For the past few months I've been working for a Korean startup that offers a "buy it for me" service for Koreans to order directly from US merchants without paying the markup charged by Korean importers. After working here a while and seeing how cheap the shipping rates we get are, I thought the foreigner community in Korea might be interested in using the service as well.
Basically we order the product to a package forwarding company in the US, who then reships the package to Korea. Since they ship in bulk, shipping ends up being much cheaper ($10 - $15 for most products) and faster (usually 1-2 weeks) than if you had shipped directly from the merchant. It also allows you to order from stores who don't offer international shipping, since the product is simply being ordered to a domestic US address.
You can use the shipping companies directly yourself (the one we're currently using is called ohmyzip), our service just saves you the effort of needing to place a separate order with the shipping company and fill out extra forms. Basically just tell us the product you want, we'll put together a final quote that includes shipping & customs charges, place the order for you, and set up all the arrangements to have the product delivered to your door. (We don't charge commission to customers – we earn our commissions on the merchant side).
Anyway just trying to get a rough idea if there's enough interest from the foreigner community to see if it's worthwhile to build an English version of our service. Do you all order products from the US? Is this something you would be interested in? Happy to answer any questions as well. Thanks!
Anyone interested in ordering products from Amazon and other US sites?
An English service would be great.
Here's one of those companies that I personally use. They're fast and cheap.
Sorry Duffy if this is your competition.
No worries at all! As I said, we use the services of Korean shipping companies like the one you linked above to offer our service, so they aren't our competitors.
The advantage we would offer is that you wouldn't have to fill out forms in Korean, and you wouldn't have to make two separate purchases (one on Amazon and a second payment to the shipping company). You would simply fill out one form and pay once, and we handle the logistics in the middle.
Based on the interest I received on other forums I posted this on, it looks like we are going to move forward with the English service. If anyone is interested, feel free to contact me at [email protected] for more information, or I'll update this thread with more when the service is ready.
I would definitely be interested in this! Keep me posted...
Why would we not just purchase from Amazon directly? They do accept international orders. I personally shop there as well as ebay out of Hong Kong all the time. You may also be interested to know that Amazon and Ikea are setting up business in Korea in the near future.
A lot of products they won't ship to Korea, and the ones they do ship the rates can be high and shipping times rather slow. But if you're happy with ordering from them directly, then yes, you wouldn't have a use for the service.
Rumor mill has it that Amazon is supposed to come to Korea later this year, but no one really knows what that means yet or what kind of service they're planning on offering. Regardless we plan on adding more stores in the future and are just using Amazon as our initial test case, since they stock probably 90% of the products people would want to buy from overseas.
Depending on the rates I might be interested.