Creating an International Shopping Checklist: A Comprehensive Guide for Smart Customers

When shopping internationally, you can access a wider horizon of possibilities to purchase items worldwide. According to a 2024 Statista report, the global cross-border eCommerce market is set to grow to 7.9 trillion USD in 2030 from 785 billion in 2021. However, international shopping requires careful consideration to ensure a smooth transaction without any regrets later. Whether you shop from Amazon or the Ubuy app, our comprehensive international shopping guide has everything you need to learn with a do’s and don’ts checklist. Now, anyone can become a global buyer!

International Shopping Checklist: Do’s

1. Do Research Thoroughly

One of the most important parts of a global shopping checklist is conducting thorough research before making international purchases. Start by checking the reputation, reviews, and ratings of the seller and online marketplace. For instance, Trustpilot, Google Reviews, or dedicated e-commerce forums will give insights into how trustworthy a seller is. Moreover, compare prices across different platforms to avoid compromising quality while getting the best deal.

2. Do Check for Custom Duties and Taxes

Customs duties and taxes can greatly affect the total cost of your international purchase. One of the most important online shopping rules is to get acquainted with the different custom amounts for particular goods and target countries. Many online stores provide tools or information to help customers calculate potential fees so they can plan and not get surprised when their delivery gets stuck in custom processes. Understand international shopping customs duties thoroughly before proceeding.

3. Do Ensure Secure Payment Methods

When shopping online, especially across national borders, it is very important to protect your financial information. Methods like credit cards, PayPal, and renowned third-party payment systems guarantee additional security and buyer protection. They minimise fraud cases and unauthorised transactions in the market. It is better not to share sensitive details about your credit card through unauthorised platforms like emails and unsolicited websites.

ensure secure payment method

4. Do Understand Shipping Policies and Delivery Times

The key factors influencing shipping policies and delivery times are the seller, shipping method, and destination country. Before paying for the product, it is important to review the details of the shipping policies, including estimated delivery times and tracking options, to understand what you are getting into. Some sellers charge extra money for faster transport when processing orders from other countries. Select a mode of shipment that matches your needs. Consider your budget, timing, and delays due to customs clearance or other unforeseen events.

5. Do Confirm Product Authenticity

You must verify the authenticity of products when shopping internationally, especially the expensive ones. Avoid deals that seem too good to be true. They often are counterfeit products or knock-offs. Look for reputable vendors and, when in doubt, conduct extensive research. To detect differences, check its features, specifications, and packaging and compare it to real products.

6. Do Check for Local Holidays and Peak Seasons

Local holidays and peak shopping seasons can influence the duration of international shipping and customer services. Before placing an order, determine if any public holiday or high-season activity in your country of purchase impacts delivery or business operations timings. Thus, plan when to buy to avoid inconveniences due to delayed deliveries and allow extra transit time during busy periods. Some vendors may also inform you about their deadlines for shipping during holidays and adjusted business hours.

check for local holidays and peak season

7. Do Understand Local Laws and Regulations

Before making an international purchase, check local laws on internet shopping. Consumer protection laws, tax regulations, and import/export controls differ by country and can affect your purchase. Comply with all relevant laws and regulations to avoid legal problems or penalties. Local laws and regulations can be found on government websites or reputable legal resources.

International Shopping Checklist: Don’ts

1. Don’t Neglect Reading Return Policies

Different international sellers and e-commerce platforms have different return policies. It can be costly not to read them thoroughly. One of the most helpful tips for online shopping is to take your time to understand the return terms, including what you can return, the product categories under this policy, and any extra fees for storage or logistics. Understanding your consumer rights can help you deal more effectively with problems or dissatisfaction from shopping.

2. Don’t Ignore Currency Conversion Rates

Exchange rates for currencies affect the final price paid in international purchases. Reliable currency conversion tools or websites that enable buyers to purchase goods using their local currencies prevent misinterpretation mistakes. Check for fluctuations in exchange rates and use real-time rate tracking tools to decide when it would be best to buy. Moreover, you should be aware of fees related to currency conversion, like foreign transaction fees implemented by credit card companies.

3. Don’t Overshare Personal Information

Protecting your privacy and private data is crucial while shopping online, particularly on international platforms whose rules and regulations may differ. An important online shopping rule is to avoid revealing sensitive information, such as your address, number, or financial details, unless necessary. You must ensure a website’s security and encryption settings before giving out personal information. Immediately report any suspicious activity to the relevant authorities, like phishing and unsolicited requests.

4. Don’t Forget to Track Your Orders

Customers must keep track of their international orders to know their status and estimated delivery date. Some sellers provide tracking numbers or order updates through email or their websites, letting you watch your shipment progress from start to finish. Always follow up on your tracking information occasionally and deal with any setbacks expeditiously with the vendor. Note that tracking availability might differ depending on the shipping method chosen and the destination country. Hence, familiarise yourself with the available tracking options to stay well informed.

5. Don’t Skip Reading Reviews

How do you determine the quality of a product without ever touching or using it? How do you ensure the seller is trustworthy? Reviews can be pretty useful in such dilemmas. When buying globally, take your time to peruse through reviews and testimonials by previous buyers to gauge the quality of sellers and products. Check if the same issues are highlighted in several reviews, such as late deliveries, low-quality products or poor customer care. Though everyone may have unique encounters, reviews are a good source of information for purchasing decisions to prevent possible pitfalls.

6. Don’t Forget to Check Import Restrictions

Regulations, including import restrictions, vary from country to country, greatly affecting what you can buy. Before placing an order, confirm whether any items, like electronics, foodstuffs, or restricted substances, are disallowed for importation into your country. Acquaint yourself with customs regulations and documentation required to import items into your nation to avoid shipping delays. When in doubt, consult relevant customs authorities or check online sources for guidance about import restrictions and compliance issues.

don't forget to check important restriction

7. Don’t Ignore Product Warranty and Guarantee

Check the warranty and guarantee policies the seller/manufacturer offers when purchasing products internationally. Does the product come with a warranty? If yes, what does it cover? For example, can you repair your gadget for free if it faces some issues? Does the seller give any warranties on the quality and performance of this product? By understanding these warranty and guarantee terms, you can confidently buy such goods even though they may turn out defective later.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can I find reliable international sellers or online marketplaces?

Check seller reputation and reviews on platforms like Trustpilot. Seek sellers with good feedback and open policies.

2. How can I ensure the quality of international products before purchasing?

Go through detailed product descriptions and user reviews. Confirm genuine products for branded stuff. If necessary, get more information from sellers.

3. How long does international shipping usually take?

Shipping times are not constant, but the usual delivery is 7-21 business days. Consider customs clearance and peak seasons, which could lead to delays.

4. What payment methods are commonly accepted for international purchases?

There are plenty of common payment methods. Many platforms offer local options, but common modes include credit cards, PayPal, bank transfers, and digital wallets like Apple Pay.


You can shop with the right knowledge and strategies by following this international shopping checklist of do’s and don’ts. It includes understanding local laws and regulations, researching international shopping customs duties, verifying product warranties, and keeping accurate records. With our guide, you can become an informed global shopper. What are some tips you follow when shopping for imported products? Let us know in the comments below!