OPAS’ Schedule for the Holiday Season

International Shipping Holiday Schedule Calendar 2017

The Holiday season is fast approaching, and with an OPAS mailbox for consolidation and international package forwarding, that means wherever you are in the world, you can take advantage of great sales in the US!

Historically, the holiday shopping season has been built around Black Friday, the day after the US holiday of Thanksgiving, which is always the last Thursday in November. In recent years, as online sales have become more and more pivotal to so many US companies, they have expanded these usually-limited-time sales to include more of November, and even October in some cases.

We wanted to take just a few moments to advise you about the important dates to bear in mind for the upcoming shopping season.

November 24: Black Friday. OPAS will be closed, so we will not be able to provide Personal Shopper services on this date.

December 8: this is our recommended receiving deadline; if you want to have items arrive in time for December 25th, it’d be best if they are received at OPAS by this time. We’ll still be shipping and receiving after this date, of course, but the closer you get to Christmas, the fewer options you will have for best economy in shipping.

December 11: the recommended date to submit a shipment request by if you wish to have US Postal Service delivery options, including ePacket.

December 13: you’ll want to have your shipment request in by this date if you want to use our slower, less expensive carrier options like UPS Expedited and FedEx Economy shipping.

December 15: you’ll definitely want to have your requests submitted by this date to ensure delivery before Christmas. At this point, it would be best to use faster methods like UPS Saver and FedEx Priority for shipping.

We will still be open and shipping the week of December 18-22. We will be working as fast as we possibly can to dispatch all your orders, but to ensure delivery by the 25th, we STRONGLY advise that you do not wait until the week of the 18th to complete your shipping request. This is mostly because of the way the weekend falls, and the fact that government customs offices will very possibly be closed and unable to process shipments through.

If you have specific questions, please email us at service@opas.com. We want to make sure all of our members know that you can get savings on holiday sales earlier than you might think, and it’s best to not procrastinate on placing your requests for OPAS to ship to you!

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…

10 Online Stores You’ve Never Heard Of

One of the most difficult aspects of online shopping can simply be that there’s SO many options! The presence of online giants like Amazon can also be overwhelming, and sometimes based on that, shoppers may miss out on some of the less-known stores. One of the greatest benefits of OPAS membership is limitless access to all of these great stores, so we’re going to help you out with some recommendations from our staff and members!

We hope you love the stores we recommend in this list, if you have any other great resources to share with us, please do so in the comment section!

10 Online Stores You've Never Heard Of

Yvng Pearl is a line of pins, nail decals, apparel, and more! Influenced by rock n’ roll and feminism, Yvng Pearl is the perfect combination of badass and classic.

MAKE believes there are no beauty rules. That each individual is driven by an artistic approach to their own personal reality. All products are paraben-free and never tested on animals. 10% of sales are donated to the We See Beauty Foundation, supporting women-led, worker-owned cooperative businesses across the Americas. Free shipping to your OPAS US shipping address on orders over $25.

Arro Home, your home would love these fun and affordable home goods, from fabulous bedding to durable cotton rugs, your living room will thank us.

Bean bags are always pretty cool, but the ones at Woouf are sure to impress even the most jaded of bean bag aficionados.

Trying to update your home or need a temporary home decor pick-me-up? Hygge&West helps you create a a cozy, beautiful environment where small, everyday moments can be enjoyed. From permanent wallpaper to removable wallpaper tiles, plenty of choices!

Alite makes “going outside simple” with its selection of outdoor equipment to take with you when you head off into the great outdoors. Explore the great outdoors!

Need a hip dog bed to show off your furry friend? Head over to Waggo, with a great collection of pet-friendly gear! Your four legged friend will be much impressed.

For the cutest clothes you have ever laid eyes on and a great resource for costumes, head over to Wild Things.

If you are looking for unusual, cool and affordable gifts take a look at BlueQ, from cool socks to a hip lip balm, they have you covered.

Throwing a party but don’t want to be stuck with a mountain of un-recycables? Sucre Shop has the cutest bamboo party gear!

Package Forwarding Plans For Every Shipping Need

Finding a package forwarding plan that works for you and your shipping needs doesn’t have to be a challenge with our straightforward membership plans!

