Your Questions About Shipping Pt. 1

We recently sat down with our OPAS Warehouse Manager, Steve. He is in charge of your orders from the moment they come through our doors until they are consolidated and securely packaged and ready to be sent to you. Steve shared with us some of the common questions that our customers ask about receiving and shipping.

What happens from the time my package arrives to when it leaves?

Steve: First, each item that comes in is registered into our system. Where it came from, the tracking number and the weight are recorded and it is labeled with a unique number. All the packages are stored together by the member’s ID number until we get a shipping request to send them out. The ID numbers of the items to be shipped together are printed out on what we call a “pick ticket”. The items are then consolidated, usually into a single package. Then we measure and weigh it to calculate the shipping charges. When customers want a shipping estimate or are paying by PayPal, we wait to get payment approval, and finally we print out the shipping label and send it on its way.

I can’t find some of my items in my OPAS account. Were are they?

S: First of all, the tracking numbers of all packages are scanned and marked as “delivered” by most delivery services (like UPS and FedEx) when they arrive at our warehouse. However, packages delivered by the US Postal Service are scanned and marked as “delivered” before they are loaded onto the Post Office delivery trucks. The actual time we receive the packages from the post office may be several hours after it shows up as “delivered” in the system. In other words, you may track it as being delivered hours before it even arrives at OPAS. Recently we have had issues where some packages are marked “delivered” to us actually days before they reach OPAS. This is a serious issue and we are in contact with our local post office to resolve this issue. Please feel free to contact us if you are seeing a USPS package tracked as delivered, but not appearing in our system. But chances are this is what has happened and hopefully we won’t be seeing this anymore soon.

We get a lot of inquires asking about packages that should have arrived on Saturday. We are not open on the weekends, so we wouldn’t have seen them yet. Our carriers know when this and bring us all the weekend deliveries on Monday. Also, Amazon contracts out many of their deliveries to private contractors who promise to make deliveries on the weekend. Our customers sometimes get an email telling them that a delivery attempt was made, but that no one was there to accept the package. In this case there is nothing the OPAS customer needs to do. We will receive your package the following Monday. So make sure you don’t pay extra for weekend delivery!

We receive deliveries from the post office and every other shipping company until the early afternoon every weekday. Any one of these deliveries can be hundreds of packages, which have to be registered one by one. So it may be a few hours between the time we receive a delivery to the time it is input into our system. Please be a little patient!

Shouldn’t scanning each package go faster than that?

S: Electronic scanners are fast, but they can’t do everything. They can’t check for any damage a package has received in transit. When a package is damaged in delivery we need to contact the customer and the shipper as quickly as possible to get it resolved. There really isn’t any way make the process go quicker. We also have to deal with misdeliveries and mistaken orders, and it helps us speed things up when we know those things are coming. This is also true with hazardous materials. We inspect each package, input its measurements, and finish by putting a registration label on it.

What if I’d like to check on a package that OPAS has already received?

S: If you’d like to see a picture of what is inside your package, please select “Scan Request” on your received package. If you would like to make sure that the items you received were correct (i.e. size, color, model, quantity, etc…) please select the inspection option when you are ready to ship.

Where do you store my packages? Can you send out my order quickly?

S: After being registered, your packages are sorted and stored together based on your customer number inside the OPAS warehouse. When you make a shipping request it generates one of the pick tickets I mentioned earlier. Everything on the pick ticket is then collected. We double check to make sure all items are there and accounted for. It is our policy to process every request within 24 hours after receiving it, but special situations and delayed payments can cause it to take more time. Customers who pay for express delivery will get preferential treatment. At especially busy periods there are times when packages have to be pushed back to the next day. If you are in a real hurry to get your items, the best thing to do is let us know this in advance. For example, if you are waiting for certain items to arrive before placing your shipping request, declare or “add” the items you are expecting in your account, and then make a shipping request with the items that are already at OPAS. In the “special requests” section let us know you want to include the items you are waiting for. Then we can get your order processed without you having to wait until you get delivery confirmation to OPAS. This is also a good way to speed up your order processing without having to pay extra express delivery fees.

