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.

OPAS Shipping Rates – Let’s take a look at the carrier options you have with OPAS!

OPAS Shipping Rates – Let’s take a look at the carrier options you have with OPAS!

OPAS Shipping Rates – Let’s take a look at the carrier options you have with OPAS!OPAS is careful to only ally with the best of the best, the companies that have displayed a long history of excellence and are at the forefront of their industry when it comes to innovation, improvement, and execution. To make sure you get the best OPAS shipping rates and quality, we work with the following carriers:

UPS:

Our primary provider for international logistics, UPS’ distinct brown vans and trucks with the recognizable yellow UPS shield are a very common site in the US. Their service is second to none, with particular detail paid to providing prompt and easy support. OPAS has negotiated a particularly strong contract with UPS, so you’ll see we can provide the best rates to you with UPS for almost all destinations we serve. Their compliance services are focused on ease of clearance, so you can be sure your packages won’t get stuck in customs, and if they do have issues with clearance their communication is prompt and clear to help resolve the issue. Ship confidently with UPS, and enjoy the savings our strong rates provide!

FedEx:

Like UPS, FedEx offers multi-tiered service (Priority and Economy) and they have a similarly strong track record. We’ve only recently begun offering service with FedEx, but our decision to pursue a contract for their service was based on frequent demands from many of our members, so let that be a rousing endorsement of their services in international package forwarding!

DHL:

A relative newcomer to international shipping service (in that they’ve only been in business for about 45 years, as opposed to 75+, like UPS) this German company has gained a reputation for strong service. Of particular note is that the parcel service OPAS uses with them, DHL Worldwide Express, has no size limit for parcels. If you’re looking to ship something particularly large and would like to avoid the long transit time and brokerage issues of freight shipping, then DHL would be the best choice for that.

Yamato:

A household name in Japan, Yamato provides premium service to that market exclusively. They have very strong brand recognition as a company with first-rate service and support. OPAS is one of the few forwarding companies to offer service with Yamato and we can do so at excellent rates, especially on smaller shipments. These rates often are less expensive than the rates offered by UPS. One note is that our contract with Yamato specifically is for personal import service – if you are ordering commercial volume quantities of goods or goods purposed for re-sale, you should select another option. Yamato is also very strict in observing the oft-complicated regulations that Japan’s government sets for import, so this has led to some very specific “best practices” for using their service easily and efficiently. You can email us at service@opas.com if you have questions about these practices.

US Postal Service:

We do conduct shipping with USPS, but only by their Priority Mail International and Priority Mail Express options. Lower-grade postage services like First Class either have weight restrictions that make them unappealing to our members or simply are too unreliable for the exacting standards that OPAS requires of our logistics providers. One point to keep in mind is that USPS does not calculate dimensional weight in determining shipping cost, so if you have a lightweight, large object to ship, they may be the best choice for you as long as the goods can be packaged within their size restrictions. You can always request an estimate from OPAS to see if eliminating dimensional weight would be a profitable choice for your shipment – USPS can’t match the delivery speed or tracking accuracy of any of the private companies we’ve listed above, and their rates are higher on a per-lb. basis than our private carrier rates. Also, final delivery will be handled by the local postal authority in your country, so this is something to bear in mind for those members in countries where the postal service is less organized and less reliable.

Airmail:

There is one lower-grade postage option we will use, but only to limited markets. We offer this service to Japan and Canada only, as the reliability of this service to other countries is below OPAS’ standard. There is no tracking service available, and the delivery period can go as long as a month. The weight limit is 4 lbs. for any Airmail shipment, but this service can still fill a role for affordable shipping of items with less monetary value.

To summarize, our highest priority is ensuring that you find the best fit for your shipping needs. Our rates with UPS are the best we can offer, but it may be that you prefer FedEx based on their individual strength within your country. If you’re looking to ship very large items without the hassle of freight forwarding, then DHL would be the best choice, and if your items have considerable dimensional overage then USPS would be best, as long as they fit within the size restrictions for your country.

If you have any questions about the carriers OPAS uses or their specific regulations and details of their service, please send us an email at service@opas.com!

 

How A US Mail Forwarding Service Can Make Shopping Easier

How A US Mail Forwarding Service

How A US Mail Forwarding ServiceAlthough nobody doubts we live in a global economy, the US is less well represented in international shipping than in other, comparable global industry.

