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OPAS Blog: International Shipping from US Stores

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One Of Our Favorite Brands: Amazon.com

 

At OPAS, we strive to make sure that people from all around the world can enjoy the benefits of good sales and great deals. We often get questions about what our favorite brand is.

While there are many terrific brands that you can access using OPAS services, the one that we get the most questions about has to be Amazon.com -- and with good reason.Amazon.com has been the world’s largest online retailer for many years. With every passing year, however, it finds ways to exceed expectations and excel at what it does.

Amazon Truly Has The World’s Largest Selection

Amazon got started all the way back in 1994, and it only sold books at the time. Back then, it had a lot of fierce competition from traditional bookstores in the United States. Now, it sells millions of books each year as well as products from hundreds of other categories.

Amazon has recently become associated with the Kindle, its e-book reader. The Kindle was first released in 2007 and has consistently been updated since then. Although international users can’t access all Kindle features, it has caused the brand to be more “invested” in electronics.

Other areas that Amazon excels at include:

  • Movies and music
  • Computer software and games
  • Beauty and health items
  • Toys and children’s goods
  • Apparel, shoes, and accessories

Amazon’s One Stop Shopping Makes It Perfect For Many Customers

OPAS gives you the entire world of online shopping at your fingertips. But what happens if you don’t have much time, and need to find exactly what you want as quickly as possible? When you need to find an answer fast, looking at Amazon is often your best bet.

Not only does Amazon provide all kinds of great goods, but it also acts as a marketplace for smaller sellers throughout the United States. These smaller businesses can often provide you with rare, hard to find items or deeper discounts than Amazon itself.

Whether you are dealing directly with Amazon or using an Amazon seller, though, you’ll find the whole process is easier when you use OPAS. Our forwarding service helps you cut through the clutter, get your package fast, and avoid unnecessary U.S. taxes. 

Here is a great example of the kind of money you can be saving using your OPAS Oregon address:

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Get Started With OPAS And You Could Be Shopping On Amazon Soon

Are you excited about Amazon? If you are, begin with OPAS. Email us to find out how we can help you with a great forwarding service you’ll love.

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An Amazon Shopping Spree and OPAS' Oregon Advantage!

 

Despite the fact that it’s only a website with no actual salespeople, we all know Amazon has some of the best “salespeople” in the world. The company takes great pride in the prognosticative algorithms they use to predict your shopping habits; once you’ve bought one item from Amazon, they always seem to know what you’ll want to buy next. Click on one item, and it’s even more information for them to get you to the next one.

As you may have experienced, this can lead to a lot of “domino effect” shopping, where you went to Amazon’s site to buy just one thing but ended up with a whole truckload of stuff.

As a little bit of an experiment, I’ve decided to see where this phenomenon of “domino shopping” takes me, but with one specific element in mind: the OPAS Oregon Advantage!

In case you don’t know, OPAS is located in the state of Oregon. Oregon, beyond having lovely forests with wonderful big trees and mountains, also has no sales tax. Sales tax is usually between 7% and 10% for every other state in the US. So let’s see how much you’d save during a shopping spree just by sending your items to an OPAS Oregon address!

So, starting with the “recommended items” on my Amazon page, the first item I see is a “Troy and Abed in the Morning” coffee cup, merchandise from the exceptional (and sadly, recently cancelled) television show, Community. It’s a personal favorite, and buying the collected seasons from Amazon is no doubt how it ended up recommended for me:

troyandabed

Price: $21.95. Sales tax: $2.19 (I’m going with the nice, round 10% figure for hypothetical sales tax, mainly because the math is easiest, but also because some other forwarders are in 10% sales tax states, so it’s applicable for many international buyers.)

Off to a pretty slow start, but two dollars and change is still savings.

Now the Amazon associative algorithm starts to do its thing – “Customers who bought this item also bought…” Is there a deadlier phrase in internet shopping?

CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY! Great choice!

cardsagainsthumanity

Price: $25.00. Sales tax: $2.50. Total savings: $4.69.

Now the next level of connective selling kicks in – “other items to consider…” and it shows me a Braun 390cc-4 Shaving System.

shaver

I don’t know why, after being interested in Community merchandise and Cards Against Humanity, the Amazon algorithms would think that I'm a beard-wearing man in need of such a fine shaving tool… I am, but that’s beside the point… (hipster alert!)

Price: $149.99. Sales tax: $14.99. Total savings: $19.68. Now we’re starting to get somewhere.

Next it’s linked me to a Roku streaming media player. Ooh. We’ve seen a lot of customers order these, or Google Chromecast, or similar products. I’ll add this one to the spree just because it’s applicable for international buyers out there.

Roku

Price: $49.50. Sales tax: $4.95. Total savings: $24.63.

Next, they pull out the big guns. They've suggested the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9”. Let’s just say I were to do it, and I were to get the 32 GB storage model…

kindle3

Price: $299.00. Sales tax: $29.90. Total savings: $54.53.

At this point, I think I’d have to restrain myself. Still, I’ve managed to save over $50 JUST by shipping to Oregon. If I were an OPAS member with a Package & Mail account with yearly billing of $100, I’ve saved enough to cover half of my membership fee for the whole year in just one afternoon! This doesn’t even account for the savings I’d accrue by having lower shipping costs as a result of my Package & Mail membership, or being able to consolidate the items from this spree with future orders, a service that’s available to all OPAS members!

So I think you can see the benefit of an OPAS account, and the Oregon advantage. It’s not just about paying less for shipping, it’s about paying less for the merchandise itself!

Heartbleed: a Courtesy Message from OPAS

 

heartbleed2

If you’re not aware, the wide world of the internet and E-commerce was recently rocked by the revelation of the Heartbleed bug, which was an error in the code of OpenSSL, the secure socket layer encryption software used by many major websites.

This bug may have exposed millions of users’ sensitive information to data thieves; passwords, credit card details, etc. According to analysis, up to 17.3% of the 1 million top ranked websites use OpenSSL software which may have been vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug, including many of our members’ favorite sites for shopping.

At this point, there’s no need to panic. The best course of action is just to change your passwords for any site you think may be compromised. All of the largest online companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, banks and mega-merchants and the like are all aware of the problem and have been working to fix it with patches in their security code.

If your information on these sites was exposed to Heartbleed, then replacing the vulnerable password will serve to re-secure your information. Once all websites have been patched and all passwords have been reset, then this bug, which has been out “in the wild” for about two years, will be extinct.

For smaller sites, there are ways to check if they’ve been fixed to remove Heartbleed vulnerability, like the following tools:

-          http://filippo.io/Heartbleed/

-          https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/

If a website has not yet remedied the problem, then changing the password will not help, as the new password will still be exposed to the bug. Once they’ve patched, you’ll want to make the change to ensure security.

In case you’re wondering, OPAS Servers were NOT exposed to the Heartbleed bug – the security software we use is not one of the kinds affected.

We wanted to be certain we addressed this serious but controllable issue. So many of our customers conduct online purchasing from so many different merchants, and we want to make sure you’re all aware of the best methods for remaining safe in doing so.

Black Friday/Cyber Monday, the Essential Survival Guide! (Part 1)

 

Attention, OPAS members!

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are almost upon us, and there’s some things you NEED TO KNOW!

A savvy online shopper can save a whole bundle by shopping on these dates from November 28 to December 2, but if you’re not prepared, you’ll find that all your hopes for great deals are replaced with frustration of blocked orders, slow transactions, and sales that end before you can get your order in!

But if you are prepared, not only can you survive this chaotic shopping wilderness, but you can thrive!

Today and in our next installment, we’ll be talking about what you need to know!

  • It’s never too early to begin preparations! As an international shopper, you have a number of hurdles to overcome – many of the best deals offered by merchants during this season, even online deals, come with “no international shipping” as a catch. So if you don’t already have one, get an account with OPAS! You’ll get a US address in the sales tax-free state of Oregon to place your orders with!
  • Find some merchants to buy from! Sure, everyone will be pushing sales on Black Friday weekend, but how are you to know the best ones for you? There’s plenty of lists out there, on sites like:

http://www.freeshippingday.com/
http://www.retailmenot.com/
http://www.couponcabin.com/
http://www.dealcatcher.com/

  • Find out the shipping status of the merchants you want to buy from! There are a lot of merchants that won’t ship to package forwarders! We call them Black List merchants, and we have a whole document listing them out, available for download. Check it out! Here at OPAS, we have methods to get around these blocks, including our Personal Shopper service!