We will continue our conversation with Steve next month…

International Shipping Solutions For Online Businesses

Here at OPAS, we think it’s worth pointing out that our US mailing address forwarding service is great for businesses as well as individuals, and understanding that could help you get more from your time online – and even help your business in the process.

We receive, package and send your stuff for the lowest possible price.

International Shipping Solutions For Online Businesses

If you’re not convinced that a US mailing address forwarding service is worth it for businesses, think about some of the following uses.

  • Online retailers who want to expand their businesses over borders can use OPAS to do just that, send your products to our warehouse and we receive, package and send to your international customer.  
  • Ordering supplies, products, and other similar things can cost businesses a tremendous amount of money. But you can avoid a lot of those higher costs when you order business basics online with your US mailing address forwarding service.
  • Point your international shoppers to OPAS and the US mailing address forwarding opportunity that we provide.

As with a personal use US mailing address forwarding service, OPAS works in a very efficient way. Our team will help set you up with a US mailing address and a digital VISA card that is connected to it. You can use both to shop as much as you like online, using your US address where prompted in order forms.

International Shipping Solutions

We can tailor a set of procedures for receiving, storage and shipping that will fit your requirements, and we can offer competitive rates with discounts based on volume, simply put our international shipping solutions for online businesses can help you grow your business.

Once that your shipment arrives at the US address, our team collects it and then forwards it to you, wherever you may be. This lets businesses shop online and access all the great sales and specials that US customers can access without any hassle at all. And by taking steps like parcel consolidation, you can keep your shipping costs even lower and bring a US mailing address forwarding service even further into your life.

Simply put, you and your business can both benefit in a big way from our US mailing address forwarding service. If you’re ready to start shopping like you deserve to be able to, our team is here and ready to help make it happen. Contact us today and we’ll help you get started with a US mailing address and your VISA card. You can be taking advantage of great prices for your business before you know it.

The Story Of Our Founder, Part 2

We continue with our entertaining series of blog posts written by our president and founder Toshiyasu Abe.

Today, I’d like to share a story from my youth, when I was traveling the world.

I was only 19 years old when I visited Europe for the first time.  Just like my trip from Japan to the U.S., I traveled by ship from New York to Southampton, England, then took a train from there to London, and stayed at a youth hostel for a few nights.

founder and president OPAS Toshiyasu Abe

 

While I was in London, I remember reading that the most beautiful town in the world was called Edinburgh, in Scotland. (Very effective marketing from the Edinburgh tourism board!)  Since I had no particular plan to go anywhere, I decided to visit Edinburgh and see “the most beautiful town in the world” for myself.

By the time my train got to Edinburgh, it was almost evening. I did think the town was lovely at first glance, but as I got off the train, something rather peculiar happened; a group of strangely-dressed children approached me, evidently begging for food. I didn’t have any, so I apologized and went on my way.

I then saw several other groups of children who were begging as well, who were also dressed oddly, in my opinion.  When I stepped outside of the train station, there were even more children panhandling. I was definitely confused, I didn’t know why Edinburgh as such a beautiful town would have so many poor children begging for food, and it made me very sad.

After spending two nights in Edinburgh, I went back to London.  I did not see any children begging there.  The beautiful but poor town of Edinburgh had made a strong impression on me. From time to time I would recall the little panhandlers I saw, and shared this experience with my friends.

It wasn’t until perhaps seven or eight years has passed that I understood. I was telling one of my friends the sad story of the children in Edinburgh.  He then asked me what time of the year it was when I had visited. Although I had told the story numerous times, this was the first time someone had asked this specific question in response.

I remembered it was very cold at night; so cold that I had to sleep in layers of my sweaters and blankets to keep myself warm.  I told him it was either October or November.  “Oh, it was Halloween!”, my friend said with a laugh.  It sure was!  The “poor, strangely-dressed children” were trick-or-treating for candy, not panhandling!

