In this series I will look at tips and how-tos for prospecting and current online shoppers in Zimbabwe.
One of the most frustrating things, when checking out during online shopping, is finding out the product you selected to buy cannot be shipped to Zimbabwe. This is true with a good number of leading computer manufacturers and some merchants on popular storefronts such as Amazon.com and Ebay.com. At best, you have to contend with some local middlemen or dealer who will of course have their cut at your expense or, at worst, the product simply is not available any other way.
The problem can be solved by using a package forwarding service that will receive the package on your behalf using a US address and forward it to your country of choice (Zimbabwe) using a courier service such as DHL or FedEx. There are several reasons you might want to buy using a foreign address:
- The obvious one of seller not shipping directly to Zimbabwe.
- To participate in deals that are exclusive to customers resident in a certain domain.
- The seller limits the means of payment available when you use a Zimbabwean address. For example www.laptopscreens.com does not accept credit cards if you input a Zimbabwean address during the checkout process. This restriction is lifted once you have entered a US address.
- To save on shipping costs by bundling several packages into one using the package forwarders’ repackaging service.
I would recommend two services UsaBox.com and comGateway.com because they are popular and reliable, have been around for a while (UsaBox.com has been around since 1998), are cheap (free signup and no hidden costs) and I have used UsaBox.com with great satisfaction. When you sign up for both services you receive a US based address that can be used to receive your packages.
Opening a Usabox.com account
- You will need a Visa/MasterCard, at least two forms of government issued identification (National Id, Passport, Driver’s license etc.)
- Visit www.usabox.com and sign up.
- Login into your usabox.com account and click on the given link to verify your account.
- Check your bank account and enter the exact amount deducted. This may take several days to appear on your statement for some banks.
- Once you have verified your account you can use their Florida based address instead of your Zimbabwean address when making purchases.
Once a package has been received in your mailbox, you will receive an email notification and you will be asked to send scanned copies of your identification documents to a given email address and as soon as your account is verified, the package is sent to you and your card is charged. The sign up process is pretty much the same for comGateway.com with the exception being that comGateway.com adds a phone number and allows you to request a quote before making a purchase.