The United States is a global leader in manufacturing and distributing quality products, offering competitive sales, attractive promotions and tempting deals and being a home to many of the world’s most desired brands.
However, a large number of U.S. merchants ship only to local addresses and many international consumers who regularly make purchases online, are closely familiar with the frustration of discovering yet another famous American retailer that does not ship internationally or does not accept non-US credit cards.
Alternatively, some major shopping websites in North America do offer worldwide shipping, but charge astronomical and unfair prices for the service, which reduces the worthwhileness of the entire transaction – compared to buying the same or similar items from a local vendor.
This unnatural void in the market was the driving force behind the rapid development of the package forwarding industry, which was created as a direct response to the unmet needs of foreign online shoppers who live in a modern globalized environment.
How Do Such Services Work?
After an initial sign up, parcel forwarding companies provide their international customers a local US address (with a unique identifier, such as a suite number), which can be used as the user’s new US shipping address at American ecommerce websites.
Many forwarders operate in states with no (or low) sales tax and the logistical center which they manage, receives the delivered packages from the shopping sites and forwards them to the customer’s local address in his home country.
The parcel forwarders ship a huge volume of items on a regular basis to all corners of the world, which is the reason for getting massive discounts from the major shipping companies.
These deep discounts are then passed on to the end customer, who enjoys reduced international shipping rates.
In general terms, here’s how the process works:
- The user registers with the service (usually for free), creates a new account and receives a US mailing address.
- The customer can then shop any ecommerce website in the United States and have the items shipped to his USA address.
- Once the package arrives at the company’s warehouse, the customer is notified and requested to pay the shipping costs.
- After payment, the client can track his shipment until it is delivered to his address.
- Access: Even those who live outside the US, can shop without borders and bypass artificial territorial restrictions.
- Reliability: Forwarders help deliver items that international consumers purchase from US retailer websites to their door step in a safe, reliable and secure way, using dependable organizations such as the USPS, FedEx, UPS, DHL and others.
- Money-Saving: Ability to shop for sought-after items in the US and bypass expensive local merchants in the user’s country.
- Insurance: Many services offer free or paid insurance on all shipments.
- Repacking: Forwarders offer a repacking service, which can reduce the package’s volumetric weight and as a result – significantly cut down on final shipping costs.
- Concierge Service: Foreign consumers who wish to order from an online store that only accepts US credit cards as a payment method, can use the forwarding company’s personal shopper service that can pay on their behalf and facilitate the transaction.
- Package Consolidation: The customer can combine multiple small parcels from several shopping sites into one shipment at a reduced overall price.
Paying for Int’l Parcel Forwarding with PayPal
Even though PayPal is one of the most popular payment methods on the internet, many U.S. package forwarding services have not adopted it yet.
However, a fair number of players in this market do accept PayPal and hopefully, their number will increase with time.
Before Choosing: Features to Consider
In order to make sure that you receive optimal benefit from using this type of service, it is crucial to conduct proper research and verify that certain features that you need are actually being offered by the providers that you consider.
Doing so will help you decide which company is the best fit for your individual needs.
Such features may include:
- Payment via PayPal
- Free U.S. Address
- No Signup or Membership Fees
- No Sales Tax
- Free Warehouse Storage
- Repacking Option
- Package Consolidation
- Choice of Shipping Carriers
- Personal Shopper / Concierge Service
- Pre-Delivery Photos
- Online Tracking Tool
- Shipping Calculator