I had never heard of Halloween when I lived in Japan.  Even after I moved to the U.S. and learned a bit about the holiday, I never really put the children in Edinburgh and Halloween together.  I still find it funny that for many years I had carried these children in Edinburgh as a sad memory!

Edinburgh was a beautiful town and definitely memorable, even outside the Halloween misunderstanding.  I always share this story whenever I get a chance, I feel like it is a representation of what made me want to travel, and to learn about other places and people in this great wide world.

Connecting with people from different places and connecting them to each other has been a goal of mine, which is a big part of why I chose to work and start my business in the field of international shipping and commerce.

I also had another experience in Edinburgh that sounds like something from a novel or movie, but that’s a story for another time.

What Is Package Consolidation; Combine Your Shipments For Bigger Savings

what is package consolidation

It’s no big secret that using US mailbox forwarding is one of the best and most reliable ways to be able to take advantage of US-only sales, deals, and clearance items. It is also the easiest way to ensure that you get the lowest prices whenever you shop. But did you know that using package consolidation for your US mailbox forwarding can help you reduce costs even more?

What Is Package Consolidation?

The first thing to do is understand the basics of what this option is. In package consolidation, your US mailbox forwarding service will take multiple small packages and combine them into one larger box. In doing so, we’re able to reduce the overall shipping costs since shipping one parcel is cheaper than multiple parcels, no matter what the overall weight of the items will end up being.

When you choose package consolidation for a US mailbox forwarding service, size matters. We can certainly use larger boxes – even some that are the size of a large microwave or something similar. But this comes with added risks – larger boxes will not only be heavier, but will also be more prone to handling problems and as a result more prone to damage. Smaller consolidated packages – backpack sized or so – are a much better choice. And if you order multiple small items like jewelry or perfumes, a box the size of a football is often enough to fit everything into for your US mailbox forwarding orders.

what is package consolidation

Is It Right For You?

The biggest questions you need to ask yourself really come down to what is important to you during the process of using a US mailbox forwarding service. Here are the biggest concerns to pay attention to.

  • Speed – If you place multiple orders with different companies, it will often take different amounts of time for everything to arrive. If speed is a factor, you may need to consider not using our package consolidation service for certain items that you want sent to you through US mailbox forwarding more quickly.
  • Fragility – Fragile items may be better suited to individual shipments, though several small items will usually be fine even in a package that combines them all together.
  • Cost – Simply put, your overall cost for a US mailbox forwarding service will be much lower when you consolidate packages into a single shipment.

All in all, you’ll want to consider how important speed or fragility are versus cost. For most, the big savings in shipping consolidated shipments through a US mailbox forwarding service makes this one option that you won’t want to ignore. And best of all, it’s something that we here at OPAS take pride in offering to our customers. Contact us now to learn more.

Subscribing To Our Newsletter Brings Big Benefits – Info About US Parcel Forwarding Service

Subscribing To Our Newsletter Brings Big Benefits - Info About US Parcel Forwarding Service

We believe in providing an excellent US parcel forwarding service that you can rely on to help you shop more effectively online and enjoy the big savings only available to US residents. Our US parcel forwarding service gives you an online digital Visa card that is attached to your forwarding address, making it easier than ever before to shop and take advantage of those big savings.

But we also want you to know that there are steps beyond just the basic US parcel forwarding service that can help you even more. For example, signing up to our newsletter is something that can offer tremendous benefits to you.

Subscribing To Our Newsletter Brings Big Benefits - Info About US Parcel Forwarding Service

 

These benefits include the following.

Heads Up On The Latest Sales – Our team doesn’t just provide a great US parcel forwarding service, we also love to shop too. Every newsletter, we’ll give you the lowdown on some of the hottest current and upcoming deals. This lets you rest easy knowing you’re not going to miss out on the best sales out there.

Special Deals –We’ll also connect you with great US parcel forwarding service deals and help you spot the best ways to get even more bang for your buck.

Coupons – Our team loves coupons, and the odds are that you do as well. We’ll provide you with great online coupons that can help you save even more money on those deals. This only enhances the results you get from a US parcel forwarding service.

