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.
Online Stores Can See Your Location
Online stores and other websites can use your computer's IP address (a unique label assigned to any device that uses the internet) to determine your location. Websites can tell which country, region, or even city you computer is located in.
In fact, you can test this yourself simply by visiting Spyber.com. Spyber.com will show you where it thinks you're located--you might be surprised by how accurate it is!
Online stores use this information to show you different versions of their websites depending on your location. For example, if you visit store.apple.com from a computer in the US, you'll see the US Apple Store. But if you visit the same URL from a computer in the UK, you'll see the UK Apple Store.
Usually there is a bigger difference between the different versions of an online store than just language. The biggest difference is price.
Because prices on most products are lower in the US than in other countries, you'll always see a lower price at the US version of an online store than you will at your country's version.
Web Proxies Let You Order from US Online Stores from Outside the US
Sometimes you can change the country for an online store simply by clicking a link at the bottom of the screen. But even if you can view the US version of an online store from outside the US, most websites won't let you order that way. If you try to place an order on the US version of an online store from another country, your order will typically be denied, or cancelled at the time of processing (Abercrombie & Fitch is well known for this!)
However, you can use a web proxy to order from US online stores, even if you're not in the US.
For example, try using the popular web proxy Proxify to view Spyber.com by entering the URL into the text box. You'll notice that your own location is no longer detected. Instead, Spyber thinks your computer is located in one of Proxify's proxy locations.
Now you can make any US online store think that you're shopping from the US, and successfully order from their US website using your US package forwarding address.
Note that some websites block proxies, so you may have to try a few different ones in order to get through. In addition to Proxify, here are some other popular web proxies:
Which Web Proxies Work Best with US Online Stores?
It might take a bit of trial and error to determine which proxies work best with which US online stores. If you've tried and had success (or a failure), share you experience in the comments section so that others can know what to look out for.
Use a Forwarding Service for Better Prices at Abercrombie & Fitch
Abercrombie & Fitch is an icon of casual American style, and their clothes have become popular all over the world. But if you want to get their newest looks outside of the US, you're going to face a few obstacles.
The first is price. Although you can simply walk into an Abercrombie & Fitch store in many parts of the world these days, you'll often find that the prices in these stores are about double the prices in American stores.
You might think you can avoid the high prices by buying online, or you may head online straight away if there isn't an Abercrombie & Fitch store near you. However, if you simply point your web browser to www.abercrombie.com, you'll automatically be redirected away from the US website and onto your country's specific A&F site.
Now, there are a couple tricks you can use to access US websites from outside the US, but if you try to place an order on the US Abercrombie site, you'll soon learn that they will only ship to a US address.
The solution to all these problems is to get a US shipping address from a forwarding service. Once you have a US shipping address, you can order from Abercrombie's US website at the lower US prices. Your order will be sent to the forwarding company, and then forwarded to you in your home country. Problem solved. :)
Wait, Doesn't Abercrombie Cancel Orders Shipped to Forwarding Companies?
If you've heard that Abercrombie doesn't ship to forwarding companies... you've heard right. Abercrombie, along with a few other popular US stores, are known to cancel orders shipped to freight forwarders.
Luckily, there is a way to get around this problem, too. So far, OPAS is the only company that offers a way to buy from companies that block package forwarding orders, so if you have a US shipping address with another forwarding company, it might be worth your while to switch forwarding companies if you really want to buy from stores like Abercrombie & Fitch.
IMPORTANT UPDATE (JANUARY 5TH, 2012): Due to a high volume of orders placed at Abercrombie & Fitch by our customers, even our usual methods of getting around canceled orders have stopped working. At the moment, the only way to successfully order from Abercrombie is to place a personal shopper order for an in-store purchase (which carries an additional fee).
So, the good news is that, yes, you can still order from US Abercrombie & Fitch stores. The bad news is that, since the only way to place an order is for an in-store purchase, the availability of your order is limited to what the stores have in stock (we currently visit multiple stores in the area in order to maximize availability).
Be assured that we are working on different solutions to buying from A&F, and will update you as soon as they are ready!
Other "Problem Stores"?
Abercrombie & Fitch isn't the only US online store that makes it hard for international shoppers to take advantage of US prices. If you've had problems at other stores--and if you've figured out ways around them--please share in the comments section below!
Use Package Forwarding To Access US-Only Clearance Sales
Did you know that some online stores have sales that are only visible to US shoppers? When you look at a website, it can detect which country you're in. This is how online stores automatically direct you to the country-specific versions of their websites.
A lot of package forwarding shoppers know that to see US prices, you have to make sure you visit the US version of a website instead of the version targeted to your country. But even if you're shopping at a US website, some of the best prices may be hidden from you if you're shopping from outside the US!
For example, the Abercrombie & Fitch website has a clearance section that is only visible to US customers. If you visit the site from outside the US, you might see an item on "sale" for $60. But US customers could find the same item on Clearance for only $20.
How To View US-Only Clearance Sales
To see the US version of any website, and the US-only clearance sales they offer, you'll need to trick the online store into thinking you're visiting their website from the US. You can use Proxify to hide your location from US websites, and view the sales that they're hiding from you.
Just enter the URL of the store you want to visit into Proxify, and choose a US location from the Proxify Satellite drop down menu. Voilà! You're now shopping online from the US. :)
International Shipping from US-Only Clearance Sales
Well, now that you've gotten access to the US-Only Clearance sales, there's still the matter of international shipping. Even though you can now see all the great deals, if you try to check out using an international shipping address, you'll find that store will not ship clearance items internationally.
You know the answer to this one... just use your tax-free package forwarding address, and you can get international shipping on all the clearance items you want.
What Stores Have US-Only Clearnance Sales?
Abercrombie and it's sister brands (Abercrombie Kids, Hollister, and Gilly Hicks) all have "secret" US-only clearance sales that you can only access with a US package forwarding address. What other stores do you know of with sales like this? Make a list in the comments section below, or share your tips with other package forwarding shoppers on our Facebook wall!