Here’s our Black List document!

http://info.opas.com/the-package-forwarding-blacklist

  • Get a US Unlocked card! International credit card fraud is one of the biggest threats for merchants on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Even those that accept international payment methods will be watching for transactions where the shipping and billing address don’t match, and this could lead to canceled orders. Get a US Unlocked card with an address that matches your OPAS address, and be sure it’s loaded up! US Unlocked needs time to process your application for a prepaid US card, so be sure to submit sooner rather than later!

Here’s a link to US Unlocked that leads through the OPAS site. Use this link and you’ll get a discount on your US Unlocked sign up fee!

http://www.opas.com/prepaid-virtual-credit-card.php

  • Prep your credit cards! If you’re planning on only using your own payment methods to make your purchases, make sure your balance is paid down. We find many of our customers use prepaid cards to shop, so make sure you’re loaded up. If you’re using a credit card with a limited line of credit (another shopping method we find customers use for security purposes), make sure there’s no outstanding holds that could suddenly come due and disrupt your balance.

That's all we have for today, so follow these helpful guidelines and email any questions to may have to us at service@opas.com. You'll soon be prepared for the biggest sales events of the year in the US!

Next time, we'll talk about OPAS' specific policies for Black Friday/Cyber Monday, including how it will affect our Personal Shopper service.

How Much is the Tax on That?

 

Here at OPAS, one of the greatest benefits of our service is the fact that as we’re located in Oregon, all purchases made to an OPAS mailbox are not assessed US state sales tax, which runs between 7% and 10% in most of the other states in the US.

If you’re an established OPAS customer, you’ve probably heard us talk about this before in emails, or seen our frequent mentions of it on our website and in this blog, but news this good needs spread, and we want to make sure everybody knows how much they can save with OPAS, not just on shipping costs, but on the very items they’re buying to ship.

To that end, we ask: How Much is the Tax on That?

Kindle Paperwhite?

That’s $119.99 USD on Amazon.com.

In Florida, that’s $8.39 in tax. In California, it’d be about $10.79 in tax. That may not sound like a whole lot, but let’s look at some higher cost items, shall we?

Let’s suppose you went on a shopping spree at Ralph Lauren…

Suppose you spent $400.00 USD on your new wardrobe. In Florida, you actually spent $428.00. In California, it’d be $436.00. Starting to see the savings, right?

How about if you decided to buy this lovely new Dell Inspiron laptop, at $799.00 USD? How much is the tax on that?

Well, for Florida shoppers, the tax would be $55.93, and in California, it’d be $71.91!

But you don’t have to worry about that, because as an OPAS customer, you get to order your merchandise in the best state in the US to shop in... Oregon!

Mother's Day Gifts to Buy from US Stores

 

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.mothers day ipad

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.

Amazon.momdescribe the image

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!

 

us-shopping-guide

 

A Day in the Life of an International Package Forwarder

 

Buying Online in the US from the Far East

Buy Victoria Secret online in the US from overseasToday 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.

What interesting items have you bought from the US to ship overseas?

international-credit-card-shopping-guide-a

Buy Sports Collectibles from the US with a Package Forwarding Address

 

Use Your Package Forwarding Address to Buy US Sports Collectibles from Amazon's Newest Store

Did you find a place to watch the Superbowl in your country last weekend? Or maybe you're more interested in the NBA, NHL, or MLB? Whatever sport gets you excited, you can find thousands of unique items and collectibles, from cards to autographed equipment, on Amazon's new Sports Collectibles & Memorabilia Store.sports collectibles memorabilia store

The store contains over 2 million items and all come with Amazon's "A to Z guarantee," so you can be sure that you'll get what you're expecting. That can be reassuring if you're usually hesitant about buying sports collectibles on sites like eBay.

You can browse the store by sport, year, type, team, or price, so it's easy to find something that interests you.

Get NFL, NBA, and NHL Collectibles Outside the US

Amazon's new Sports Collectibles store is only available in the United States. But that doesn't mean you can shop from other countries! Just use your US package forwarding address to order your sports team merchandise from aywhere in the world.

If you don't already have one, get a US forwarding address here. Then you can enter your new US address when you check out with Amazon, and have your order forwarded to your country.

Where Else Can You Buy American Sports Items Online?

Amazon's new Sports Collectibles store is great news for international fans of US sports. But where have you bought your collectibles until now? There may not be many NFL fans in your country, but there are millions around the world. Share you tips in the comments section!