In short, signing up for our newsletter makes it easy for you to connect with our team and find out all the best ways to use your US parcel forwarding service, and at the same time helps you find even better deals and prices. If you’re serious about your shopping – and we’re sure that you are – these newsletters are a perfect supplement to our already excellent US parcel forwarding service.

If you’re ready to save on special sales, contact us to set up your US parcel forwarding service. And to get even better results from it, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter. It’s a smart move that will reward you in a big way.

 

Get The Best Tech

We noticed a technological trend in items our members are purchasing this month, take a look at our top 5 below. Also make a note of the sales coming in the next couple of weeks, like back to school sales (technology and great bedding and clothes) and Labor Day Sales for the first week of September.

Skullcandy Hesh 2 Bluetooth Wireless Headphones with Mic, enjoy professional quality sound without those pesky wires. On sale for $73.20

LEGO® Star Wars™: The Force Awakens™ The No. 1 LEGO® video game franchise triumphantly returns with a fun-filled, humorous journey based on the blockbuster film. On sale for $54.89.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III – Standard Edition – Xbox One , a Call Of Duty Campaign unlike anything before it. On sale for $34.99.

ClamCase + for iPad Air 2 Responsive keyboard. Protective polycarbonate shell. Versatile 360° stand. $129.99

AREVR ET1 – VR 3D Virtual Reality Headset – Immerse yourself into another dimension with Giant Screen, split view 3D augmented reality $24.99

Enjoy shopping and have a great weekend,

Bernard

PS. Don’t miss out on our limited time offer – take $5.00 off your next international shipment.

Did you know the US Unlocked VISA card is the only card you need to shop in U.S.?

Using your OPAS forwarding address and a US Unlocked card can give you the chance to take hold of those advantages and become part of a winning team. It’s easier than you think to get started, and could change the way you shop online for good.

Get Your US Unlocked Card Now!

Click the card image below to get your card and start shopping right away!

get-a-prepaid-virtual-credit-card

Disclosure statement:
The US Unlocked Card is issued by Metropolitan Commercial Bank, member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa, U.S.A., Inc  “Metropolitan” and “Metropolitan Commercial Bank” are registered trademarks of Metropolitan Commercial Bank © 2014. Use of the Card is subject to the terms and conditions of the applicable Cardholder Agreement and fee schedule, if any.

How To Shop Online Without A US Billing Address

The world is filled with plenty of great opportunities for deals on everything from clothing to cookware to electronics, and many of them are there for the taking if you know where to look. But for many of us, the chance to really seize some of the best deals out there is out of reach. You know just where to find those opportunities, but the fact is that US residents and their US Billing Address are able to take advantage of far more of them than the rest of the world. That gives them a big advantage over those looking for the best deals – if you are locked out of sales, you can’t take advantage of them. In short, you have to be in it to win it.

With a US Unlocked card and a mail forwarding address, you can actually be in it, no matter where you are. 

How To Shop Online Without A US Billing Address

  1. You’re given a US-based PO box and a US Unlocked digital debit card connected to that address.
  2. When you place an order online, you use the card and the address to make your purchases.
  3. Those purchases are shipped to the PO box, where they’re then forwarded to your current address.

This makes it easy to take advantage of a huge range of sales, including Black Friday sales, Memorial Day and Labor Day sales, and much more. And it lets you shop at the official US sites for companies like Amazon, too. This can save you hundreds of dollars since many purchases are far cheaper for those in the US than for those in other countries like Australia. And you can also use your card to access memberships to sites that normally lock out foreign visitors – like Netflix or Hulu.

How To Shop Online Without A US Billing Address

In these cases, you can view the shows and films available to US subscribers. In short, if you’re not living in the US then you could be missing out on a lot of opportunities and plenty of big savings. Using a forwarding address and a US Unlocked card can give you the chance to take hold of those advantages and become part of a winning team. It’s easier than you think to get started, and could change the way you shop online for good. If you’re ready to learn more, our team is ready to have you join us. Contact us today to find out more or to get started setting up your account.

