You Want To Buy Something From the USA? Here is your Guide – 10 Common Issues and Solutions for Global Residents

You Want To Buy Something From the USA? Here is your Guide – 10 Common Issues and Solutions for Global Residents:

You want something from the USA? You tried to buy from a US shop without success? If you are an international resident living outside the USA, there are many reasons why you can’t or won’t be able to buy from a US shop. Some of the reasons are listed below:

  1. Store doesn’t accept foreign credit cards or debit cards.
  2. Store doesn’t ship internationally, only in the USA.
  3. Store ships to other countries, but your country is not supported.
  4. Store only accepts American Bank issued credit cards/debit cards.
  5. Store doesn’t support your payment option (Wire transfer, Western Union, Skrill etc.)
  6. Store supports payment options that are not available in your country e.g. PayPal
  7. Store doesn’t ship to countries under a US Embargo or sanctions.
  8. The item is not available.
  9. Store cannot verify your credit card. Authentification and bank authorization failed.
  10. There is no enough money in your debit card/credit card or You have reached your credit card limit.

$15 coupon, no threshold

The above is a list of common issues that prevent you from buying from a US shop. Fortunately, there is a way around these issues. If you are one of the people living in over 200 countries around the world who cannot buy from an online US store for whatever reason, you should rejoice because from now on, you will be able to buy what you want.

Through the use of a reliable and professional package forwarding company that is based in the USA, you can ask them to buy something for you and they will deliver the item to your home address in Africa, South America, Europe, Asia, Middle East and the Gulf Region.

It doesn’t matter whether you are buying one item or 10 items, they will treat you like a special customer and your shipping costs will match the volumetric weight of goods purchased. Those who are familiar with the import/export shipping process know very well the importance of consolidating your purchased items, which is a procedure whereby multiple packages are repacked and shipped as a single package (i.e. one box or container).This reduces the volumetric weight of your shipment, which in turn reduces your shipping costs per gram.

The point that we are trying to illustrate here is that you save money by consolidating your packages into a single shipment. The best part is that freight couriers like DHL make bulk shipping more affordable by applying a cost range charge based on weight. So in this case, if your item is small and lightweight, weighing only 200g (e.g. camera sunglasses, Brazilian hair, baseball cap, t-shirt) you would save money on shipping costs by buying 500g worth of items to qualify for a [0 to 500g] cost range charge, which is the same regardless of the number of items purchased.

 

What Does a Package Forwarding Agent Do?

A package forwarding agent is a reliable and registered company which specializes in assisted shopping and delivering items to the customer. An international package forwarder ships items from the USA to other countries. People who use this service are called international shoppers or cross-border shoppers. You don’t need a passport, VISA or plane ticket to shop in the USA.

With a package forwarder, you can do shopping in the comfort of your home, at work or office. All you need is internet connection and a laptop/computer. Simply go to the forwarder’s website and sign up. Creating an account is free, you only pay when you are purchasing your merchandise on US shops such as Amazon, Nike, Puma, Apple etc. Do not worry about your payment or credit card being rejected by the store because the forwarder can buy for you, even if the store doesn’t ship to your country.

US address for your online shopping

A package forwarder has the following resources to help you acquire an item from the USA:

 

  • A warehouse based in the USA to receive and store your purchased items
  • A street address in the USA which you can use to buy from a US store. Remember that a lot of US shops will not accept your payment if you don’t have a US Address.
  • A partnership with shipping agents and couriers such as DHL, Fedex and TNT to deliver your items safely and quickly at lower shipping rates.
  • Real time parcel tracking until the shipment reaches your doorstep
  • Parcel consolidation to combine multiple packages into a single package and reduce the volumetric weight charge.
  • Parcel repacking to put parcels in order, optimize space and reduce overall price tag
  • 24/7 customer support.
  • Coordination and Logistics team for smooth movement and dispatching of your goods
  • Ability to deal with Tax, Duty and documentation from the origin country.

