Summer Vacation Shopping
Summer is approaching in the northern hemisphere and vacation plans are in the works. You might be planning to visit the US from overseas to tour our beautiful countryside and cities. Perhaps you have family here or even have an upcoming business trip.
You know how you like to shop for yourself, your friends and family when you travel but you might not like so much hauling all that stuff back home on the plane and through customs on the other end.
Ship Home using Package Forwarding
To simplify your travel while indulging your impulse to get wonderful things while you are traveling, use a package forwarder to send those purchases home.
There are a couple ways you can do this. One way is to box up your purchases while you are still in the US and ship them to your address at our warehouse. Or, even better, when you buy something have the store ship it directly to us. That way you save sales tax also since we are in a sales-tax free state.
Consolidate and Ship Home
Either way, you can watch your account online for when everything arrives at our warehouse, have it all consolidated to save on shipping cost and sent to you to arrive perfectly coordinated with your arrival home. And, because your purchases are going through customs on their own you will not be held up in customs as you pass back into your home country.
What would you like to take home from the US when you visit us here?
May the Forwarding Be with You
Each month brings new holidays and sales to US stores. As the seasons change, so do the types of products that you can buy from the US at the best prices.
Most of the best things to buy from the US in April are already starting to creep back up to regular year-round prices, but the good news is that there's a whole new wave of great prices at US online stores this month. If you've been thinking of purchasing any of the below items, now is the time to make use of your package forwarding address, because they won't be getting any cheaper as the year goes on.
Holiday Sales at US Online Stores
First of all, before you look at specific product categories, check out store sales related to two big holidays this month. The first is Mother's Day, celebrated the 13th this year. Most stores have already started their Mother's Day sales, but they'll be over by next week, so you'd better buy fast.
The second holiday in May is Memorial Day. Memorial Day sales are typically some of the biggest of the whole year. They'll likely be going live shortly after Mother's Day, so be sure to check your favorite stores if what you want isn't on sale yet.
After May, US clothing stores will have to start filling their inventory with summer wear. That means May is a great month to find sales on Spring clothing lines, either to wear for the next few weeks, or to hold onto until next year.
Outdoor and Sporting Equipment
Many stores are getting ready for summer, but outdoor equipment merchants are especially eager to get a jump on everyone's favorite season. Try popular US stores like REI, Patagonia, or Columbia Sportswear, all of which will be competing for your summer spending with sales in May.
Prices started to drop on this popular new class of laptop computers after the Consumer Electronics Show in January, but they are continuing to go lower. Ultra-portable also means ultra-shippable, so these are great models to buy from US stores and ship overseas.
According to Dealnews, prices on high-end televisions dropped more than 30% last year, and are continuing to decrease. They may be bigger than a laptop, but most consumers can still save hundreds of dollars by buying a new TV from the US and shipping it to their country.
Tips for Buying from the US in May?
Are there products that are especially expensive in your country at this time of year? If so, May is a great time to get those items from the US with your package forwarding address. Share you tips in the comments section to help ther package forwarding shoppers.
Buying from US Stores for Mother's Day
Mother's Day is celebrated on different days around the world, but more than 80 countries celebrate it on the second Sunday of May. The US is one of those countries, so if you're preparing for the May 13th holiday this year, here are a few gift suggestions that you can buy from US stores using your package forwarding address.
Apple Products for iMoms
This year, Apple has set up its own Mother's Day gift guide. Ideas include a new iPad or iPhone, or even an Apple TV. What makes these gifts truly Mom-worthy is that Apple will engrave them with your message for free. Even gift wrap is available!
And if you're one of those who is worried about ordering from the US Apple Store with a package forwarding address, don't be! OPAS can help you get the products you want from the Apple Store. :)
Personalized Mother's Day Gifts
If the Apple Store is a little too industrial for you, try getting your mom something more personal. Many US stores offer personalized items like jewelry, glassware, or decorations that will remind your mother how much you care every day.
A few US online stores that offer such items, and have special selections set up for Mother's Day, are Personalization Mall, Red Envelope, and Uncommon Goods.
If variety and practicality are what you're after, you can't beat the Mother's Day gifts at Amazon.com. There are the typical "mom" gifts like household items, but also more creative Mother's Day categories like "Professional Mom," "Fit Mom," and "Crafty Mom."
Moms for Men
For men having a hard time deciding how to honor their mothers, AskMen.com offers 10 Mother's Day gift ideas. Some of them, like flowers and spa treatments, won't export very well but others, like candles or home decor, are perfect.