Simply put, vendors are losing out on a larger international customer base, whilst the international customer is losing out on the ability to either order products for themselves or to ship these products to relatives that may live in other parts of the globe.  A US mail forwarding service will also address the other prohibitive restrictions that could influence the choice to obtain a desired product from a specific vendor, and these include:

  • The need for a US mailing and US billing address (popular vendors such as Apple are very strict in their fraud protection policies and absolutely require a matching mailing and billing address)
  • Shipping tariffs for customers
  • International fees and foreign tax credit rules (duties can amount to very little or can take you by surprise, we help customers find out what they may expect)
  • IRS expectations faced on vendors who are able to consider an overseas mail forwarding service

Although freight tax enforcement has been a low priority for the IRS, there are regulations that require online retailers to file extensive paperwork, even if they do qualify for an exemption.  However, a US mail forwarding service, such as what we offer at OPAS, is solely devoted to staying up to date on these regulations, and covering the appropriate concerns that would be handled by vendors.

Customers benefit from a US mail forwarding service through:

  • Access to items
  • Lowered shipping restriction
  • Tax free Oregon delivery address, that means 0% US sales tax, guaranteed!
  • Package consolidation
  • Paperless overseas shipping

Vendors are also able to see better profits when customers sign up for an OPAS US based mailing address and out overseas mail forwarding service.  This is achieved through:

  • Greater customer reach
  • Better customer service through the overseas mail forwarding service
  • Greater potential for growth
  • No international fees and taxes on sales

The result is that signing up for OPAS overseas mail forwarding service and a US mailing address is part of the way that the global economy will stay running.  It is also a means to fully support commerce, by ensuring that customers and products are able to come together, no matter where they are located.  Visiting our site and signing up will get you started in playing your part to benefit a better lifestyle. 

All of the world is a shopping mall.  Do you know how to access all of its benefits?

Package Forwarding, The International And National Benefits

The International, And National,

The International, And National,Whether you are shopping for Nike’s in the US from Australia or trying to get your hands on a niche Japanese beauty product, online shopping is your friend. You have become super savvy in finding the best deals on the items you crave but sometimes you run into a problem when it comes to shipping your items to your location. For international consumers, shipping addresses may become problematic, especially when vendors only deliver to limited regions. This is where package forwarding comes in.

The solution of package forwarding is one way to overcome this.

At OPAS, we offer a valid US based address where goods can be delivered by the retailer, and then we forward these order to the consumer.  This also lets shoppers reduce their shipping costs, since we can consolidate orders from a number of vendors and send them all to the consumer at once.

However, package forwarding plays a large part with national shoppers as well.  This can frequently become the case for people in rural and even metropolitan areas, where a PO Box is the mailing address.  A variety of retailers do require a physical destination for a package delivery, and this possibility can become limiting for sales.

National customers can also utilize package forwarding to overcome this problem.  In the same manner that international customers are given a distinct delivery address, national clients will also gain a delivery destination that works for them and for the vendor.  This includes processing benefits such as:

  • Lowered overall shipping fees
  • Package consolidation
  • Careful handling and great customer service

Another positive consequence that both national and international customers can make use of is the fact that OPAS package forwarding addresses are based out of Oregon.  Since there is no sales tax for the state, there is also a further savings that can be gained on these purchases.  We guarantee you will pay no US sales tax, this can mean a saving of up to 10%. 

While many consumers just take sales tax as a given, this does not have to be the case.  Larger purchases such as electronics can result in hundreds of dollars in tax, but with OPAS package forwarding, this can all become a savings that may be used for further items that are bought.  As a result, national and international shoppers are all finding that great purchase power really is in their control.

Regardless of where you live, OPAS package forwarding can facilitate your online shopping experience.  By getting a US/Oregon based delivery address set up today, you will be able to take advantage of any sale or new release, while knowing that you are getting what you want, at the deal that you demand.

Excellent Service And Affordable Package Forwarding Services

Excellent Service And Affordable Package Forwarding Services

For many consumers, part of finding a great deal also included the service and ancillary benefits that may come from making a purchase. Excellent customer care, shopper benefits, and peace of mind in receiving quality merchandise are equally important.  With online purchases, these value added aspects can become even more impactful, especially since interactions are done remotely.

