Like I have mentioned before in similar posts, ordering from a new place can be quite daunting. For that reason, today I wanted to share my experience shopping at iHerb.
What is iHerb?
iHerb is an American health and wellness retailer that has a great selection of products- over 25,000 different things to choose from. Among those things, you can have your pick at beauty products as well. This is pretty much obvious I guess, as otherwise, I would have not featured the retailer on this blog.
The website is easy to navigate and it is a good solution, especially when it comes to items that are not locally available.
How does it work?
You can either browse through the categories on the left-hand side or search for what you are looking for on the top bar. Once you have found the product you want, simply hit “add to bag”, then, continue shopping or checkout. Basically, it works like any other retailer.
The website is pretty well organized and it is easy to find what you are looking for. Personally, I would like to see some extra categories or featured categories that would make the navigation a bit easier, but it is pretty well organized as it is, especially given the number of items they offer. Another remark I have on this topic is that maybe they should remove the items that are out of stock or at least hide them from the website until they come back.
What do you need to know about shipping when it comes to ordering from iHerb?
Shipping costs are automatically calculated when you are on the checkout page. The shipping cost depends on the items in your basket as well as the shipping method you pick.
For me personally, I was able to choose from DHL and UPS. I went for DHL as I am more familiar with their process and it was a tiny bit more affordable.
How much does shipping cost?
Good news- iHerb offers free standard shipping for orders over $40 if you are based in the US! That means that if your order is over this amount, you will not have to pay anything extra. Awesome!
However, not all of us are that lucky. Like I mentioned above, I picked to have my order shipped via DHL and I ended up paying around 10 EUR based on the contents of my basket. This fee is the typical fee for an express DHL delivery so it did not bother me that much as the delivery itself can be considered express (see more below) and I managed to bring the fee down to this level from almost double the amount.
How long did shipping take?
Shipping was super fast, as hinted above. I placed my order during what is probably one of the busiest times of the year – Black Friday weekend. I ordered my goodies on Saturday evening and had them reach me by Thursday morning. They probably would have made their way to me on Wednesday had it not been for some delays at customs as well as two consecutive national holidays in my home country. Color me impressed.
Your basket contents matter when it comes to the shipping fee
So I mentioned that I managed to bring my shipping fee down to 10 EUR. That is right. At iHerb, the contents of your basket influence the shipping fee you end up having to pay. Some items increase the fee, while others decrease it. You just have to figure out which ones are which.
I am not an expert on this matter just yet (probably won’t ever be one), but in my experience products from iHerb brands helped decrease my shipping costs quite a bit. There used to be a category for shipping saver items, but personally, I have been unable to find it when I placed my order. It used to be there when I first started eyeing the brand, but now I cannot find it anymore :(.
Don’t freak out – shipping cost has two components
Another thing you need to know is that the actual shipping cost has two components – there is the shipping fee and the customs fees and taxes. The shipping fee you might see displayed at first might seem huge, but you should check to see the details as the overall fee might be a lot lower than you think.
If you live outside the US, you will have to face the pain of having to pay customs fees. For the EU at least, the customs fees are payable at checkout which means that you won’t have to deal with any nasty surprises or unnecessary delays.
As mentioned in the shipping section of this article, the customs fees are integrated into the shipping fee you see displayed on the checkout page.
Paying customs and taxes at checkout means no extra handling fees to pay so the amount you end up paying is lower, sometimes is lower with as much as 50% than what it would have been had you paid the taxes at the local post office or in any case after the parcel reached your country.
I believe this is country-specific, but I will mention it anyway. Whenever I get a parcel from outside the EU, I need to fill in the customs declarations myself. With DHL, I know that you can choose some extra services and they might help you with this, but it comes at a cost. The cost is so high, that it is not worth it, especially for low-value parcels. The cost is around 20EUR, at least for me… I would rather spend 30 minutes filling in all the declarations myself. It can be scary the first time, but you get used to it. The system is also pretty intuitive and offers enough support.
Another thing you should know is that in the EU you cannot place an order for more than 150 EUR. Extra taxes are usually incurred for orders and the system at iHerb does not cover them. To keep things easier for both parties involved or rather all parties, every order must be below 150EUR.
We are getting to the good part now. If I were you, this would be the bit that I would be most interested to learn about.
My order (click here to see the items that I purchased) did not just arrive super fast, but everything was perfect really. I was dreading that once again I would end up with products that looked like someone removed them from the rubbish bin. That was truly not the case. The products were all in mint condition and none of them made me doubt their origins and quality.
All the packaging was intact, both of the parcel itself, but also that of the products. The products were super clean and had no scuff marks on them. This matters to me at least as it tells me a lot about the conditions in which they were kept. It is possible for products to make their way around the globe and arrive in one piece. That is all I am saying.
What to buy from iHerb?
Well, there are definitely many things that you can buy. So it is normal to wonder what are the best items to get.
The most obvious answer would be of course supplements. iHerb has one of the largest selections of supplements I have ever seen. You are sure to find whatever you are looking for here and the prices are great as well. Just have a read at your country’s policy on importing such items though.
Beauty products are another category. However, here things are not as straightforward I would say. Unless you are getting a much better deal, I would stay away from products easily available in local stores.
For me, the appeal of iHerb definitely consists in the ability to get k-beauty products as well as products from well-known brands that are simply not available locally or they are, but in different forms.
What pushed me to place my first order at iHerb was the appeal of getting a product I loved and that has been unavailable since that time I first purchased it from Cult Beauty many years ago. The product is the Made Cera moisturizer from SkinRX Lab.
Another reason why I will go back to iHerb other than their fantastic services is for products such as the teeth whitening strips from Crest. I remember having in college a talk from someone who used to work at P&G and they’ve mentioned that the best product that he worked with was the one mentioned above. The product is not available anywhere in Europe as far as I can tell, but it left me curious. I cannot vouch for the claim obviously, but the way the speaker talked about the product made me wanna give it a try even it if is not a product I would normally buy. It is one of those products that stayed with me, you know what I mean?
Speaking about beauty, iHerb offers a series of promotional boxes that gives you the opportunity to try several products at unbeatable prices. The caveat though is that you can only get one such box at a discount per order and that you can only get a box discounted once. What I mean by that is that if you were to purchase the same box a second time with a separate order, you would be unable to benefit from the discount again.
Whichever category you end up buying from, let it be supplements, groceries, or beauty, my suggestion is to pick items not otherwise available or items that you can get at a much better deal.
Tips and tricks for shopping at iHerb
- Always use a discount code – you can find mine here (or DME1110) and get 5 USD off your first order as well as 5% of subsequent orders.
- Always have a look at the promotional boxes.
- Shop iHerb brands to lower shipping costs/ look for shipping saver items.
- Keep the items you want on a wishlist and play around with different basket combinations to get the best deal.
Overall, iHerb is a retailer that I truly look forward to getting back to. I do admit that I was worried as well – it took me years to shop there after all, but my fears were unfounded. The American retailer iHerb is not a scam, it is quite legit and so far I have to say that I am impressed with their services.
I hope this article was of some help and that you will give this retailer a shot if you haven’t already. If you have, please do share your experience below.
Shop iHerb here.
Have you ever shopped at iHerb before?
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