Hello, I am Aika, and I’m a lazy person.
There are people who like to brave the metro traffic and go to malls and/or bazaars to find gifts for their loved ones.
And then there are people like me who would rather not, thank you very much.
Thank the gods for online stores!
I think all the gifts I’m giving away this year were brought from online stores. So let me help you with your list and share with you some favs when it comes to online shopping.
Lazada is like eBay but the delivery system is more centralized.
When you buy at eBay, you pay the seller directly, the seller ships your item. You are transacting directly with the seller.
The same is slightly not true when you shop at Lazada. You transact directly with Lazada, and I think that’s ultimately more secure, because if you have any problems with your purchase, you talk to Lazada.
I am mentioning first Lazada because that place has a WIDE range of products (unlike Zalora and BeautyMNL).
In 2017 alone, I had 25 transactions with them. Items ranged from mouse (the computer part, not an actual mice!) to lipsticks to flash drives to books.
Very recently, I bought a couple of washable diapers as gifts for an inaanak.
I highly suggest Lazada for your gift-giving needs BUT YOU HAVE TO BE CAREFUL. Some items are substandard. But you know, they’re cheap, so manage your expectations according to the amount you pay. I also saw comments on some fake Nyx lippies that a merchant sells.
Stick with official online stores. Check the feedbacks.
If you’re not happy with your purchase, return it.
Here are other things you should know:
Multiple items in a single order will come separately UNLESS you buy them from the same owner.
Delivery time varies depending in the seller.
Zalora focuses mainly on clothes, shoes, bags, cosmetics, and the likes. You won’t find any computers here.
Or will you? Wait let me check
Nope, you won’t.
Anyway, Zalora is also a good place to look for them perfect gifts. I had multiple transactions with them, but not lately.
BeautyMNL and Sephora
Though Lazada and Zalora both sell cosmetics, I highly suggest you go with BeautyMNL and Sephora instead because that’s their specialty (unless Lazada and Zalora are on sale and/or your shades are not available at BeautyMNL/Sephora).
Deliveries were also consistenly fast in my experience with BeautyMNL. Sephora will take longer since they ship from Singapore I think.
Zalora, Lazada, BeautyMNL, and Sephora all have applications, btw.
Fully Booked and other pubhouses
If you want to give books as gifts (you should), then Fully Booked and National Bookstore offer delivery.
I have yet to try NBS’s online store because NBS is basically everywhere anyway. Fully Booked, on the other hand is super scarce. I had one transaction with their online store and it went okay. It was not a next day delivery thing, tho.
Some publishers also accepts online orders. I think Visprint does. I have yet to try that. I ordered a Visprint book from Lazada.
I was able to try, however, Adarna. They just have a high price for delivery, but if you’re looking for something in particular from them, then you can try their site.
Shoppee (with reservations)
Shoppee is like a less-coordinated version of Lazada. There are tons of great finds there, but I try to avoid the site if I can find what I’m looking for elsewhere.
There are two reasons for that:
A.) they do not accept credit card payment, or paypal. I mean there’s a reason why I choose to buy stuff online — so I can do it without having to take a bath, in the comfort of my own home. Going to the bank or bayad centers are too much of a hassle.
Sure you can transfer via your bank’s app, but I had to manually transfer it and there’s always a room for error there somewhere.
Plus, it takes three working days to confirm payment. They used to have a dragonpay option (was it dragonpay?) where payments were immediately confirmed. The last time I purchased something at shoppee, the option was not available anymore. Which sucks big-time.
B.) Their deliveries take SOOOOO LOOOONGGGGGG. I had a delivery which took more than a week, and I’m sure it was not the merchant’s fault since you can track the progress of your items at the app and she booked it for shipping immediately after the confirmation of my payment.
Right now, I have three items on my cart (which I probably wont buy but I like them to be there). One offers a shipping option outside of Shoppee and that’s great since your item will be shipped via LBS or Xend. That’ll cost you some moolah, but at least you’ll get your items sooner.
The other item will take 3 to 7 days before it’ll arrive at my doorstep. The third item will take 15 to 20 days — and delivery is not even free!
I mean I like Shoppee because there are tons of great merchants there, but if you need your items in time for the holidays, then order at your own risk. A delivery could easily take two weeks before it reaches you. Not worth it.
Other small local stores
A big chunk of the gifts I am destributing this year came from online stores in FB.
I had personalized keychains made, and there are a plenty of those in FB. I first saw the store I ordered from at a bazaar so I had no doubt on their legitimacy. I already got the items and they are wonderful.
I also ordered a bracelet from Shift Manila, but my good friend B owns that and he’s delivering my order to me personally. Haha. Perks of having a friend.
Fab Manila is also a favorite online store. They have tons of giftable items for the ladies!
Some small online stores are also available in shoppee. Again, I suggest you contact the sellers directly.
So yeah. Directly contacting an online store in FB or instagram comes with a huge risk, so you have to be careful who you transact with. Check for feedbacks. Check their recent activities (do they join bazaars?). Money transfer is NOT the safest way to pay, so if you can, ask for bank details.
I love buying from small online stores and actually have a relationship with the sellers.
International stores? You betya
So you want a certain item, but you can’t find it here in PH?
A.) You can ask relatives to bring it home. But cmon guys, be reasonable. If you’re asking a balikbayan a favor, do not make him or her carry big, chunky, heavy items.
B.) You can use door-to-door courier services. I’m using My Shopping Box and swears by it (you can use my referral code: PASJZKV1; you’ll get a small credit if you sign up). My only problem with them is that they do not consolidate shipping, so if your items came from the same origin, then you’re good.
Also, not all sellers ship to MSB. I ordered from Tarte.com this one time, but it was cancelled because apparently they do not ship to addresses that are associated with freight forwarding companies or export agents that send cargo to overseas destinations.
Sites I ordered from and shipped via MSB: Amazon, Juvia’s Place, Geek and Sundry, and Wet n Wild.
Create you own 😉
I will also be giving away hand-made cards this season. This is not the first time I did this. Years ago, I also gave away bookmarks I crocheted. I think hand-made gifts are rare, so I love giving them.
Any other sites and tips you guys would like to share? Post them in a comment below 🙂