Just because you are ordering from a virtual marketplace, in the comfort of your home, does not mean that you need to settle for an impersonal experience.  A greater number of online vendors are getting the message that consumers still want to feel special and cared for, even if they are not having a face to face.  This means that cybersales are focusing more strongly on the personal points that set them apart from other vendor offerings.

Excellent Service And Affordable Package Forwarding Services

The Shipping Hurdle

While a number of international and even national customers may find that these trends add greater enjoyment to a convenient interaction, they are also finding that there are some limits to the personal treatment.  Sadly, this can come as soon as the shopper is ready to check out, only to find that shipping is restrictive hurdle. 

Package Forwarding Services

One way of overcoming this issue is to use package forwarding.  This basically provides you with a valid US based address where the orders can arrive.  From here, your orders are processed for international shipping, either as a bulk package, or as the items arrive at the forwarding address.  National customers with PO Boxes can also make use of our service, and gain the items they want.

At OPAS, we not only provide affordable package forwarding services, but also add value to the shopping experience with our own customer care and attendance.  Our dedicated team listens to client needs, and can also provide benefits such as item inspection, package consolidation, and even shopping assistance.  This means that online customers who use OPAS can double the value of their shopping experience, for greater satisfaction and results.

The OPAS Friends Program – What You Need To Know

OPAS Friends Program

OPAS Friends ProgramThe OPAS FRIENDS Program has been revised! Now you can earn free shipping by referring your network to OPAS.

Q: What is the OPAS FRIENDS program?

The OPAS FRIENDS Program is an affiliate program that OPAS uses to provide benefits to those who bring new members and business to OPAS.

In short, when you refer someone to OPAS and they use our shipping service, you will benefit! You will receive 5% of their shipping charges as a credit to your account. You can use this credit for your own OPAS service fees, you can redeem it for Amazon gift cards, or request that OPAS sends you money by PayPal! The more your OPAS FRIENDS ship, more credit you can earn!

Q: What are the new features for the OPAS FRIENDS program?

  • You will be able to redeem your credit not only for OPAS service fees but also to receive Amazon gift cards or PayPal payment!
  • There will be no more expiry date for your credit.
  • You can share personalized links to OPAS’ service by your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter and Google+), also in email messages or banners on your personal website to try to recruit as many referrals for your OPAS FRIENDS Program listing as possible!

Anyone who signs up for OPAS using your OPAS FRIENDS link will also get FREE REGISTRATION at OPAS and receive a special promo code for a 5% discount off any shipment! If they sign up for our OPAS FRIENDS program and select a basic Package Only account to begin with, your friends won’t be charged by OPAS at all until they begin using our service.

Q: What’s changed from the previous program?

  • The percentage of credit accrued will be a 5% flat rate, and is no longer based on the number of referrals.
  • Credit will be calculated every time a request for one of your OPAS FRIENDS is processed rather than calculated on a monthly basis.
  • There will be a waiting period of 30 days before any credit is eligible to be redeemed.

Q: Where can I review my account credit?

Log in your OPAS account and you will find “Your Credit” link on the left navigation menu. On this page, you will be able to review how much credit is pending or available, and how many OPAS FRIENDS you have.

Q: How can I get my friends to be my OPAS FRIENDS?

Go to the sharing OPAS page from the left side navigation menu in your account manager, and start sharing OPAS service with your friends today! You can select preferred methods from Facebook, Twitter, Google+, email and more.

Please refer to our website here or contact OPAS Customer Service at service@opas.com if you have any questions about this program, or anything else.

International Shopping Service

international shopping service

Who uses our service?

International Shoppers

  • Our international shopping service allows non-US residents the ability to purchase virtually any item from a US store and have it shipped to their home location anywhere in the world at a reasonable cost.
  • Receive mail from any source
  • Take advantage of historically low exchange rates for the US dollar
  • Receive your items at a fraction of what it would normally cost to send without OPAS

Expatriates

  • OPAS is an ideal solution for expatriates desiring a reliable address through which to receive mail and packages.
  • Maintain a US address to receive any type of mail/package
  • Purchase items online not available in your current location and have us ship them to you.

eBayers

Frequent users of eBay often comment on the inability for non-US residents to participate in the great deals and hard-to-find items listed on the world’s largest online auction site. An OPAS mailbox opens the doors of eBay to the entire world of users, both buyers and sellers.