 

So here is the step-by-step procedure:

 

  1. You create an account on the forwarder’s website – SIGN UP NOW!
  2. You buy online from US shops
  3. When you check out, use the US address provided by the forwarder. This is your delivery address. It should appear on your order form/invoice/receipt.
  4. If the store doesn’t accept your credit/debit card or payment, ask the forwarder to buy for you. This is known as assisted shopping, personal shopping or concierge shopping service.
  5. The forwarder can buy for you because they are US based. You will need to deposit money in your account. Forwarders accept most types of payments including Wire Transfer, Western Union, PayPal, VISA and MasterCard.
  6. The store will send the package to the forwarder’s warehouse in the USA.
  7. At the warehouse, your package is stored and ready for shipping to your country. You can opt for immediate shipping whereby packages are shipped as soon as they arrive or you can wait until you have finished shopping.
  8. A shipping agent (e.g. DHL, Fedex, TNT, UPS) ships your package by air or sea.
  9. Your package arrives at the port.
  10. The shipping agent notifies you via email, SMS or telephone. You can also check your parcel personally after 5 or 7 days.
  11. Your package is taken to the courier’s collection centre i.e. DHL collection centre or whatever the name of the courier. They will ask you to declare your goods if there is any import tax and duty on the products. To do this, they will want a scanned copy of your shopping receipt, invoice or order form. Send the copy via email.
  12. The courier will then deliver the package at your home address. A DHL or FedEx van will arrive at your place. Make sure that you are home by that time. They may ask for identification so have your ID with you. The delivery man will ask you to sign a document. DHL uses an electronic pen to capture your signature.

Begin Shopping Now. Sign Up and Buy Anything from the US >> Click Here

Top Rated Package Forwarding Companies Which Are Used By International Shoppers to Buy from US Shops

Global residents who cannot buy from US shops because of credit card restrictions and unavailability of shipping to their country can use a package forwarding agent to buy items for them. Just by signing up for an account on the forwarder’s website, you can shop on any online store in the USA without leaving your home or country. These companies will accept your payment and purchase items of your choice or you can simply go to any online store and buy items using the company’s US street address. They will deliver the merchandise to their warehouse, repack it and ship it to your country of residence, directly to your doorstep. The homework has been done for you! You don’t need to research any further. The companies outlined here have a high rating (4 stars and above) from a significant number of users, and therefore they are safe, reliable and professional companies that you can trust to do personal shopping for you and deliver the products. You can check the user feedback and reviews of each company on consumer affair websites like sitejabber.

nybox-facebook-page

NYBox

NYBox is a nice and cool website that allows you to shop in US shops and ship internationally, to any corner of the world. The company offers all that a shopper living outside of the USA would want to have in order to buy anything from a US store, without hindrances. Upon signing up and creating an account, you will have access to a mail forwarding service that makes use of a US address, as well as an individual assisted shopping account. The US address that you get with this company is unique, you get your own suite number which is not shared with other members. This arrangement is advantageous because it affords you the opportunity to buy from shops that don’t accept forwarders.

To get your feet wet with this company, you should sign up for a Standard Membership which is free. You will get your own Suite address for receiving orders, 40% savings on shipping as well as access to a personal shopping service. The Premium Membership is designed for bulk buyers. It offers 60% savings on shipping and free package repacking and consolidation in addition to standard benefits, at a cost of $15 per month.

The company’s headquarters are situated in New York, USA.There are foreign branches in Finland, Sweden and Turkey. What sets apart NYBox from other package forwarding services is that the website has an interface that allows you to search products from different stores and retailers in the USA. It actually functions as a shopping portal for top products that are bought by many customers as well as products on discount sale. You can actually find the best deals on this site, with products such as the Reebok ONE Cushion 2.0 City Lights sneakers going for almost half the price. If you are interested in the latest products like the Apple iWatch, they are also featured on the website alongside deals and top products like the Nike Fuelband.NYBox is one of the few package forwarding companies with a popular Page. The page has over 114,000 fans. Compared to other forwarders, the company accepts a wide range of payment methods, which makes it convenient for international buyers who would love to shop in US stores.

  • Payment Methods – PayPal, MasterCard, VISA, American Express, Discover,JCB,Diners Club, Western Union,NYBox Credit Card, Check, Money Order and Wire Transfer
  • Delivery Methods – DHL,TNT,UPS Saver, United States Postal Service
  • Destinations – South Africa, International
  • Support – Live Chat, Telephone +1-212-231-8700
  • Services – Shopping ,Package Forwarding, Mail Forwarding, US Address, Assisted Shopping and Product Search
  • Shopping Geos – USA stores and retailers
  • Address – 4747, 36th St, Long Island, NY 11101, U.S.A.

 

stackry-facebook-page

Stackry

Stackry is an interesting package forwarder and personal shopping service with no subscription or membership fees. However, extra services like repacking your merchandise, consolidating your packages and personal shopping come at a small cost. You can still shop without using the personal shopping service. The company’s shipping cost calculator has all countries listed in the drop-down selection, a shipping guide for selected countries in Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East, North and South America is included on the website. Working with Stackry looks like a reliable option because they have been operating since 1986, and that’s over 30 years of experience. So how do you use Stackry? Simply visit an online store, a reputable retailer or brand store like Amazon, Best Buy, Etsy or Forever 21. Make your purchases, then checkout with your Stackry personal US address. If you can’t buy due to specific issues or restrictions, use Stackry’s buy-for-me service.

