A few days ago, Australia Post made a surprising announcement: the opening of a new US shipping forwarder service named ShopMate that allows Australians to shop online with US merchants and have goods that would otherwise be restricted to purchase by US residents only to be delivered to Australia.
The service is very similar to existing shipping forwarders: it works by providing subscribers with an address in Portland, Oregon that is given to the US merchant that you make your purchase from. The merchant ships your item(s) to the Oregon address, where Australia Post will redirect it to an address in Australia that you specify on the ShopMate website.
Costs for the ShopMate service seem to be largely in line with existing shipping forwarders such as ComGateway, starting at AU$24.95 per parcel plus AU$5.95 per 500g (the greater of volumetric or actual weight), with a bundling discount of AU$10.00 per subsequent parcel applied to parcels sent to Australia on the same day.
Insurance is an added extra, and the usual caveats for shipping forwarder services apply (particularly the fact that GST is payable on imported goods valued over AU$1,000). Australia Post claims a delivery time from their Oregon warehouse to your door of 5-8 business days.
ShopMate is also running a promotion to celebrate their launch, offering 20% off shipping costs until 30th November using the coupon code ‘ShopMateLaunch’.
With Christmas approaching and the ‘Australia Tax’ still applying heavily to most technology goods, ShopMate could be a useful tool to save a few extra dollars on gifts this year.
Do you use a shipping forwarder? Will you be trying ShopMate? Let us know in the comments.