When ordering goods online from the USA you can of course use the retail site’s own international delivery service, but this can vary in time and cost depending on their preferred method of shipping. There are some cheaper alternatives you should consider, particularly when you buy a number of items from different stores and want to bundle them together so you only pay delivery for one shipment (this is known as consolidation).
Box clever – use a parcel forwarding service
A number of parcel forwarders (or freight forwarders) offer a consolidation and shipping service and most provide a US postal address. Here’s how it works:
- You use the US postal address provided as your shipping address to send goods to
- Once they’re received at the shipping address, the freight forwarders can hold them for you and consolidate multiple items into a single package ready for delivery
- Once you’re ready for the parcel to be sent, the freight forwarders give you a quote on total shipping costs and send one parcel to you directly
Some companies also offer a concierge service. This means they will buy the items on your behalf and then forward them to you for a small fee or percentage of the cost of the goods.
GRATUITOUS SELF PROMOTION: Online Shopping USA now offers a FREE US shipping address through our partners Ship2Anywhere. Simply sign-up for Online Shopping USA membership and you’ll also receive $5 off your shipping costs for each order you place.
A search for similar services reveals the different approaches each one takes, from ex-pats who have evolved their business from helping friends out, to professional freight services.
When signing up with a freight forwarding company, you can use the service to:
- shop at online stores that don’t deliver outside the US
- avoid paying an international delivery premium
- consolidate a package by bundling multiple items into a single delivery
In addition, many of these companies offer free insurance cover in case the goods go missing and free returns for orders over a certain value. So if you’re thinking about buying a few hundred dollars worth of goods, it pays to check these companies out.
MyUS.com is a service that allows customers around the globe to buy goods from US retailers and then ship them to their home or business using global shipping partners. John Wright, Vice President of Sales and Marketing says “the main advantage of using a company like ours is we offer lower shipping rates than going direct to the shipper. He goes on to say “we are able to consolidate packages from multiple retailers into one package which saves the consumer a ton of money because shipping solo items direct from the retailer, the boxes are filled with unnecessary packing. If you consider that if you ship 3 dress shirts, 1 from BrooksBrothers.com; 1 from Barneys.com, and one from Pink you would get three separate boxes all filled with stuffing paper. We can send all three in the same box. Add to that our discounted fees, we save our customers an average of 80% on shipping”.
Another advantage is if the retailer doesn’t accept an overseas credit card, MyUS.com are able to buy the goods on behalf of the customer.
Average order values of Australians already using these services range from $300 – $600 and the most popular items being bought are electronics (including laptops), apparel, auto parts, shoes and ski and camping gear, depending on the time of year.
Brian Bates, founder and owner of Forwardit.us tells us “We have shipped many unusual items, including a weightlifting set, boxes of cereal, and customized M&Ms”. So there’s no limits as to what you can buy – just use your imagination!
A quick word on taxes and shipping duty…
In a nutshell, all goods (except for tobacco products and alcoholic beverages) may be imported duty and tax free if their value is $1,000 or less.
Note, however, where there are multiple packages to the same addressee in Australia from a single consignor overseas that arrive at about the same time, then the value of all packages will be combined for duty and tax assessment purposes. So the pro tip here is to order in consignments of less than $1000 and spread your deliveries over time.
We offer a FREE US shipping address through our partners Ship2Anywhere. Simply sign-up for Online Shopping USA membership and you’ll also receive $5 off your shipping costs for each order you place.
For more information about freight-forwarding companies, go to: