Online shopping in Israel.
Hebrew: קניות באינטרנט בארץ ובחו"ל
Click, click, click! Israelis love to shop online.
Local, online supermarket shopping sites like Mega, Shufersal and Rami Levi are ideal options for career minded families who work long hours and never seem make it to the store. Buying clothes online from shopping sites is becoming ever popular and in fact in February 2018 it was announced that as a result in the surge of online shopping, retail clothing stores, in Israel, have reported an 18 percent drop in sales.
Local Israeli websites let you purchase fruit, vegetables, local and imported groceries, alcohol, furniture, airline tickets, vacation packages and even car insurance are plentiful. A quick Google search will get you results. Compare prices of electronics and appliances on websites like Zap. Be careful of auction sites and group purchasing sites. Make sure you read the fine print, customer ratings and reviews. The washing machine at a greatly reduced price, maybe refurbished, last years model or a showroom item.
Online Purchases from Chinese Sites
Remember when ordering from Chinese sites like AliExpress, their clothing sizes are different. Chinese sizes are much smaller and many local consumers have landed up with merchandise they can only dream of fitting into. So far, we have not experienced shoe sizing issues on the Chinese shopping sites.
Luxury Items and Electronics
Shopping sites selling brand name watches at low prices - beware, these are probably be knock-offs.
Mobile phones are often reconditioned. Check guarantees.
Fashion Knock-offs from China
Despite claims of authenticity, those Adidas sport shoes, the Diesel jeans for $30 and the Ralph Lauren polo shirts are most likely knock-offs too.
While some sites offer international, worldwide shipping, not all of them deliver to Israel. Some sites offer free shipping to Israel and delivery charges may be levied by some vendors.
Import charges, taxes and VAT
-Personal imports up to $75 - there are no taxes
-Personal imports from $75 - $500, no customs tax will be levied but VAT and Purchase Tax may apply
-Any personal imports over $500 are subject to all taxes, customs, VAT and purchase tax.
-Any import with a value of more than $1,000 will require the services of an import agent
Customs & Handling Fees
Having your purchases delivered by regular, snail mail, can be tedious and you may be tempted to have your purchases shipped by courier services like Fedex, DHL and UPS. Beware! There is a good chance that your parcel will be opened and if it is, you will be charged a handling fee and of course any taxes that might be owing. Often the handling fee is more than the value of the item.
Buy what you need and not what you want
Like all well managed shopping and spending habits, make a list and buy what you need. Don't act on impulse and buy whatever you want. Women tend to fall victim to the kitchen accessories department. The magnetic baking pan, the plaited bread mold, the 'smiley' crepe pan and the embossed rolling pin are likely to lay in the cupboard, unopened for years.
Paying for your Purchase
There are many online payment processors like PayPal, Venmo and Google Wallet. If you have a PayPal or similar account, use it. It's easier to solve a dispute via PayPal than via local credit card companies. If you are using your credit card, you might be asked if you would like the system to save your details. Best not to allow that option. You don't want to be charged month after month for an item purchased just because an unscrupulous vendor has your credit card details.
Tips for Buying Groceries Online
There are no online grocery shopping websites in Israel that are in English. Ask a friend to help with your first few orders on Hebrew websites. You'll get the hang of it quickly and learn new Hebrew words and spelling at the same time. When purchasing your groceries online, compare prices based on weight (per 100g), per volume (per 100ml) or even per length (per meter). A pack of 36 rolls of toilet paper maybe more expensive than a pack of 24 when you compare the price per meter.