Those of us who live here, winter here, or have rentals here have all experienced the struggle and frustration of not being able to find the product you want in town. Those times you did find what you wanted, you very likely spent half your day looking.
As we mentioned in a previous article, Amazon has finally broken into the Mexico market. Now that some time has passed, they have worked out many of the kinks and have a pretty decent selection of products. The best part about it is that Amazon will pre-charge you for customs/duties and take care of everything needed to get the package to your house, but there are a few gotchas to watch out for (more on that in a minute).
The selection of items you can ship to Mexico is still nowhere near what you can get shipped the States, but it grows every day. Some items of frustration are those considered supplements or medicine. Mexico doesn’t really allow that stuff to cross the border.
The trick to making sure your stuff makes it to Mexico is using a seller on Amazon that ships via Amazon Global shipping. Amazon Global ships via DHL and other major carriers. If you order a product that just says it ships to Mexico, but not via Amazon Global, then there is a real risk the product will come via the US Postal Service and then be handed off to the notoriously terrible Mexican Postal Service. With the Mexican Postal Service, it is a pretty sure bet that you won’t get your product any sooner than 30 days and probably a 50% chance it will be lost or stolen. In a recent experience, I ordered something that did not ship Amazon Global and it took about two and a half months to reach me.
So how do you easily make sure your stuff comes via Amazon Global? Here are a few steps to take:
Change your default address in Amazon. Enter your Mexican address as a shipping address in Amazon and set it as your default address. This will change the way Amazon presents information about a product to you. For example, if an item does not ship to Mexico it will tell you when you are looking at the product.
But if it does ship, then you will see details about how it ships. First key thing to note is that it will display how much Shipping and Import fees are, so you know that import duties will be calculated. Second key is that you will see that you are offered the AmazonGlobal Priority Shipping, meaning that it should ship AmazonGlobal. You don’t need to actually do the Priority part unless you are in a rush. Just AmazonGlobal shipping will get it down here in about 10-14 days if it is in stock and ships from the States.
To change your default address, go to Your Account–>Add a new Address. After adding the address, you will be shown your address book, find the newly added Mexico address and then click the link under it to make it the default shipping address.
While the above is helpful when you are a looking at a specific product, sometimes you are doing a search on Amazon and you would like it to filter your results so you only see stuff that ships to Mexico. Well, if you have set your default address in Mexico, you should now have a filter option for “Ship to Mexico” when you do a search. Tick that box and you will only see items that ship to Mexico. This does not guarantee that all results will ship AmazonGlobal, but it gets you a lot closer.
Here are a couple example of searches that I filtered and saved so you can see what is available:
- Smart Plugs (for remotely turning things off and on or on a schedule)
- Top Sellers on Amazon
- Laptops that ship to Mexico
- Tablets that ship to Mexico
Finally, when you get to the checkout, you can verify the shipping information next to your product. Duties are not collected on all products, but generally if you order more than $50 of items Amazon will collect duties. They also frequently offer free shipping on orders over $65, which helps offset the duties cost.
Another thing to keep in mind. Amazon will not offer free shipping on oversized or heavy items. So, don’t expect to order that exercise bike and get it here with free shipping. Shipping internationally can actually be extremely expensive, but you can get a number of items from Amazon and leverage their great shipping prices.
All of this is written about Amazon.com. People have asked me why not order on their Mexican site, Amazon.com.mx. In reality the items available to you are pretty much the same once you filter your search results. Any Amazon seller that will ship to Mexico is going to show up on the Mexican site as well as on the U.S. site. So, if you want to shop in pesos and Spanish, go right ahead. I prefer to shop in English and USD.
Where else can you shop? I have had success with a couple other sites, but be warned they are in Spanish.
Mercado Libre is organized a bit more like eBay and you can order new and sometimes find used items. I have ordered things like synthetic motor oil and had it delivered without problem, and they take foreign credit cards. http://www.mercadolibre.com.mx/
Privalia is a bit of a fun site. They are like Zulily in the U.S. They have different deals all the time from different manufacturers. Mostly fashion related, everything from shoes, to kids clothes, to sunglasses, to watches, to cell phones, to baggage and more. https://mex.privalia.com
Every year things get a little bit easier. It’s a great time to be alive!