If you don’t have PayPal, you can still use Stackry because they accept wire transfer for using their service. When you purchase online with a U.S. address owned by Stackry, your merchandise is delivered to their warehouse in New Hampshire, USA, a state which does not charge sales tax. At this point, you can choose to repack and consolidate your packages or tell Stackry to send them right away to your residential address. If you are still waiting for merchandise from other stores to arrive at the warehouse, Stackry gives you free storage up to 45 days, which is quite a long time to finish your shopping.

  • Payment Methods – PayPal, Credit Card, Payment Card, Wire Transfer
  • Delivery Methods – DHL, USPS, FEDEX, Global Mail
  • Destinations – International
  • Support – Email, Telephone + 1-781-491-0874
  • Services – Package Forwarding, US Address, Assisted Shopping
  • Shopping Geos – USA stores and retailers
  • Address – Amherst Street, New Hampshire, U.S.A.

 

my-us-facebook-page

MyUS

MyUS is the top name in the game. It is one of the most popular package forwarding and assisted shopping companies in the world. This company has come a long way from being an expatriate US mail forwarder to being a world class shopping and merchandise forwarder. With over 20 years of experience, the company has evolved with customer demands. It serves clients all over the world from Brazil to South Africa who intend to shop online in US stores but have no means of doing so due to restrictions on international shipping and foreign credit cards.

The company’s warehouses and distribution center is located in Florida, Sarasota, USA. The company used to cater for bulk shoppers and mail box subscribers, but now it has introduced a membership plan for small package shoppers who buy items for personal use, so you have three options to choose from when planning to sign up. The single package membership plan is free, and you get a personal shopper account along with basic services like discounts, parcel tracking and forwarding. Package re-packing and consolidation is reserved for paid memberships – the bulk shopper account and mail box service. A 30 day free trial is available for the bulk shopper account, after which you start paying a $7 monthly fee.

When you sign up, you can begin shopping online from top US retailers who offer deals and coupons. MyUS has personal assistants who will assist you with any shopping difficulties that you might encounter at each online store. To get you acquainted with cross-border shopping, MyUS has a shipping guide for tax, custom duties and import restrictions for all countries including South Africa.

  • Payment Methods – PayPal, Debit Cards, Credit Cards: VISA, MasterCard, American Express, JCB, Diner’s Club, Discover, Union Pay
  • Delivery Methods – DHL, USPS, FEDEX, UPS
  • Destinations – International
  • Support – Live Chat, Fax, Email, Telephone + 1 941 227 4444
  • Services – Package Forwarding, US Address, Assisted Shopping
  • Shopping Geos – USA stores and retailers
  • Address – 4299 Express Lane Sarasota, Florida 34249,USA
  • Prohibited Items – https://www.myus.com/benefits/shipping/customs-help/restrictions/

 

usgobuy-facebook-page

USGoBuy

USGoBuy is a shopping package forwarder with a lot of interesting and flexible features. There are no monthly fees, you simply sign up and get a free personal US address plus a mailbox. The unique feature and attractive feature about USGoBuy is its membership system which requires no monthly fees, it is an incentive-based system which rewards shoppers based on the value of shipments processed via the company. In other words, the company rewards loyal clients, the longer you use them, the more discounts you will get on your shipping. There are four levels, ranging from zero to $10,000 in value of shipments. Your service fees will decrease as you ship more items and your savings on shipping will increase by up to 81% based on the shipping company you choose. FedEx and DHL offer the highest discounts.

Other attractive features of the firm are 60 days of free storage, free package consolidation, free membership and no sales tax. The firm has a warehouse in Oregon, USA which receives and ships merchandise to over 200 countries worldwide. Unlike other firms, USGoBuy has a comprehensive shipping tax and duty guide for all countries, but you have to consult your local customs department to be updated of prevailing import regulations.

From Adidas to Ray Ban and Timberland, you can shop online with a USGoBuy address and they will take care of the rest. If you are worried about not having a credit card for online purchase, the company has a solution. They accept wire transfer, Western Union, PayPal and Webmoney. They will also give a US Unlocked debit card that has your name on it.

