Today I have a shopping hack for you. We all know that fashion in the US is much cheaper than in other countries, and there is often a much wider selection of goods. But not every online store sends its goods to Italy. But there are companies like Planet Express. I’ve been a little bit hesitant because I have not met with similar service yet. So I was more than surprised to find out what opportunities Planet Express opens.
How Planet Express Works?
Planet Express is a US based company located in sunny California where it also has a warehouse. The Package Forwarding service works by setting up an account on their site, paying a $5 deposit that serves to prevent fraudsters. This amount is later added as your shipping credit, so you will not lose it. You will then get a US address with a special number A****. According to this number, the incoming packages will be linked to your account and stored in the Planet Express warehouse.
Example of the US address:
17224 S. Figueroa Street #A1234
Gardena, CA 90248, USA
To this address you can order goods from different US stores, for example, Amazon, Walmart, Tommy Hilfiger, Forever 21, Ralph Lauren, GAP and so on (tips for fashion online stores you can find in their blog post).
The Planet Express account is free in the Free Package Plan (packages will be stored for free for 10 days at the warehouse). If you want to use consolidation (see more info below), you need to upgrade your account to Consolidated package plan. It costs $10 per month and your packages will be stored for up to 45 days for free.
What Is The Package Consolidation?
If you order from multiple stores, you can use package consolidation service. They will make 1 package from 5 (for example). This saves you even more money on shipping by packing the packages in the smallest possible size and also removing unnecessary packaging material to save weight.
How I mentioned already, the big advantage of Planet Express service is the availability of goods – you can order goods that are US exclusive only. In addition, postage via Planet Express is much cheaper than if you were looking for your own courier. It is thanks to the large volume of packages that this company sends via carriers such as DHL, FedEx or USPS because they can negotiate better conditions than you – as an individual person.
How Much Does It Cost?
To give you a better idea of the shipping costs, I will give you an example. Let’s say you want to order some clothes that fit into a box of dimensions 40x30x20 cm and will weigh up to 2 kg.
You can even calculate the postage cost in advance using the postage calculator. In my opinion, this is a great tool, except for the price you get an estimate even for the delivery time. The cost of postage depends mainly on the dimensions of the package, its weight and the delivery method you choose – the faster, the more expensive of course.
For cheaper goods, the company recommends Planet Mail Economy, Planet Mail Express, and USPS methods. For those more expensive, use carriers like DHL and FedEx.
What About Customs?
It should be mentioned that even with Planet Express, you will not be able to avoid customs duties. Basically, it depends on whether your package is checked by customs officers or not. The Italian authorities have set the de minimis value for duty at 150€ and the tax at 22€. This means that if the value of the package is below these values, it is not necessary to pay the duty or the tax.
Don’t You Have Enough Time? Use Shop For Me
Shop For Me is a very interesting and useful service. If you don’t have enough time or you do not know how to do the order, you just need to enter a request in the Planet Express administration, and their employees order the goods for you. Of course, the service is charged ($5 + 7% of the total order to cover bank charges).
You can use Shop For Me if you are able to pay in US dollars only (in a specific store). You recharge your Planet Express credit (with euros) and Planet Express will buy the things for you (using American dollars). How cool is that?
Do You Want To Start A Business In The US? Try Fulfillment
Currently, it is very popular to use service called fulfillment. This is a service where you don’t have to own your own warehouse – just send your goods to Planet Express warehouse and they will take care of everything from storage to order dispatching. So, if you’re thinking about running your own online store, I’d recommend visiting their fulfillment page.
Are you still unsure whether this service is useful? Check out Planet Express customer reviews at Trustpilot.com or Facebook. There are hundreds of them. I do not know how about you, but I’ve already had to share this service with my family and friends. 🙂