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What is Parcel Forwarding? A Complete Guide for International Shoppers

International shopping has exploded thanks to the growth of e-commerce. In 2022 alone, e-commerce sales exceeded $1 trillion. People worldwide are buying products from other countries, looking for unique items, better deals, or brands they can’t find at home. But there’s a catch — not all retailers ship internationally.

That’s where parcel forwarding comes in. It’s a simple solution: you get a local address in the retailer’s country, your purchases are shipped there, and then a parcel forwarding company sends those packages to your actual address, wherever in the world that may be.

In this guide, we’ll explain what parcel forwarding is, how it works, and why it’s a game-changer for international shoppers. We’ll also guide you on how to pick a trustworthy parcel forwarding company, what to consider, and what to avoid.

Let’s dive in.

What Parcel Forwarding is and How It Works

Navigating international shipping can be a maze of rules and high fees. Parcel forwarding simplifies this process, acting as a bridge between you and retailers in another country. Essentially, it’s your ticket to shopping from stores that don’t typically ship to your location.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up with a forwarding company: Choose a parcel forwarding service and create an account. They’ll give you a local address in the retailer’s country.

  2. Shop online: Browse your favorite stores and make a purchase. Use the local address provided by the forwarding company as your shipping address.

  3. Receive notification: The forwarding company will notify you when your package arrives at the local address.

  4. Choose your shipping: Decide how you want your package sent to you. Pick a carrier, shipping speed, and other services like package consolidation or repackaging.

  5. Pay for shipping: You’ll be charged for international shipping from the forwarding company to your address.

  6. Track and receive: Once shipped, you can track your package until it arrives at your doorstep.

For example, let’s say you live in the US and want to buy shoes from a UK store that doesn’t ship internationally. You sign up with a UK-based parcel forwarding company like myUKmailbox, and they give you a UK address. You order the shoes and have them shipped to that UK address, and once they arrive, the forwarding company sends them on to you in the US. Simple as that.

Benefits of Using a Parcel Forwarding Service

Shopping from another country sounds great until you hit a wall: the retailer doesn’t ship to your location. That’s just one problem parcel forwarding solves. Here’s why it’s more than just a workaround — it’s a smart shopping strategy:

Access to Products Not Available Internationally

Ever found the perfect item online, only to discover the store doesn’t ship to your country? Parcel forwarding unlocks a world of products that were previously out of reach.

Consolidation of Multiple Purchases

Are you buying from multiple stores? Instead of paying international shipping for each one, parcel forwarding services can consolidate your purchases into one package, saving you money.

Lower Shipping Costs

Some forwarding companies negotiate special rates with carriers. The result? Cheaper shipping options than you might find on your own.

Faster Delivery Options

In a hurry? Parcel forwarding companies often offer a range of shipping speeds, so you can choose how quickly your package arrives.

Secure and Tracked Shipments

No more wondering where your package is. Most parcel forwarding services provide detailed tracking, and they handle your items securely from start to finish.

In short, parcel forwarding isn’t just about getting a package from point A to point B. It’s about expanding your shopping options, taking control of your shipping costs, and adding a layer of security and convenience to your international shopping experience. It turns the entire world into your personal marketplace without the usual hassles of international shipping.

Choosing a Parcel Forwarding Company

Not all parcel forwarding services are created equal. It’s not just about getting a package shipped; it’s about trust, reliability, and cost. Here’s how to pick a company that won’t let you down:

  • Reputation and reviews: Start with what other customers are saying. Look for reviews and ratings online. A company with a solid track record is usually a safe bet.

  • Fees and pricing structure: Understand the costs upfront. Look for transparent pricing with no hidden fees.

  • Customer service: Choose a company that’s easy to reach and quick to respond. You want a team that will answer your questions and solve your problems.

  • Shipping options and partners: More options mean more control. Look for a company that offers a variety of shipping carriers and speeds.

  • Parcel consolidation: This service allows you to combine multiple packages into one shipment, saving you money on international shipping fees.

  • Personal shopper services: Some companies will shop on your behalf if a retailer doesn’t accept your payment method. This is a handy feature for truly hassle-free international shopping.

By keeping these in mind when you’re choosing a parcel forwarding service, you’ll be able to find a reliable service. But there are a few red flags to keep in mind. Steer clear of companies with consistently poor reviews, vague pricing information, or unresponsive customer service. If it feels sketchy, it probably is.

Enjoy Easy International Shopping

As you can see, parcel forwarding is more than a convenience—it’s a gateway to global shopping without borders. It’s about finding that perfect item, whether it’s a fashion piece only available overseas or a tech gadget released earlier in another country, and getting it delivered to your doorstep without a hitch.

But like any service, it’s essential to choose wisely. Take the time to research and choose a parcel forwarding company that aligns with your needs, budget, and expectations. Because when it comes to shopping internationally, you deserve a service that’s as seamless and enjoyable as the shopping itself.

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