Australia Post Has Launched A US Freight Forwarding Service

Want to buy that Barneys handbag, that fancy Saks perfume or those shorts from Nordstrom? Well pine no more — Australia Post has launched a service that lets you shop online in the States and have your purchases shuttled directly to your doorstep through the Aussie postal service's delivery network.

AusPost's ShopMate service is in a similar vein to Shipito, MyUS and ShipToMe, but rather than relying on international courier services like UPS and FedEx, ShopMate uses the United States Postal Service to get parcels to Aussie shores and then its own network of delivery centres and postal deliverers — including the excellent postal locker setup that lets you pick up your deliveries from a petrol station, convenience store or after-hours post office without waiting around at home all day.

Once you've created an account at ShopMate, you're assigned a unique US postal address, to which you send the purchases that you make when shopping online at a US retailer — plenty of which offer free shipping on purchases over a certain value to their continental US customers. Once parcels arrive at your US address — actually an Australia Post-associated logistics warehouse — it's catalogued, and then forwarded onto you in Australia within 5-8 days once you make a Customs declaration and pay the associated fees.

It's very interesting to see Australia Post getting into the burgeoning online purchasing game. With the internet putting international stores within easy reach of potential customers in Australia, and many online stores offering more affordable prices to US buyers than Australians, it's not surprising that Australia Post wants a cut of that revenue. At the moment, competing freight forwarders are using couriers like UPS and FedEx to send parcels from US warehouses to customers, and the costs for especially bulky or heavy parcels can be prohibitively high.

On the face of it, though, ShopMate doesn't look like it offers especially good value. A flat rate of $24.95 is charged per parcel delivery, and a weight rate of $5.95 is added per 500g of parcel — that means a 3kg box for a pair of sneakers will cost you a full $60.65 to transport to Australia, likely destroying the cost advantage of buying overseas in the first place. While competitors like Shipito are likely better value overall, the AusPost name might be a draw for some buyers. [Australia Post ShopMate]


Comments

    Australia Post has launched a service that lets you shop online in the States and have your purchases shuttled directly to your doorstep through the Aussie postal service’s delivery network.

    I'd rather not - their delivery network is notorious for damaging stock. Heck, I once had a parcel from Amazon arrive with one end almost completely torn open from rough handling.

    And when I won a Dreamcast on eBay, five out of the seven games it came with had the hinges of the game casings broken despite the whole thing well surrounded in four to five layers of bubble wrap.

    On the face of it, though, ShopMate doesn’t look like it offers especially good value. A flat rate of $24.95 is charged per parcel delivery, and a weight rate of $5.95 is added per 500g of parcel — that means a 3kg box for a pair of sneakers will cost you a full $60.65 to transport to Australia, likely destroying the cost advantage of buying overseas in the first place.

    Yet another company in Australia doing business from the same book as Gerry Harvey. Australia post is already over priced for what it offers and yet they still cry poor.

    Last edited 03/11/14 2:53 pm

      That postage is a bargain really in my books, i've never had a real problem with Aus Post, apart from the occasional cracked CD case but then again JB HiFi use very loose packaging in my opinion.

      Last time I bought stuff from the states through a forwarder I paid $90 USD for postage, for around a 2.8-3kg item, which I thought was a lot of money considering. Even though I paid about 1/5th as to what I would pay here from the same company for the exact same products.

        There are better alternatives. I think Gizmodo wrote up a good list around this time last year [Edit: Kyle down there has a bunch of names to Google]. Most of them are focused on holding and consolidating bulk lots of mail, so the real savings are in buying 10 items with free (within the US) postage over the course of 30 days and then bringing them over together in one large box for $60, but even when I've found myself in a position where I had to bring over one single item I haven't been burned.
        Also if using eParcel has taught me one thing it's that you won't get anything shipped under 500g (cubic). Since the items are being sent within the US there's every chance it'll arrive in what amounts to an 8Kg box. They claim to do repackaging for a fee which is good but that's a bit of a tricky subject when you're talking about one off shipments.

        I understand this isn't a mail consolidation service so it's aiming at a slightly different market than most but I feel like if you dig around you can get a better deal. At one point I had DHL working with a manufacturer picking up shipments every other month on my behalf at a better rate than this.

        Last edited 03/11/14 9:20 pm

        That postage is anything but a bargain. Shipito does it for way less.

      I've had not one problem with Aus post.how do you know the bad freighting doesn't happen OS?

      I've only ever had great service from Auspost, and I buy pretty much everything online, never had a damaged package. Couriers however have pretty trashed every delivery.

        I'd say it comes down to area, I've had nothing but bad times with aus post as have others in my area, but then family and friends interstate have never had a drama.

    Hi - do you know which US state the Australia Post address is? Is it one of the US sales tax free states?

      Good question. I couldn't find out straight away, but I've asked. I know I've used Shipito in the past and loved the fact I could ship stuff via Oregon and avoid sales tax.

        I signed up and my address in the U.S. is based in oregon

        The pricing structure looks very similar to HopShopGo, which is also there.

        I've been using Stackry for the last year. They have a warehouse in New Hampshire which is US sales tax free. Great customer service team..

      Oregon seems like it's part of the list :)

      http://taxes.about.com/od/statetaxes/a/States-Without-A-Sales-Tax.htm

      Accidental double post... Whoops

      Last edited 04/11/14 7:39 pm

    I don't get you Australia... If I order something from America through Australia post it is fine. But if I use a VPN and 'purchase' content off Netflix it is Pirating.. Double standards much???

      [citation needed]

      I'm not aware of the Government going after people using VPN's to pay for content. They are going after illegal downloading.

      in fact I recall a Parliamentary Committee recommending that Australians seek legal ways of circumventing Geo-blocks to pay for digital downloads.

      I don't get you Australia.

      This should be turned into a bumper sticker, T-Shirt even coffee mugs.

      Don't worry, based on the latest leaked draft of the IP section, the TPP will make parallel importing illegal, so enjoy it while you can.

      Last edited 04/11/14 9:27 am

        What are they going to do - throw you in jail for buying something cheaper overseas ? Screw that ... I'll go move myself overseas and the Oz economy can lose my income entirely if they do that !

          They won't throw you in jail, no. But they are talking about raising taxes on international purchases over $30 or something to make it prohibitively expensive to buy overseas.

            Gerry Harvey is, and every government recommendation is "no, that's a bullshit stupid idea and will cost more than it will generate".

      It's not pirating. All you are doing is breaking Netflix's 'official' terms of service. In reality, I don't think they care too much as they are getting paid.

      If you're already doing that and it's classed as pirating, you may as well do it PROPERLY and torrent the movie completely for free.

    It's tempting for light stuff like boxed DVD's/Blu-rays but then you have sites like ozgameshop which offer both the cheaper price from being overseas + much cheaper shipping to your door for things like that anyway

    Pfft!!! for that price i wont even consider it!

    If i cant get something ill go without.

    'Oh boy, this looks really handy!'

    A flat rate of $24.95 is charged per parcel delivery

    *Smile fades, close tab*

      Lol... that's the EXACT thing I was thinking.

      That's actually a bit misleading because they actually charge $24.95 + $5.95 for the first <500g, so if you forward an envelope weighing a few grams, you get charged for the full first 500g - So a minimum of $30.90 per shipment (with no consolidation option).

        Why would you use a freight forwarding service for an "envelope weighing a few grams?"

    More competition in this area is always a good thing, it's a little unfortunate they couldn't actually compete on price here, as this is the major problem for these services right now. I suppose with the backing of Australia Post it should get more attention and popularity (though, it might end up being just as confusing as the rest of their "services").

    Auspost are unbelievably pathetic with the worst customer service you could imagine. Still waiting for a package sent ordinary parcel post from Sydney 9 days ago, I could have walked there and back by now. And the local posties regualarly ride right past your letter box when you're home and pop the "you weren't home card" in so the lazy bastards don't have to stop and walk to your door to deliver the package, which someone has paid Auspost to have them do. Hope they get closed down completely and the lazy staff all get sacked.

    BongoUS
    ShipitTo
    MyUS
    Comgateway
    PriceUSA
    HopShopGo

    All better

    Last edited 03/11/14 6:32 pm

      I use HopShopGo and it's pretty good. The Australia Post service doesn't seem to consolidate packages, and they also don't have a "buy for me" service, so you can't shop websites that don't accept Australian credit cards (that list is growing). So I couldn't shop Sephora, which is kind of a dealbreaker.

      If anyone cares, though: if you're using HopShopGo for something heavy or bulky, use "Live Quote" to get an estimate and then purchase the "cap cost" option. I tried to purchase a $68 ceramic decorative object from ZGallerie once that was going to cost $420 to ship with HopShopGo, which was obviously out of the question. But when I got a quote and purchased the "cap cost" option it was only $58.00 or something.