 

  • Payment Methods – PayPal, U.S. Unlocked Debit Cards, Credit Cards (VISA, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, Wire Transfer and WebMoney
  • Delivery Methods – DHL, USPS, FEDEX
  • Destinations – International
  • Support – Live Chat, Email, Tel:+1 (503) 384-2291
  • Services – Package Forwarding, US Mail Address, Assisted Shopping, Debit Card provider
  • Shopping Geos – USA stores and retailers
  • Address – 14212 NE Airport Way, Portland, Oregon 97230, USA
  • Prohibited Items –  http://www.usgobuy.com/en/prohibited-items.html

 

viabox-facebook-page

ViaBox

ViaBox is one of the fastest growing package forwarding company for global shoppers. Since 2001 it has gathered a lot of positive reviews from satisfied customers all over the world. It seems to be doing much better than some established companies in terms of attracting clients. A look at the company’s website reveals a lot of attractive features that cannot be matched anywhere. The company provides 10 free services that are normally charged by most package forwarders.

There are no fees for account setup, membership, assisted purchasing, consolidation, repackaging, item/ package photos, discarding and warehouse storage, among others. Clients can enjoy 180 days of free storage while shopping and purchased items incur no sales tax because the warehouse is located in Oregon, USA.If you are tired of hidden fee surprises or unwarranted administration fees, then you should sign up with ViaBox. The company has managed to eliminate a lot of service costs while increasing the quality of service offered. It’s only a few companies who can achieve this feat.

With customers in over 220 countries, ViaBox provides wire Bank Wire Transfer, Bitcoin, PayPal, VISA and MasterCard as a payment option.

  • Payment Methods – PayPal, Bitcoin, Wire Transfer, VISA, MasterCard
  • Delivery Methods – DHL, USP, TNT, USPS,Yamato, Aramex, Toll, Boxberry
  • Destinations – International
  • Support – Contact Form, Email, Tel: 574 742 8531
  • Services – Package Forwarding, Assisted Shopping, US Address
  • Shopping Geos – USA stores and retailers
  • Address – 2950 NW, 29th Avenue, Portland, OR 97210, USA

 

vyking-ship

Vykingship

Vykingship is a straightforward forward package company that gives you a personal US address with a unique suite number belonging to your account. With this address, you will be able to buy items online from US shops. There are no membership fees or plans, customers only need to sign up for a free account and you will be ready to go.

Vykingship is a transparent platform with no hidden fees. When you start using shopping, packages will be delivered to the company’s warehouse in Minneapolis, USA. They will be measured and weighed to determine the shipping cost. You can request extra services at an additional cost. This includes assisted shopping and services such as item photos of delivered items, price tag reduction, urgent package forwarding, package consolidating, repacking, special requests, security tape, customs declaration, palleting and other services whose price is clearly laid out on the website.

An interesting feature offered by Vykingship is price tag reduction. This is a cost-saving measure that allows customers to remove merchant price tags on multiple packages. The packages are combined into one package which is tagged with a lower price.

They say you get what you pay for and Vykingship is one package forwarder that does its best to reveal the actual costs to the client, so that there is no doubt as to what is required.

  • Payment Methods – PayPal, Wire Transfer, Western Union, VISA, MasterCard, JCB, American Express and Discover
  • Delivery Methods – DHL, USP, FedEx
  • Destinations – International
  • Support – Online Chat, Email, Tel: 1 952 941 2452
  • Services – Package Forwarding, Assisted Shopping, US Address
  • Shopping Geos – USA stores and retailers
  • Address – 6515 Cecilia Circle, Minneapolis, MN 55439, USA

 

Save Costs When Buying Overseas Items and Importing Them to South Africa

When you are buying imported brand-name items in local South African shops, the price is a bit higher than what you would pay when you were living in the source country. The general rule is that buying in bulk from a wholesaler is always much cheaper than buying individual items from a retailer, that is if you are buying to sell. What if you just want to do personal shopping, to buy things for your own use? Can you save money by buying directly from overseas shops or is it much cheaper to buy in local shops? To answer this question, you have to look at the costs involved in importing a product.

Costs of Importing

The costs of importing include the primary cost, which is the retail price of the product, plus shipping charges and duty. Local shops will add a margin for profit and other operational costs, which increases the product price.

Import Duty and Tax

Depending on the country in which you live, customs duty and tax are costs which often increase the final price of the import by a huge margin. The amount of import tax and duty charged on a particular item differ by country, in some countries it is fairly low and reasonable, some items are duty-free, but in other countries import duty can be very high, increasing the item price by more than 40%. As you can see, your country’s import rules and regulations can make it hard for you to procure overseas items at a reasonable cost.

Shipping Charges

If your overseas-based supplier is packing and sending the items to your home address in South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Seychelles or anywhere in the world, the company will include shipping charges in the final price. The company hires a shipping agent or cargo carrier such as DHL, Fedex, TNT or Post Office to pick up the packages, deliver them at the port, and ship them to their destination by air or sea.

DHL Website
DHL Website

How to Save on Shipping Charges

You can save a lot of money if you understand how cargo carriers pack and prepare goods for shipping. Shipping agents and forwarders want to make maximum use of space occupied by packages. That is why shipping is charged based on volume and weight. When your items arrive at the port, the packages are repacked and put in boxes or containers. You can either ship your items in separate packages or you can consolidate them into a single package. The volume and weight of each box is measured and charges are applied. You have to find out from your courier if your items are going to be charged based on volume or weight.

Reduce Volume and Number of Boxes

In order to save on shipping, you have to consolidate your packages into one shipment that occupies less space (volume).This will reduce the volumetric charges applied on your shipment. As an example, let’s say you bought multiple items from six online stores in the USA. Your orders will be sent to your billing address as six separate packages. Your package forwarder should repack the items and combine them so that you have one or fewer boxes in the cargo.

Buy Multiple Items to Achieve Maximum Weight

Couriers such as DHL will charge shipping based on maximum weight. As an example, if you buy an item weighing less than or equal to 500g, DHL will charge you an estimated fee ranging from US$12 to US$46 for international shipping, depending on the parcel destination. In this case, if you buy a single item weighing only 200g, shipping costs will be very high for you, unless you buy 500g of items to distribute and reduce the shipping cost per gram. Buying items in batches is recommended if they are small and lightweight e.g. Brazilian hair, bracelets, USB memory stick, phone casings, screen protectors, t-shirts etc.

You can choose to send your items through a Post Office courier, which is usually cheaper than a commercial courier and in some cases free if the supplier has a partnership with the Post Office.

However, sending items by Post Office is not a secure option, especially to countries like South Africa where sometimes parcels go missing.

Buy From Factory Shops

Whether it’s domestic or international shopping, one of the best places to get the lowest price is buying directly from the factory shop. Instead of buying that FILA shoe from Edgars, Woolworths, Meikles or Famous Footwear, you can get a better price at the FILA factory outlet store.

Look for Deals and Discounts at Retail Stores

A lot of well-known retailers and stores run promotions on a regular basis. Deals and offers are usually found on month ends, holidays, festive seasons and weekends.

 

 

6 Companies That Ship Brand-Name Products from US Shops to South Africa – Assisted Shopping and Package Forwarding For Individuals

You want to buy something from a US shop but the retailer doesn’t ship overseas? This is a situation that many South Africans face. Every proud shopper wants to get the latest release from a brand name while it’s still hot.However, when you live in the wrong country, there is nothing you can do about it except sulk and pull out your hair. You have to wait 10 months or even more to get your hands on that prized item. When the item finally hits the local stores within six months, consider yourself lucky.

The advantage of being a resident of the western world or first world country such as the USA, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Japan, South Korea and Singapore is that you are the first beneficiary of all the latest things that are produced for the world market. Actually, a lot of these products are produced for the local market where consumers have a lot more disposable income and buying power than the developing world. A lot of overseas-based manufacturers and distributors will start exporting goods to developing markets such as South Africa, only when local demand is slipping. They have to clear their inventory as quickly as possible, so they open their warehouses to anybody in the world with money to buy. A lot of South African importers will not miss this opportunity. Although the products are no longer hot in the USA, they will be very much in demand in South Africa, even after a year or two. These products are guaranteed to sell as soon as they reach the ports in Cape Town and Durban.

While a few US and European-based companies will open supply to developing markets after many months, a lot of these companies don’t ship to specific regions and in most cases they won’t deal with individual buyers. Fortunately, there is a solution to this predicament.

screenshot-us-puma-com-website-rihanna-creepers

For example, if you want to buy the latest PUMA Creeper sneakers by Rihanna and you are not resident in the US or Europe, it will be difficult for you to get a pair. Rihanna’s Creeper sneakers were released in May 2016 to consumers in the US and seven months later, they are still hot and very much in demand in those regions. Actually, the sneakers are in short supply and PUMA doesn’t ship internationally, meaning that buyers in South Africa have to find other means to get those sports shoes. There are two options for international buyers – They can either wait up to 24 months to get those shoes in local stores or they can make use of US-based forwarding companies that will buy the shoes for you at Puma stores and send them to you via a reliable courier such as DHL,Fedex,TNT and USPS Express Mail.