  • For buyers, simply use your OPAS address when purchasing your items
  • If you prefer, use our personal shopper service and we’ll buy it for you
  • For sellers, we offer a special service to allow you to bulk ship your sale items to OPAS and we’ll fulfill your orders to US customers.

International Businesses

OPAS is the leader in providing an international shopping service to small businesses and eBay sellers who want a US order fulfilment capability.

  • Our staff work with you to design a cost-effective shipping program
  • Safely store your goods in our secure warehouse facility and let us fulfill your orders
  • We ship your items immediately upon notification of a sale to a US buyer
  • We can link directly to your management system to provide timely feedback

Express Fee Change Notification

Please note that OPAS will be revising our policy regarding Express processing services. The price structure will be subject to the number of packages to be shipped, membership level of the account and the time of day, local time, that the request is submitted. These revisions will be in effect as of November 18th, 2014.

For Package Only members, if the request is submitted during the level 1 period (please see charts below), Express processing will be $10.00, plus $1.00 per package in the request over 5. If the request is submitted during the level 2 period, the Express processing will be $20.00, plus $2.00 per package in the request over 5.

For Package & Mail members, if the request is submitted during the level 1 period, Express processing will be $5.00 plus $1.00 per package in the request over 5. If the request is submitted during the level 2 period, the Express processing will be $10.00, plus $2.00 per package in the request over 5.

Shipment from US:

1

 

2

 

 

 

Shipment from Japan:

3

 

4

 

To be clearer, the increased rates will apply most directly to the shipments submitted in the time before our afternoon shipping deadlines.

For any shipment submitted during the level 2 period of increased rates, OPAS cannot guarantee that the shipment will be processed in time for the shipping deadline that day. If a request is submitted during that time and unable to be processed in time for shipping that day due to something within OPAS’ control, we will waive your Express fee. If a request is submitted during that time and is unable to be shipped in time for shipping that day due to something outside of OPAS’ control, such as failure to collect payment, or a PayPal invoice not being paid in time, or an incorrect declaration that requires us to hold processing, we will not be able to refund your Express processing fee.

We thank you for your understanding and compliance with our new regulations, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email us at service@opas.com. We are here to help and answer any questions you may have. 

 

Big US Sales On Big Days

Although many holiday shoppers do like to have their gifts lists in order well in advance of the holidays, the best gifters do recognize that November is pretty much the month that everyone is waiting for, when it comes to grabbing the best items for the lowest price, November holds a bounty of sales treasures with three particularly coveted big US sales days:

  • Veteran’s Day is on the 11th of November, but sales will generally span three to four days for a long holiday weekend.
  • Thanksgiving, on the 27th of November has turned into the pre-shopping kickoff of sales and limited items that are highly coveted.
  • Black Friday, which really starts with Thanksgiving but is technically the 28th of November, is the ultimate sales extravaganza, with in-store and online deals that draw shoppers in with their limited quantities.

Each of these events can mean the difference between absolutely delighting loved ones, or settling for second best.  This means that shoppers need to be prepared, with valid payment options such as US Unlocked cards, and reliable shipping addresses such as OPAS’ Oregon based package forwarding.

Big US Sales On Big Days

 How To Be Savvy

There are several ways that international shoppers can make the most of these November events.  One way is to research the online sales dates and qualifications, and make sure that they have the necessary tools to meet retail criteria.  Another way is to register for an OPAS US based shipping address, so that there are no hold ups in delivery.

While OPAS makes international shipping and package forwarding a simple process, shoppers should also be aware that even with bulk shipments, some customs limitations will always apply.  We recommend that you peruse our FAQs about international shipping to make sure that you will never be disappointed in your purchases.  We also recommend that you look at the list of items which do have limitations, so that you are aware of what will speed your shipping process and what may hinder it.

In the same manner that researching sales dates can lead you to the best shopping experience, familiarizing yourself with the benefits of OPAS package forwarding can also ensure that you goods will arrive on time and without restraint.  At OPAS, we pride ourselves on our dedicated staff and exemplary customer service, as this means that you will be fully satisfied.  Working together with care and attention is the way that we help you have the best holiday possible.