Yes, you can ship perfume internationally with your package forwarding address. And that gift card is even good for free international shipping.
This Mother's Day, What Are You Buying from the US?
What great gifts have you found using your package forwarding address? Many shoppers are still looking for ideas, so share yours in the comments section!
Buying Online in the US from the Far East
Today we had a slew of interesting purchases come in for our customers; items they had bought that had arrived for our check-in process. I thought you might like to see some of the most interesting items, where they came from and where they are going.
- One box non drowsy Claritin from amazon.com going to Japan
- 9 t-shirts from Hollister.com going to Singapore
- Hugo Boss Men’s Boxer Briefs from Amazon.com going to Kawaguchi, Saitama, Japan
- Black and white Coach handbag from Hitch N Post on eBay going to Osaka, Japan
- Yoga Clothing from Gilt going to New Taipei City, Taiwan
- Pink hard shell iPhone case from Kate Spade going to San Mateo, CA along with a red patent leather Coach wallet from amazon.com
- Size small Victoria Secret leopard print satin PJ’s going to Hong Kong
- 2 US Army Vietnam war era veteran shirts going to Tokyo
- Another black iPhone hard case from Green Valley Trading going to Tokyo with a Samsung and a Motorola phone.
- Book “The Venetian Money Market; Banks, Panics and the Public Debt. 1200 – 1500, Money & Banking in Medieval & Rennaissance Vol 1 Venice” from Better World Books in Mishawaka IN going to Sedro Wooley, Washington USA
- Book: “Understanding Health Care” by Richard Worman from Amazon.com going to Mizuho-Ku,Nagoya-Shi, Aichi, Japan
- Children’s clothing from Carter’s Osh Kosh B’gosh going to Hong Kong
- Guitar case from Amazon.com going to Nishikimachi,Iwaki-shi , Fukushima-ken, Japan
What interesting items have you bought from the US to ship overseas?
How to Spot Fake Items when Shopping at US Online Stores
For the most part, using a package forwarding address to buy products from US online stores is pretty safe. Counterfeit goods aren't very common in the US, and most US merchants aren't willing to risk their business by breaking the law.
However, small sellers on eBay or other sites that let individual sellers sell items quickly without much verification may occasionally try to sell fake or counterfeit items, even though doing so violates eBay's terms of service. To make sure the product you're buying is real and not a fake, follow some of these basic guidelines when buying from US online stores from overseas.
Be Cautious if the Price is Too Low
Low prices are probably the reason why you're buying from the US in the first place, but be careful. If the price is too low, it might be because the item is a fake.
Try using a price comparison tool like iDeal Chooser (for retail merchandise) or Priceonomics (for used goods) to get a sense of what a reasonable price is. For example, if you find an iPad 3 for only a few hundred dollars, you might want to be suspicious.
Check the Item's Packaging
This can be a difficult one, because you can't actually inspect the product up close when buying online from the US. If possible, ask the seller for close-up photos of the packaging. (Most eBay sellers will oblige.)
Packaging with many spelling or printing errors is a dead giveaway. Look for model numbers, bar codes, or other manufacturer information. If this information is missing, it's a sign that the product may not be legitimate.
Do a Google Search
Many times, simply searching Google for information on counterfeit versions of specific brands or products will give you good clues about how to spot a fake. Try searches like, "How to spot fake Prada" or "iPad real or fake."
Ask the Seller
If you aren't sure whether a product for sale is genuine or fake, definitely ask the seller. Selling fake products in the US is illegal, so it's unlikely that anyone will openly tell you that they're selling a fake. But, if you have their word that a product is genuine, at least you have valid grounds to ask for a refund if it turns out to be a fake in the end.
What To Do If You Receive a Fake Product from the US
If you thought you were buying a genuine product but realized it was a fake once it was delivered, the first thing to do is to contact the seller. It's possible that they didn't even know the product was fake, and will refund your purchase.
If you receive a fake product and the seller won't accept a return, you should contact eBay or whatever website the seller is using. Selling fake products in the US is illegal, and in some cases eBay will arbitrate if you were sold fake goods.
Your Tips for Spotting Fake US Products Online?
Have you ever received a fake product from a US online store? How did you know it was a fake? Share your tips, stories, or experiences in the comments section.