The following is a list of US forwarding companies that will buy for you at your selected US store and ship the items to you, wherever you are in the world:

BorderLinx

Borderlinx is a US shopping and forwarding company that specializes in buying items on behalf of international clients and shipping them to their destination. The company allows clients to buy from over 60 brands in the USA. This includes PUMA, Reebok, Ray-Ban, Rolex, Panasonic, Prada and Ralph Lauren among others.

The forwarding firm has a client website that allows you to calculate your shipping fees. If you have rough information about the product that you intend to buy i.e. weight and dimensions, simply enter those details on their cost calculator to get an estimated shipping cost.

The company offers a repackaging and consolidation service whereby the warehouse staff repacks your orders from merchant stores to optimize space and reduce shipping charges based on volume. If you are purchasing multiple items, the company can consolidate your items into one shipment that allows you to save costs.

Borderlinx will buy your items and keep them in their warehouse free of charge for 30 days. They also offer insurance cover for protection of goods in transit as well as handling.

  • Payment Methods – PayPal, MasterCard, VISA and AMEX
  • Delivery Methods – DHL
  • Destinations – Includes South Africa. Very few African countries.
  • Support – 24/7
  • Services – Shopping and Goods Forwarding, Assisted Shopping
  • Shopping Geos – USA stores and retailers
  • Prohibited Goods – http://www.borderlinx.com/en/pages/faq/prohibited

When you are using a forwarding agent to source some overseas products for you, you should first of all find out which items are on the prohibited list from the Customs Department in your country. It is not a nice experience to buy an item that you love, only to find that it is on the list of prohibited items. In such cases, the Customs Office will seize your item or you may be required to produce an import permit. Besides items that are prohibited by a country’s customs department, there are items which are prohibited by shipping agents and couriers. It is your duty to find out, but in many cases, forwarding companies will let you know if an item is allowed or not.

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Shipito

Shipito is a US forwarding agent with interesting and attractive features. Once you sign up for a free account, you will be able to shop in any online store in the USA.They will give you a US-based delivery address which you must use when shopping and making orders. So whether you are a South African or any other nationality, you will get a Shipito address for your own use. All your purchases will be shipped to this address, which is actually a warehouse owned by Shipito.

The company has several warehouses in the USA including one in Austria. When your packages arrive at the warehouse, they will be repacked and consolidated for efficient storage and shipping. Pictures of the package are taken and shared with the client.

The firm does not only provide forwarding of goods to international destinations, but they also provide mail forwarding which is made possible by a personal US address. To make your online shopping easier, the company gives a free VISA US debit card to every one of their members. This card will be sent to you after signing up.

Unlike other shipping agents, Shipito offers separate services for individuals and bulk importers. If you have been following the complaint boards on the internet, there is one forwarding  company that has been accused of applying bulk shipping charges on individual packages, and as a result, clients were paying inflated charges.Shipito doesn’t hide its charges, the pricing for individual and bulk importers is clearly displayed on their website. If you intend to buy a single package, for example a box of shoes, you have to use the individual account. If you are buying in bulk (2 or more packages), then you will save costs by using the bulk account which is priced at $4.17 per month for an annual subscription.

  • Payment Methods – VISA, MasterCard
  • Delivery Methods – FEDEX, DHL, TNT, USPS Express Mail, Airmail Economy
  • Destinations – Includes South Africa. Many African, Asian and South American countries.
  • Support – 24/7 Live Chat, Email, Telephone, Mobile App
  • Services – Goods and Mail Forwarding, US Address, US Debit Card with Shipito brand name, Assisted Purchase.
  • Shopping Geos – USA stores and retailers

 

OPAS / ShipToMe

After merging with OPAS, ShipToMe is now known as OPAS, but they are still providing parcel and merchandise forwarding services for international buyers who are not able to buy from US shops. The company’s operational concept is similar to Shipito in that they provide you with a US address, which you can use as a package delivery address as well as a mailbox for forwarding mail.

When signing up with OPAS, you will need to choose from different plans, namely the Free Plan, Premium Plan and Premium Plus Plan. Rates differ based on the features but the paid plans start from $10 a month or $5 a month for an annual subscription. Paid plans offer more savings on shipping along with other conveniences. With a free plan, you can begin shopping online at any US store. On checking out, remember to use your US address in the order form. The only thing that does not change is your name and surname. When your order is complete and the invoice is paid, the store will send the package to your US address, which is the OPAS warehouse. From there, the workers will organize your packages for overseas shipping to South Africa and other destinations.

People use OPAS to buy things from over 28 popular US retailers which include Apple, Amazon, Victoria Secret, Best Buy, Old Navy, Abercrombie & Fitch, Evo Gear and Zappos.

