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The World of Online Shopping Mexico Style

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Man relaxing with his laptop near the beach
Credit: Goodshoot | Thinkstock

When I first moved to Mexico back in the Stone Age, the Internet was in its infancy and there were no smart phones or Amazon.com. When we had friends or relatives coming to visit we would give them a laundry list of things to bring, anything from books and magazine to wine and Italian sausages, and ALWAYS sheets and towels. Now, thanks to technology, “mules” are a thing of the past, replaced by the world of online shopping Mexico style.

So, what are your online options?

Amazon.com

When you are on the U.S. website, you can choose a filter on the left side of the screen that says, “Ships to Mexico.” Then when you do your search, only those items that can be shipped to Mexico appear. Amazon also has its Mexico website, amazon.com.mx, and all items on that site are available within Mexico.

Borderfree.com

Borderfree is a marvelous newish service that has been a game-changer for me. Borderfree acts as a kind of customs broker for participating retailers and will handle the customs and duties involved so that you do not have to deal with them. You should visit the website to see which stores participate, but I have ordered from Nordstrom, Macy’s, L.L.Bean, Sam Edelman Shoes and Chico’s with great success. Every store is different on shipping times but items usually arrive in Mexico seven-to-10-days after ordering.

Sephora.com.mx

Yay, Sephora is here! This has been a long time coming but we can finally get our Sephora products fix in Mexico. The Mexican online shop does not carry products if those products actually have a web presence in Mexico. So, for your Kiehl’s, Mac Cosmetics, L’Occitane and others, you will need to shop on their individual websites.

Costco.com.mx

Yes, Virginia, Costco delivers! I find online shopping at Costco terrific when I do not have the time to go, or the product I want is larger and heavier than what I can handle (or will fit in a small taxi). I have successfully ordered televisions, washing machines and, of course, wine.

Apple.com.mx

We may not have an Apple store, but we have an online store. When new products are introduced in the U.S., Mexico is never far behind and the web version is easily navigable and the follow up is terrific.

MercadoLibre.com.mx

Mercado Libre has been around for a while and we always called it the “Amazon of Mexico.” They have a wide range of products and lots of Mexican artisans. I have purchased lots of decorative items for my house through this website.

Ingredienta.com

Foodies rejoice! This Mexico City-based website has gourmet food products and hard-to-find ingredients. It also has great gift ideas – I had fresh truffles flown in at Christmas.

Petsy.mx

This online pet store has free delivery for all orders over $500 pesos. They have a wide variety of pet products and top brands like Hill’s Science Diet, Royal Canin, Blue Buffalo and Diamond. You can even chat online with a vet if you have questions about your pet or their products.

Now that you have the lay of the online shopping land in Mexico, here are a few tips to ensure that things go smoothly:

1. Use an address that is easy to reach and where there is someone to receive the package. I use my office because it keeps regular hours. Condominium buildings that have a front desk also work well. Online services use FedEx, DHL and UPS. Amazon has its own service as well. If you do a lot of shopping, the delivery guys will get to know you and your schedule and an occasional tip is much appreciated. Israel, my DHL deliveryman calls me when he has a package for me to see where I am!

2. Pay the duties and taxes ahead of time rather than C.O.D. It saves time and hassle for the delivery people and you are not surprised with a large bill when the product arrives.

3. Don’t ever select standard or regular mail shipping. It will likely not arrive. Nor will anything sent via the United States Postal Service.

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