    Nice to see Australia catching up to NZ Post, and our rates from USA or UK far better.

    meh... some places still need a us based credit card... fix that little snag and im there

      Try using an AusPost Load&Go card. It's like a pre-paid credit card used for when one goes overseas.

      I use one for paying my Netflix subscription.

        Tell me more? How about iTunes?

          .....I admit I never bothered to try. I just import rather than play games with the iTunes store.

          But there isn't to explain: it's a prepaid credit card where you load it up and it is used like a normal credit card. There are fees and conditions when specifying the card details, mainly the name has to be Valued Customer, but for the rest you'll have to look at the AusPost web site as there are quiet a few details.

      Why is this even an issue? US issued prepaid cards are trivial to get online.

    Keep up with the times guys #CrowdShiping (postrope.com) is the way to go.
    Some lady from NY sent our moto 360 in 4 days for a $15 fee!
    Forget freight forwarding! And this is not just from US its worldwide!

    Last edited 03/11/14 10:31 pm

      I'll just ship stuff to my sister in NY and get her to send it on for the cost of postage :)

    So its overpriced and using a service that is notorious for damaging and "Losing" packages. ill take my money elsewhere :)

      Try CUZIN - have whatever you want shipped from anywhere in the world, using the power of the crowd. Heaps cheaper and a better community vibe.

    This may be of interest... Their dangerous goods policy specifically mentions lithium batteries as forbidden and cites mobile phones, mp3 players and watches as goods which they will not ship.

    Sad face for my master plan to get me a Moto360 the cheeky way. However I suspect this will affect gizmodo readers more broadly.

      Li-Ion batteries are dangerous goods, but not forbidden. You can still arrange shipping if you like. Just read T&C.

    That's exactly what I was waiting for.
    Signed up and have bought the thing I wanted for months.
    I would rather support "claimed lousy" AusPost for extra fee then flawless overseas company.
    If you think that AusPost is overpiced - consider your wage.
    Btw, I never had a single issue with AusPost which I couldn't resolve, and I have much worse experience with different courier services.

    Disclaimer: I bought the particular model, which is not offered by local shops and not available for shipping to Australia by the original seller, and cost 2x on Amazon + $100 shipping.

    Last edited 04/11/14 10:33 am

      What's Ahmed Fahour doing posting a comment here?

      "If you think that AusPost is overpiced - consider your wage."

      What does that mean?

    I think a comparison table for such services would be useful, hinthinthinthint Mr Editor sir.

    Just opened an account, can someone tell me now how to close my account, now that I have seen the pricing. Will keep using myus.com, why do we get so ripped off here in Aust.

    Have used ShipItTo for a long time and really don't see why i would stop using them now. ShipitTo will use a courier and still cost less than this and get to you much faster. Most things i order cost about $30 and a delivered within a few days once sent from the warehouse. You have a choice of which courier service you want to you to save money or get it really fast

      I'm guessing Auspost will pick up Australian customers that just aren't aware these services already exist in the US

      +1 for Shipito, still a lot cheaper than AusPost's option and gets delivered in ~3 days by TNT Express.

    I use PriceUSA for my US shopping at the moment.
    If AusPost is cheaper I'll swap, but it doesn't sound like they are.

    Need comparisons here thanks. ive bailed on most online shopping unless free post.

      Don't bail! Even factoring in shipping costs, it's often cheaper to buy online.

    What's the best one out of all of these though? I've checked most of the sites listed and they all charge about 40-50 bucks for a single Graphics Card :P

    Not impressed with shipping rates...I'll continue to use www.parcelbound.com - plus I like the flexibility of being able to select different shipping carriers not always rely on just 1.

    With US companies not only charging less for shipping, but residing in sales tax free states and "adjusting" value for customs declaration so you don't pay Australia tax, I don't think Auspost are going to be the greatest deal.

    We use Comgateway.

    Last edited 06/11/14 4:54 pm

    Get this ... ShopMate regard anything with a lithium ion battery as a prohibited item! So forget about buying, toys, electronic games, cameras, phones, computers, e-readers, etc. I'd love to know how these items classify as prohibited, given that literally millions of people board planes with them on a daily basis ... is Australia Post serious?
    PS ... I just used another service to buy a smartphone from overseas only three weeks ago ... no issue whatsoever. Trust Australia Post to muck it up!

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