Classy, well-tailored, cheap and ethical – Zara, the world's favorite clothing store
Zara’s worldwide fashion presence has made headlines in the fashion and business worlds with their innovative approach to both fashion and business. Their brick and mortar stores often require security to control the rush of eager customers for weeks after their grand opening.
Their online stores are also opening throughout the world; the US online site opened in September 2011. The prices are supposed to be the same in-store and online but you cannot find online store (or even land-locked stores) in every country. AND, Zara does not ship outside any country. Nor do they take foreign credit cards.
But with your OPAS US address you can shop the US Zara store from anywhere in the world, and if you do not have a US credit card you can use our Personal Shopper Service and have us buy your items for you.
Shopping Green at Zara.com
Zara’s mission statement says “we aim to contribute to the sustainable development of society and that of the environment with which we interact.” Features of the green commitment are saving energy, an eco-friendly store design, less manufacturing waste, social equity for all staff, and a commitment to only use animal products from animals raised on food farms and under no circumstances from animals sacrificed exclusively for the sale of their hide.
Their clothing and accessories are made with ecological fabrics such as organic cotton, and they feature PVC-free footwear. Purchases are wrapped in eco-friendly packaging.
Free US Shipping from Zara and no Sales Tax with OPAS
Zara ships free within the US and if you use your OPAS US address you pay no sales tax as Oregon is a sales-tax free state.
Use "Priceonomics" as a Guide to Buy Used Products from the US
There are a number of good price comparison tools that help package forwarding shoppers find the best prices when buying products from the US, but most of these tools only include new, retail products in their comparisons.
Priceonomics is a price comparison tool that helps you find the best price when buying used, or second-hand, products from the US. Unlike retail products, the price of used products can vary greatly from seller to seller, so it's not always easy to know if you've found a good price.
Using Priceonomics is very simple. All you have to do is type the name of the item you're looking for into the search box, and Priceonomics will give you a report on the price of used items from various sources.
The report includes both a "fair price" for the item you're looking to buy from the US, as well as a range of acceptable prices. This can be helpful if you're planning to buy an item on eBay, but aren't sure what a reasonable bidding range is.
Additionally, the report lists items for sale locally on sites like Craigslist. If you're using Priceonomics from outside the US, you might want to try using a web proxy near your package forwarding address to make sure you get accurate results. You can then use a personal shopper to make the purchase locally.
Finally, Priceonomics has a feature called "I Want to Buy This at a Great Price." All you have to do is enter your email address, and Priceonomics will automatically contact you when the item you want is available at a good price. Again, this works similarly to other price comparison tools like iDeal chooser, but the difference is that Priceonomics only searches for used items, so the prices are likely to be much lower than sites that compare retail prices.
Best Sites to Buy Used Products from the US?
Priceonomics analyzes over 130 million listings from across the internet. Craigslist and eBay are two of the most popular US sites for used products. Do you have any other favorites? Share your suggestions in the comments section.
Honing your Golf Skills for Spring
Spring is here in the northern hemisphere and summer is coming soon. Some of our customers are preparing to be in tip top form with their golf swing by buying golf equipment to train with and use on the course. I thought you might be interested in hearing about this unusual shipment that passed though our warehouse recently.
The Golf Equipment Purchase in the US
Our customer is a family man; he bought training equipment for his son and himself from three different US on-line stores. First he bought an Explanar Training System and an Explanar Junior Training System to hone up on form. The full-size system was $990+$99.95 S&H and the junior system was $599 with no S&H to our OPAS warehouse.
Then he bought a set of Tour Striker training clubs for his son, for $99.95+$10 S&H as well as a set of standard Tour Striker clubs for $219.98 with no S&H.
The total cost to our warehouse was $2,018.88. He saved as much as $200.44 on sales tax by using OPAS since we are in a no-sales-tax state.
The Tour Striker clubs arrived on April 4th at our warehouse. The full-size Explanar Training System arrived on the 5th. The Junior Explanar Training System and the training clubs arrived on the 6th making the delivery complete.
The OPAS Shipment from the US to Japan
Our customer asked us to inspect the packages when they arrived to be sure the items were as ordered ($5 fee). And he asked us to consolidate the packages ($10) and to expedite the processing of the shipment ($5). He wanted to insure the package for $2,018.88; the 2% insurance fee was $40.38.
The packages we received had an actual combined weight of 189 pounds with a dimensional weight of 233 pounds. We consolidated the four packages into two. The new single package with the clubs was long and over-sized. The combined actual weight was 187 pounds and the dimensional weight was 206 pounds, saving 27 pounds of shipping weight over the original packages. Our customer could have added up to 19 pounds of gloves, tees, or balls to the packages for free shipping on those items.
We were asked to expedite the shipment using DHL so we sent it off on April 9, 4:35 pm to the Osaka region in Japan. The shipping fee was $646.84 plus a fuel surcharge of $90.56 and an over-size charge of $50 for the clubs. The total cost leaving our dock was $847.78.
The packages traveled from Portland, to Los Angeles, to San Francisco, to Osaka, and was delivered to our customer’s address on April 12th at 2:26 pm local time; two days and six hours of transit time door to door thanks to DHL's excellent service commitment.
Father and Son on the Golf Course
I can imagine the joy and expectation of fun times as they pulled the clubs out and assembled the trainers. I’d like to be a fly on the golf bag as they show off their new skills on the course with friends. What a great idea for Father's day - coming up in the US on June 17 - a gift of clubs or a round with friends on the course.
Package forwarding shoppers don't have to live in the US to take advantage of US sales cycles. April is the start of spring, and that means most US stores are going to be trying to make room for new inventory by offering big sales.
But typical winter items aren't the only things that are good to buy this month. Plenty of other items are less expensive now than at any other time of year. If you've been waiting to make a purchase until the right deal came along, now might be the time to pull out your package forwarding address and place an order at your favorite US store.
Best Deals for Package Forwarding Shoppers in April
- Clothing. Most clothing catalogues bring out their new spring lines around February, so April is when the Spring sales start to kick in. For example, there's currently a short sale at Abercrombie and Fitch (30% off).
- Non-iPad Tablets. Apple's iPad 3 came out in the US just a few weeks ago, which means that other tablet makers are trying to compete by offering discounts on their models. One hot Android model, Amazon's Kindle Fire, is now only $199.
- Sneakers and Athletic Shoes. Brands like Nike, Adidas, and Reebok are hot around the world, but sales of their products slump in winter, when no one wants to play outside. As the weather gets better, shoe stores offer discounts to get people back in the habit.
- Vacuum Cleaners. You might not typically think of buying a vacuum cleaner with your package forwarding address, but it could save you a lot of money. To celebrate "spring cleaning" and to make room for new models to be released over the summer, most US stores offer sales on vacuums in April.
- TVs and Electronics. The Japanese fiscal year ends in March, which means that electronics from big-name Japanese brands like Sony and Toshiba go on sale in April. You can buy these products from the US cheaper than in most countries, but OPAS members can also buy them directly from Japan. :)
- Boots and Winter Gear. Now that Spring has come, winter gear is on sale to make way for summer goods. If you live in the southern hemisphere, or if you just want to get a jump start on next winter, check out the clearance on boots at 6pm.com and other stores.
- Laptops. DealNews tracked the price of a standard laptop over a twelve month period and found that April was the month when prices were lowest. If you've been waiting for a new laptop, this is the month to get one.
- Car Parts & Accessories. Most people tune up their vehicles in the summer, so prices are at their lowest right before the season starts. If parts for specific makes and models are hard to come by in your country, you can order almost anything from RockAuto.com using your package forwarding address.
What Else is Good to Buy from the US in April?
Do you know of other item categories that are especially good deals for package forwarders in April? Maybe there is an item that is especially expensive in your country this time of year? If you know a savvy way to use your package forwarding address this month, share it in the comments section.
Compare Prices at US Stores and Get Price Alerts
Package forwarding shoppers are always hunting for the best deals on US products. You know that US online stores have your favorite products at lower prices than in other countries, but which store has the lowest price on the product you want to buy?
IDeal Chooser is a web app that compares prices on products you want to buy. But even more importantly for package forwarding shoppers, it lets you know of upcoming price drops, since if you live outside the US, you probably aren't familiar with major US sales cycles.
To use iDeal Chooser, all you have to do is enter the name of the product you want to buy. You'll see a list of all the US stores that sell that product, with accompanying prices.
To get an alert when the price drops, just enter your email address. You can even filter the alerts by store, so you'll only be notified when the price drops at the stores you're interested in.
What's the Best Price Comparison Tool for US Stores?
In addition to iDeal Chooser, we've also looked at Decide and ShoppingNotes. Which of these tools do you think is the best, and why? Or do you use a different tool that you like better? Let us and other package forwarding shoppers know in the comments section!