Let’s take a look at the package forwarding plans we offer.

Free Package Only, with this membership plan you can receive packages at your personal US package forwarding address at our warehouse in Oregon (added benefit: Oregon is a 0% US sales tax state) and have them shipped to your home when you are ready. You get access to our personal shopper service, this comes in especially handy when you want to shop at a store that has challenging policies with regards to package forwarding.

On top of all these features you can have us consolidate your packages for a flat fee of $10. Consolidating your packages can truly save you a bundle. Shipping companies charge fees based on the three dimensional size and weight of your package. So creating the smallest package possible is our goal when consolidating packages for you!  Last but not least, due to OPAS’ founder’s roots in Japan, you also get a free Japanese package forwarding address. This might not be on your radar right away, but you will be pleasantly surprised by the many unique items you can shop for on Japanese online stores.

Premium Package & Mail, the next step on our membership plan ladder. This plan offers you all the same features as our Free Package Only account above, and much more;  With your Premium Package & Mail plan you can also receive regular mail, this comes in very handy if  you are currently an expat living abroad and do not want to burden your family with your mail or have a post box somewhere, overflowing with mail.

This plan also gets you a discounted shipping rate, ànd discounted access to our personal shopper service. It also allows you to add multiple users to your account (family friendly) and gives you FREE package consolidation. 

PREMIUM Plus NuSkin/Distributors, this plan is uniquely designed with the NuSkin Distributor in mind but also works for other similar MLM companies.  This membership plan has many of the same features as our Free Package Only plan, and allows you to receive and ship packages. It also gives you access to our personal shopper service, discounted shipping rates and FREE package consolidation. The PREMIUM Plus NuSkin/Distributors plan allows you to service your entire network with one account and gives you access to your own shipment planner dashboard.  

package forwarding membership plans

In short, if you are going to be sending yourself a few packages here and there, with not a lot of need for package consolidation our free package only account is a good place to start. However, if you feel like you will be sending yourself frequent packages for more than one vendor, it is worth getting our Premium Package & Mail for obvious reasons, the main reason being savings. With this account you get free package consolidation and very friendly shipping rates.

The PREMIUM Plus NuSkin/Distributors is perfect for NuSkin distributors but is equally beneficial to other MLM distributors. If you have any questions about how to set up this particular account and how to add multiple users to your account, we are at your service. 

There are many reasons to choose OPAS, besides all the features mentioned above, we offer world class customer service. Don’t just take our word for it, read our testimonial page.

All the features you need. OPAS makes it easy to shop the US and receive your items at home.

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.

 

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!

 

Saving Money Made Easy With Our Ultimate Package Forwarding Checklist

Most people are already well aware of the fact that they can save a lot of money by shopping online. But while it’s easy to do, there is more to it than just logging on and shopping like crazy. In fact, several steps need to be considered – especially if you’re shopping outside of the US. Luckily, OPAS offers a great US package forwarding service as well as a basic guide that can help you get the best savings available.

The Checklist You Need

Anyone using a US mail forwarder service needs to pay attention to more than just initial sales. While sites like Amazon.com or Target can offer good values, especially during the holiday sale periods, the internet is a big place. Finding the right options for saving is more complex than just heading to a single site. You’ll need help, and our easy to use checklist lets you take full advantage of everything available online.

You’ll get a lot, including:

  1. An easy guide to understanding how and why a US mail forwarder service works and is needed for you if you shop from outside the US.
  2. A Virtual US prepaid Visa card you can use to shop online anywhere you like
  3. A step by step guide to learning where to shop for the best values, and when to do so
  4. And more

In short, we provide you with a US mail forwarder service and our ultimate guide on how to get the absolute most from it.

The Ultimate Money Saving Package Forwarding Checklist

It all starts with your US address and Us mail forwarder service, combined with an easy to use virtual US prepaid Visa card. Combine those two elements together and you’ll be on your way to deep discounts and the kind of special savings that are only available online. We offer the best white glove service available, and our checklist gives you everything that you need to save. If you’re ready to start shopping, we’re ready to make it easy.

opas ultimate checklist