Most of the retailers that the company works with are partners, so a client will benefit from deals and discount coupons that are offered from time to time.

  • Payment Methods – Credit Card, PayPal and other methods upon request
  • Delivery Methods – DHL
  • Destinations – South Africa, International
  • Support – Email, Contact Form
  • Services – Merchandise Forwarding, Parcel Forwarding, US Address, Mail Forwarding, Assisted Shopping
  • Shopping Geos – USA stores and retailers
  • Prohibited Goods – http://www.ship2me.com/restricted-items.html

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USABox

USABox claims to have over 60,000 customers. The company’s charges and plans are clearly laid out on their website. Like the previous two competitors discussed in this post, USABox specializes in the forwarding of packages and mail for clients who live outside the USA.They have two main plans, the Fast Track plan and the Platinum plan. The Fast Track plan is free, meaning that there are no subscription or setup fees. For both plans, a client will get a US street address for use in online shopping and delivery of merchandise. Package consolidation and re-packaging is done to reduce the volume of goods, and thus reducing the overall costs of air and ship transportation.

What distinguishes the free plan from the paid plan is that the paid plan offers three more features which come at a cost of $10/month. This includes shipping discounts and 6 months of free warehouse storage for your merchandise. A free account affords only 7 days of storage, so you have to ship out your goods quickly if you don’t want to incur extra charges. For those who like to outsource or delegate their shopping, USABox has a personal shopper service where an assistant buys for you.

  • Payment Methods – MasterCard, VISA, American Express, Discovery
  • Delivery Methods – DHL, FEDEX, TNT and others
  • Destinations – South Africa, International
  • Support – Email,
  • Services – Merchandise Forwarding, Parcel Forwarding, US Address, Mail Forwarding, Assisted Purchase.
  • Shopping Geos – USA stores and retailers
  • Prohibited Goods – http://www.usabox.com/prohibitions/

 

screenshot-www-usabox-com

FedEx CrossBorder

FedEx is a popular and trusted name in the shipping and forwarding of goods. If you want to work with a reliable brand name that has been in the business for a long time, then you should consider FedEx Cross Border. As a strategic plan to expand and diversify their services, FedEx acquired Bongo International to provide assisted shopping and merchandise forwarding for global residents who want to shop in US, EU and South American stores.

As a long time player in the shipping game, FedEx provides all services that are normally provided by forwarding agents such as consolidation of multiple packages from different vendors, warehouse storage, shipment tracking and shipping rate calculator. However, FedEx stands out from the rest in many aspects.

First, FedEx provides cover for your shipment in the event of damage or loss during movement and handling. They have a wide range of payment options and you are given an opportunity to inspect your items prior to shipping. Photos of each item in your package are taken and uploaded in your account where you are able to review them. If there are damaged items, missing items or any anomalies, you can ask FedEx to return the items for you.

Unlike other merchandise forwarders, FedEx has specialized services dedicated for two groups of shoppers – the individual shopper and retailers. You can use this company to import goods for your business in South Africa or any location around the world. The personal shopper service is available for those who need assisted shopping.

Calculating your shipping rates with FedEx is not a headache because they have an online calculator on their website which lays bare all the applicable charges. There is an additional calculator which helps you determine the amount of tax and duty required at the destination country.

For every box in their warehouse, FedEx charges $5 excluding shipping. There are no membership fees. Clients have 21 days of free storage, which gives you time to consolidate your orders from various merchants.

  • Payment Methods – MasterCard, VISA, American Express, Discovery and others
  • Delivery Methods – FEDEX
  • Destinations – South Africa, International
  • Support – 24/7
  • Services – Merchandise Forwarding for Individuals and Retailers, Assisted Shopping
  • Shopping Geos – Stores in USA,Europe and South America
  • Prohibited Goods – http://crossborder.fedex.com/us/shoppers/app/prohibited_items.shtml

 screenshot-crossborder-fedex-com

Grabr

Grabr is a new and exciting concept in the assisted shopping and forwarding industry. It is an unconventional package forwarding method which doesn’t make use of shipping companies such as DHL but in this case, the shipping agent is an adventure traveler or any traveler who is planning to visit a specific destination. In this regard, Grabr is not just a place to find someone who can bring you an overseas item, but it is also a place to meet and make friends with travel enthusiasts around the world.

To get started, you simply sign up for a free account. It is important to fill in accurate information about yourself, your location, name and photo etc. You then go on to post a request of an item that you are looking for from an online shop in the USA, Europe or other places. Let’s say you are looking for original Ralph Lauren sneakers, Diesel Watch, Motor X phone from Amazon or manufacturer’s website. Visit the online store and quote the item price and description. Enter the details in your Grabr post, including the pictures of the items and name of shop in which they are found.

