The internet may have made it easier for us to purchase goods overseas — such as China, France, and the UK — but occasionally, online shoppers may still hit a roadblock. If a retailer does not ship to Singapore, or the item you're hankering after is only available in the middle of Odessa, Texas, you might have to rely on a forwarding service.
Most Singaporeans use a forwarding service when they shop at US retailers who don’t ship directly to Singapore. Here are four you can rely on:
Ezbuy is one of the most popular Taobao shipping agents in Singapore, and offers the lowest cost from US to Singapore. Take note the service works on a self-collection basis, but you can opt for a home delivery for a small fee.
Ezbuy also has a Prime service, which provides unlimited shopping at S$2.99 flat per checkout, regardless of weight, size or quantity. This service is available at said price for a 5-day trial (limited time only), and S$69 for six months, or S$99 for a year.
The freight forwarder has expanded its services to include a shopping portal. Now you can order from popular USA brands like Kate Spade, Coach, and Under Armour. Your orders will be automatically shipped to Singapore by Ezbuy.
An overseas forwarding service from Singapore Post, VPost lets Singaporeans access shops from the US, China, Taiwan and Europe. Although VPost charges a repacking fee, it will only repack your item if there's a difference of 2kg or more between the volumetric weight and deadweight of your parcel. Don't worry though, the S$6 fee is lower than the savings you will get from repacking.
Opt between the Standard or Economy service. Although Standard is faster, the service charges the higher of actual or volumetric weight. Therefore, if your package is considerably large, choosing Economy (which charges by weight only) can give you substantial savings.
The creme de la creme of all US forwarding services, Comgateway charges premium prices for speedy shipping and great service. Comgateway offers a sales-tax-free address, allowing you to save anywhere between 5.5 per cent to 9.45 per cent off your shopping.
We've shown the charges and services for Express service in the table above. If you're looking to save on shipping costs, go for the Standard service, which ships your package in 5 to 8 business days.
Their OneBox service allows you to consolidate orders from multiple merchants to be shipped to you at once, allowing you to save as much as 8 per cent on shipping weight.
Because of its detailed tracking and speedy shipping, they are ideal for high-value items that need careful handling. If you're looking for more affordable shipping for lower-value items, Ezbuy or VPost might be a better choice.
This Hong Kong-based freight forwarder offers Singaporeans another convenient and fuss-free shipping option for your US Purchases. It also ships from various other countries, including the UK, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.
The pricing structure is simple and competitive; you'll be charged S$5 for each pound, rounded up to the nearest pound. If your consolidated weight is 7.8lbs, you will charged for 8lbs = S$40.
Shipping charges are based on the sum of the chargeable weight of your package only, which means you won't have to pay extra for shipping excessively bulky items. But do take note that the total weight of consolidated shipments cannot exceed the limit of 20lbs.
We also like that there is a free consolidation and repacking, so you can buy as many items as you like without worrying about inflated delivery charges. However, note that your items will only be held for a maximum of 30 days.
Note: Before you get too click-happy on your favourite US online shopping site, know that purchases above USD$2,500 (S$3,420) in value will require a Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED) form. If you require one, check with your forwarder on how to submit it. Don’t forget about the 7 per cent GST payable on your buys, too, which is applicable if the CIF (Cost of Shipping + Insurance + Freight) exceeds S$400.