iHerb is a web site that sells groceries, supplements, and other goods related to healthy living. It carries over 35,000 products by more than 1000 brands and at prices which are much lower than retail. I have been a user of iHerb since 2009 and have bought over a thousand dollars’ worth of products from iHerb because it provides the best value, quality products, and has one of the most helpful customer service I know. Here’s my review of iHerb:
iHerb doesn’t make a good first impression
My initial impression of iHerb was not that great because it had an ugly-looking interface compared to most e-commerce sites. I was worried about buying from a site that didn’t seem to put in much effort in designing an attractive front page, but I had a $5 coupon and they had the lowest price I could find. Unsure, I went ahead and made my first order of 3 items at just over $20.
My order arrived a few weeks later, which was considered fast because I didn’t live in the United States and I had selected the cheapest (and slowest) shipping option available. The products arrived just as described and they were carefully packed. I decided iHerb was not so bad after all.
Over the next few years, I made more than a dozen orders and spent over a thousand dollars. When I went to the supermarket and bought something, I would check whether iHerb had a better offer so I could get it there next time.
Products are cheap without sacrificing quality
I was always surprised by how much cheaper I could get things on iHerb. A Badger Sunscreen that costs nearly $30 locally can be bought on iHerb for half the price; a packet of whole flaxseed in the local supermarket costs twice as much as what I can get on iHerb, even after accounting for international shipping.
Tip: To get even better prices, subscribe to iHerb’s newsletter or check out their facebook page. I always look out for additional offers on my favorite brands. iHerb has daily and weekly offers featuring different brands that they carry on their site.
Even at such great prices, iHerb manages to keep its product quality high. Expiry or manufacture dates are always shown clearly on product pages when available, and I’ve always received items that either had the same expiry date as what I saw on the page, or a later expiry date. I’ve never had to worry about getting expired stuff from iHerb. I mention this because I’ve seen sites that don’t state any expiry dates and I’ve even had the misfortune of receiving expired lip balms from another site.
You can also read other customers’ product reviews to judge whether something is good before making your purchase. You don’t get anything for leaving product reviews but I think it’s fun so I do it sometimes too.
Occasional problems but prompt customer service
Credit: SarahOf course, it would be dishonest to say that I’ve never encountered a single problem when buying from iHerb. However, these problems were always resolved quickly by their friendly customer service. Once, a dried pasta product I ordered spilled out of its package during shipping and another time, a facial masque leaked and got onto other products. Both times, I contacted iHerb and was given a refund in store credits for the damaged products within a day or two. A guide for how to get a refund from iHerb is available if you need help with that.
Recently, an order I made came with a leaking package of pasta. I contacted customer support and was not given a reply so I went to their facebook page. If you are having problems with iHerb now, I suggest going to their facebook page and getting help there. It seems that they are more focused on facebook marketing these days.
iHerb has improved over the past few years
Over the years I’ve used them, iHerb has improved its shipping in terms of cost and quality. Just recently, I was able to ship a 40lbs (about 18kg) package to Singapore for just $18. I used the fastest shipping option this time, and the package arrived within 4 days via DHL. From what I know, iHerb gets discount on shipping the more orders they ship so their ability to offer better shipping prices is most likely due to their increasing customer base over the years.
Their selection of products has also increased. They used to only have a few grocery brands and a limited selection of gluten-free food, but they have recently added more than two to three times the amount. If you’re looking for gluten-free pasta, cookies, and other groceries for cheap, I would at least compare prices at iHerb.
I would recommend iHerb to family and friends
Some companies lure users in with low prices and increase prices for arbitrary reasons when their customer base grows. Others sacrifice the quality of their products or standards of service in exchange for keeping prices the same. Of all the years that I’ve used iHerb, it has continued to provide great service and quality products and all these while keeping their prices low.
Part of iHerb’s ability to keep prices low yet maintain such great standards is because it relies on word of mouth advertising rather than traditional advertisement and passes on its savings to customers. By using the referral code or link of an existing member, a new iHerb member can get $5 to $10 discounted off their first orders while the existing member gets credits for the referral.
To summarize my experience with iHerb:
- It is a great place to get grocery and other products at cheap prices
- Product selection is good and high quality
- Occasional problems with orders but are quickly resolved
- Improvements over the years
iHerb has earned my trust with their customer-focused policies and given their track record, I’m sure this is a company I’ll continue to support for a long time.
Note: This is my experience with iHerb shipping products to Singapore. Price comparisons are also made with products that are available in Singapore. You may want to check your local supermarket or stores’ prices before deciding whether iHerb is a good deal for you. I’ve seen product reviews from people of many other countries so it should be alright in general, but always check before you buy to get the best deal.