Once your request is published, it will be seen by other members. If there are any members travelling to your country on a specific date, they will make an offer to deliver your item. The traveler gets a reward for delivering your items, so your reward must be good enough to attract an offer.

When you are buying something from a US shop via Grabr, you should factor in the cost of shipping plus any duty and tax that will apply at the border.Grabr is ideally okay for purchasing one or two compact items that won’t add too much weight to a traveler’s luggage i.e. shoes, smartphones, cameras, clothing, apparel and snacks. If you are thinking of importing of multiple packages or bulky goods, it’s not a practical solution. The disadvantage of using Grabr is that you can’t receive items at your own time, you depend upon the traveler’s schedule. If the traveler is visiting next month, it’s not possible to have the items next week. You have to wait. Worse still, if there are no travelers coming your way, you won’t get an offer.

  • Payment Methods – MasterCard, VISA, American Express, Discovery and others
  • Delivery Methods – Individual Travelers
  • Destinations – South Africa, International
  • Support – 24/7
  • Services – Assisted Shopping and Forwarding for Individuals, Travel Community
  • Shopping Geos – USA, Canada, Europe, South America, Asia or anywhere in the world where a traveler is based and where the required store/item is available.

screenshot-grabr-io

 

6 Reasons For Using Forwarding Companies that Shop and Buy for You – How does it Work?

There are many reasons why a global resident who needs an item from a US retailer would want to use a forwarding company. Below are six situations that necessitate using a foreign agent:

Credit Card Issues

Non-US Bank:

Some US merchants will not accept a debit/credit card that is not issued by a US bank. If you try to use such a card to buy online, it will be rejected although it’s VISA and MasterCard branded. As an example, a card issued by Nedbank, Standard Bank, ABSA and FNB in South Africa, Kenya or Namibia will not work if you try to buy from an American shop that doesn’t accept foreign cards. You have to open a bank account in the USA or get a US unlocked debit card that is issued by US merchants.

Bank Authorization:

Depending on the bank you use, some banks will give you an international debit/credit card that is VISA or MasterCard branded. However, if you want to shop online, you will need to get authorization from your bank i.e. your personal manager. When the card is authorized, you will be able to buy anything online, even from US stores which accept international cards.

Some banks issue cards which are pre-authorized, meaning that the cards will work right out of the gate, whether you are buying offline or online.

Verification Problems:

When you fill in your payment details right before checkout on an online store, the payment processor may try to verify your details with your bank. If the details don’t match i.e. if you use an incorrect address or name, your card will be rejected.

Store Doesn’t Ship Internationally

There are a lot of US brands that don’t ship internationally. They only provide shipping, which is mostly free within the US and surrounding islands. In such cases, you have to find a US agent who can buy and ship for you.

 Items Are For US Residents Only

A lot of brand new items which are released in the US are not available to international shoppers. In order to buy such items, you have to be a US resident with a US street address.  Global residents who need the items should make use of a US agent.

 No Alternative Payment Methods

A US store might ship internationally but only a few payment methods like PayPal and Credit Cards may be supported. There are many people around the world who don’t have access to credit cards and PayPal. These people won’t be able to buy even if they want the items.

 Need for Original Items

In this age, it is becoming more and more difficult to distinguish genuine items from imitations. High-end imitations are so good, they can easily be taken for the real thing. However, some lower-end imitation products especially those imported from China are easily identified by their low quality material and poor method of fixing. Cheap products from China are everywhere, even in the USA.You will find them, not only at small stores but also at major retail stores like Amazon, Walmart and Best Buy.

In South Africa, you should be living under a rock if you have not seen them at stores like Pep, Akermans, Mr Price, Woolworths and Edgars.

To be fair, not all China imports are low quality. It’s only the cheap ones that are low quality. There are a lot of high quality products that you can get from China if you have the money. However, while there are people who are pleased with high quality imitations, many people want the real brand. If you want the real brand, you should buy from the original store e.g. PUMA, not Amazon or Pep. A US shopping agent can get you real brand-name products from brand factory shops.

Keeping with Fashion Trends

If you are a fashion trend follower based in South Africa and other non-US markets, it’s highly likely that you have been disappointed by the unavailability of newly released brand items in these markets. Brand names have a reputation for selling to US residents first. As a result, the items will only be available in US stores.

If you are a consumer who likes to keep up with the latest trends, you should definitely get a US-based shopping agent to get you the items before the fad expires. Keeping with trends requires quick action and this means you must get the items first before everybody gets it.