Get Your US Unlocked Card Now!

Click the card image below to get your card and start shopping right away!

get-a-prepaid-virtual-credit-card

Disclosure statement:
The US Unlocked Card is issued by Metropolitan Commercial Bank, member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa, U.S.A., Inc  “Metropolitan” and “Metropolitan Commercial Bank” are registered trademarks of Metropolitan Commercial Bank © 2014. Use of the Card is subject to the terms and conditions of the applicable Cardholder Agreement and fee schedule, if any.

Shop The 4th Of July Sales Like A Pro! Check Out Our 4th Of July Promo Now!

Check Out Our 4th Of July Promo Now!

Let’s face it, we write a lot about US Sales here at OPAS. The reason is simple, we want our members to make the most out of their US mailing address and that includes our members being aware of upcoming sales and how to most benefit from them. The next big sales happening here in the US are the 4th of July sales. We celebrate our independence with fireworks, barbecues, parties and clearance sales :-).

What to shop for during 4th of July Sales:

The kinds of items that go on sale during this 4th of July period are diverse but there are a few items that are worth paying close attention to:

Back to school sales start in July. This means great deals on a variety of items, ranging from practical apparel, to package deals for dorm rooms (think cute bedding and décor) and (small) electronics and paper goods.

If you are in the market for a new duvet, home decor, some great shorts for your kids, and a new laptop for yourself, now is the time to shop! 

Browsing through online stores to get a sense of what you want to purchase will make it easier to snap up the deals when you see them. (Read here how you can install a simple, free, browser extension that will apply and try all active coupons to get you the best discount!) While some items require a quick decision as sales may end prior to the 4th of July, other items, such as footwear, require a bit more patience. If you can wait till mid to late July you can purchase a great pair of sandals by brand names such as Teva and Crocs at much much lower prices.

Most online stores allow you to simply add your items to your cart, then the waiting game starts, keep checking daily for new coupons and promo codes and when you are ready, and the deal is at it’s best you go ahead and continue to checkout. As your items start arriving in our warehouse, we are happy to store them up to 30 days free of charge. You can shop and save in your own time, and let us know when you are ready to ship your items to your home or business. International shipping to most of the world from the U.S. takes from 3 to 8 days depending on the carrier and service you choose. We will re-pack your items to the smallest, safest package(s) as possible to save on your shipping costs.

All your favorite brands will be having great sales, GAP, Old Navy, American Eagle, Best Buy, Amazon and Ralph Lauren.  We also recommend keeping a close watch on brands such as ClamCase, who tend to the sales towards the 4th of July also!

Check Out Our 4th Of July Promo Now!

Our mission is straightforward, to provide you with excellent customer service and affordable international shipping options for any budget. With the added benefit of our Oregon location, you pay 0% US sales tax.  

On top of all these savings, save an extra $10.00 off your next international shipment. Simply enter promo code SUMMER.

This coupon code is valid until JULY 14, one coupon per customer and for international shipments only.

 

The Story Of Our Founder, Part 1

OPAS’ founder and President, Toshiyasu Abe shares his story with us in this personal blogpost about his background and the story of how OPAS came about: 

I was born in Ehime Prefecture on Shikoku Island of Japan, and raised in the city of Osaka, the second largest in Japan. I had a fairly traditional upbringing in Japan, just another young man among many, but from an early age I felt the strong desire to see more of the world than my home county. Only a few weeks after graduating from high school, I traveled to the United States by ship. It was the first of four different countries other than Japan in which I would reside, including Canada, Switzerland and Germany.

It was twenty-six years ago, in 1990 that I founded OPAS in Seattle, Washington.

Through this blog, I’d like to tell the story of OPAS. We have had some very interesting experiences in our history, I feel, and I also want to impart what wisdom I have regarding business. I’d like to share advice for those who wish to be successful in personal importing, based on my twenty-six years as the President of OPAS. I’d welcome feedback and questions from readers, so that I can write on topics you may be particularly interested in.

