Have You Heard About This Shopping Hack For International Shoppers?

Logistics may sound like a boring topic, but after reading today's blog post you will never see it as boring as before. We are going to explain to you, what are package forwarding companies and how you can benefit from their services when shopping online. 


Table of Contents
  • How Does Package Forwarding Companies Work?
  • Why And How YOU Can Benefit From It?
  • How Much Does It Cost?
  • Summary

How Does Package Forwarding Companies Work?

For those of you who don't know the concept of package forwarding companies, we are going to explain it in 3 simple steps:
  1. Every package forwarder will provide you with an address of their warehouse + unique identification (like suite ID). 
  2. After getting the address, you can order things from stores that don't ship outside of the country (usually, it is the US, but there are also package forwarding services in Japan and other parts of the world).
  3. Once the package forwarder receives the package addressed to you, they will send you a notification. You will fill in the customs declaration form and select the shipping method for your country.
Package forwarding companies also offer a lot of additional services and other benefits to its customers. For example, Planet Express (popular US package forwarder) provides you 2 free pictures of the package when they receive it in one of their two US (in California and Oregon) and one UK warehouses. Thanks to these pictures you can see if there are some leaks of fluids, if the package was damaged, etc. We will tell you more about the benefits of package forwarding in the next section.

Why And How YOU Can Benefit From It?

There are plenty of actions that the package forwarding company can do once they receive your package. You can request:
  • Repacking the package – to save on weight and dimensions that influence the shipping costs.
  • Your 'special request' – removing invoices, removing items, splitting the package into several packages, checking the condition of the contents, etc.
  • Taking additional pictures of the package and its contents – to check if there is any damage to it.
  • Package consolidation – merging several packages into one package to save on shipping.

The main reason why people use package forwarders is to get access to online stores that don't ship internationally or offer very limited shipping options. These stores include Amazon, Walmart, Target, etc. (see the picture below), and to shop for products for lower prices compared to their country.

Popular US stores and brands | Source: Planet Express
You can also take advantage of services like assisted purchase – the package forwarder will order from the online store you want to shop in that doesn't accept foreign credit cards (so you pay to the forwarder).

How Much Does It Cost?

The price of package forwarding, or the shipping respectively, depends mainly on the weight and dimensions of the package, country of delivery, and the shipping method you choose. But, the main point is that you save money on shipping because package forwarders can negotiate better prices with carriers like DHL, USPS, FedEx, etc. 
The savings are huge, for example, shipping a package from the USA with FedEx can be up to 80% cheaper than shipping it on your own. Planet Express did a short case study. In the picture below they compared (visit their website for more information on how much you can save).

Retail vs Planet Express shipping prices of the shipping from the USA to Tokyo, Japan compared | Source: planetexpress.com
Calculate the shipping costs with the postage calculator on the Planet Express website.
Note: Please, remember that you don't avoid customs and import fees when using package forwarding services. Inform yourself about the customs duty thresholds with your local customs authorities.

Summary


You can find plenty of shopping hacks on the internet, but using a package forwarder is usually not listed as one of them. It is because a lot of people don't know exactly how it works and what benefits it brings. We hope our blog post will inspire you and you find new opportunities that package forwarding brings.

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