easy as signing on to your account and arranging an exchange or return. You can then, simply return it via DHL to make sure it's protected and insured. Mr Porter says though taxes and duties might apply, so make sure you're all-in on the purchase when you click the checkout button. Refunds, however, are a little more complicated. A retailer has to check the item before giving a refund and even then, it can take 10 days or more to process it.

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Paolo Chua
Associate Style Editor
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