When I founded OPAS, there was no other business that offered this kind of forwarding service. Honestly, I don’t think many people understood my business model at first, but this may have been because they were Americans who were used to having a wide variety of shopping options and products at their disposal. Perhaps they didn’t understand the market for this kind of service, or the convenience and options it could allow for international buyers; or perhaps my explanation wasn’t quite right.

Remember, in 1990 when I founded OPAS, there was no online shopping. There wasn’t even “online” for most consumers; the earliest internet applications were used mostly by universities and for government purposes. But there was catalog shopping. It may sound humorously primitive now, but people in countries outside the US used to shop by sending order forms in the mail from these catalogs, or by phone if they spoke English. Fax machines were popular for this kind of ordering within Japan, but not as much in the US.

The fax machine was the key to beginning OPAS. I remember being astonished by the utility of a fax machine, and what I saw also was that many of these catalog stores didn’t ship to Japan. So with my fax machine and a stack of catalogs, I decided to build a bridge between the Japanese buyers and the American stores. I would place these orders in the US for my Japanese customers, and ship their products to them internationally.

the story of opas

As the age of the internet began, computers became more and more popular, appearing in every household. Soon, companies like Amazon.com and Google were founded.  The way of shopping had transitioned from catalog shopping to online shopping, with a nearly unlimited amount of options for international buyers.

I never imagined how the way people shop would change so drastically in a quarter century, from 1990 to today. As I’ve watched the world of commerce become digital, I continue to wonder: how will the way people shop change in the future? It will be interesting to find out.

Shopping Online in the US From Australia 

Australia is famous for lots of things, but one thing that can often frustrate residents is the difficulty in taking advantage of the great sales and special clearance offers that are often available in other countries. Being able to go Shopping online in the US from Australia, using an American forwarding service is something that any Australian shopper may need to understand more about.

The Need For An American Forwarding Service for Shopping Online in the US From Australia 

So why do Australian shoppers need to consider using an American forwarding service? The simple reason is that without it, you can’t take advantage of everything offered online. Many American based retailers and even sites like eBay or Amazon often don’t sell to Australian residents or have a separate site specifically for them.  International shipping rates can make it harder for them to manage their logistics, and as such they have separate locations set up for it. But the US has some of the deepest discounts thanks to things like Father’s Day or Fourth of July sales – sales that you can’t take advantage of as an Australian.  And since shipping to Australia is often more hassle than those sites want to deal with, they simply ignore Australian shoppers entirely or give them an alternative site.

Price Comparisons

You may be surprised at how much you can save. Let’s take a look at a few comparisons:

shopping online in US from Australia

 

You can save large amounts by planning your shopping splurge, researching prices and sending a large shipment to yourself benefiting from the 1,000 UD threshold., i.e. you are able to import shipments with a total declared value of less than 1,000 AUD, without paying a duty or tax, that gives you plenty of room to shop, ship and save! 

At OPAS, we provide you with an American forwarding service. You can shop online from your Australian home and make purchases, then have them mailed to your US address and then forwarded to Australia. You’ll need a credit card with a matching address, and our partner US Unlocked provides a virtual VISA card linked to the address you’re provided.

The OPAS Difference

This means that you can shop online, use your debit card, and have all packages forwarded through your US address back to your home in Australia. It’s a simple way to ensure that you’re getting the kind of prices you deserve. Australian shoppers shouldn’t have to settle for less, and when you shop online you’ll be able to get the best prices and even find products that aren’t available in Australia at all.

With OPAS you are benefiting from zero US Sales Tax, affordable shipping rates ànd our white glove package consolidation service. Our experts re-pack your items to ensure the smallest possible dimensional weight, this will save you a bundle on shipping. 

Again, in order to become a successful shopper, you’ll need your US Unlocked virtual VISA card and an American forwarding service that you can trust. Our team provides both, and makes sure that you’re ready and able to shop for anything. Contact us today to set up your personal US mailing address and your virtual american VISA card and get started taking advantage of the best shopping experience you can have!