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3 Tools for Easier Package Forwarding from Amazon.com

 

Digital Tools Make Online Shopping Easier for Package Forwarders

Amazon.com is one the most popular online shopping sites for package forwarders. Even though there are different Amazon sites for many countries, the US site usually has the best prices, and even some products that aren't available in other countries and can't be shipped outside the US.

Sometimes, there are so many great deals on the Amazon US site that it's hard to navigate and keep track of them all. Here are three tools for your web browser or desktop that make shopping on Amazon a little easier.

3 Tools to Make Package Forwarding from Amazon.com Easier

  1. PictureFox
    PictureFox is an add-on for the FireFox web browser that makes it easier for you to view and compare images of different products.picturefox

    When you search for a product on Amazon, you get a list of search results, with a small image of each product. If you want to see a larger image of the product, you have to click through to the individual product page, then click again on the product's individual image gallery.

    With PictureFox, you don't have to leave the search results page to see a larger image. Just move your mouse over the thumbnail, and images from the product's gallery will be displayed automatically and added to the PictureFox gallery.

    How PictureFox makes package forwarding easier: When shopping across borders, the ability to compare prices is essential. With PictureFox, you can even compare photos from Amazon's US site with photos from your local Amazon site, side by side in the PictureFox gallery.

  2. Amazon Deals!
    Amazon Deals! is another browser add-on, this time for the Google Chrome browser. Amazon Deals! puts a small button on your browser's toolbar that simply lists all the up-to-the-minute deals and discounts available on Amazon.com's US site.amazon deals

    Even though there are other ways to get access to these deals (for example, by following @amazondeals on Twitter), the Amazon Deals! add-on is much more convenient, since it shows the deals in the same window you shop through.

    How Amazon Deals! makes package forwarding easier: One of the greatest features of package forwarding is consolidation. The Amazon Deals! add-on puts your bargain hunting and your shopping in the same place, so you can find great deals more easily.

  3. PriceWatcher
    PriceWatcher is a downloadable application for both Windows and Mac that lets you track the price of specific products on Amazon. As soon as the price drops on a product you want, PriceWatcher will alert you.pricewatcher

    In addition to the Amazon US site, PriceWatcher also works with the Amazon UK, Germany, France, Canada, Japan, Italy, Spain and China sites, so you can compare prices across countries.

    How PriceWatcher makes package forwarding easier: If you want to buy from the Amazon US site but don't live in the US, you might miss a deal if the product you want goes on sale while your time zone is asleep. You can set PriceWatvcher to automatically add the item you want to your shopping cart once it hits a certain price, even if you're away from your computer.

Best Online Tools for Package Forwarding?

What other tools do you use to make buying from US stores easier? Do you prefer browser add-ons or desktop applications (or mobile apps)? Join us on Facebook to take our poll and join the conversation.

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How to Buy the Amazon Kindle Fire Outside the US

 

Want International Shipping on Amazon's Kindle Fire? Here's How.

Last week Amazon finally unveiled its Kindle Fire, a new tablet computer that runs on the Android operating system. Some experts have suggested that this may be the first tablet to truly disrupt the iPad's dominance, mostly because of it's unbeatable price: $199.

But for those keeping an eye on the tablet market from outside the US, the Kindle Fire might seem a bit out of reach: so far, Amazon has only announced plans for US sales, and has not set any international release dates.amazon kindle fire outside the us

Amazon won't offer international shipping, but you don't necessarily have to live in the US if you want to preorder the device (which goes on sale November 15th). You just need a US address.

Get a US Address to Preorder the Kindle Fire Outside the US

Luckily, if you really want to buy a Kindle Fire outside the US, there's an easy way to get around Amazon's "US Only" policy. Here's how to do it, in three easy steps:

  1. Get a US address from a package forwarding company
    In just a few minutes, you can register for a package forwarding account and have your very own US address.

  2. Use your new address to preorder the Kindle Fire
    Your US package forwarding address is a standard street address, so you can use it to buy "US only" items from Amazon.com, or any other US store.

  3. Ship your Kindle Fire internationally
    Amazon will send your Kindle Fire to your new US address. Once it arrives, you can login to your package forwarding account to ship your package anywhere in the world.

While You're At It...

Now that you've got a package forwarding account, you can also combine your Kindle Fire with other purchases, even ones from different stores, to save on the international shipping cost. If you need some shopping ideas, check out our free US Shopping Guide.

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