Comparee here makes a detailed comparison of 3 international shipping methods, hope you will find that overseas online shopping is not that hard!

1. Why Cross-Border Shopping?
2. Compare between Direct shipping VS Parcel Forwarder VS Concierge Service
3. So, How Do I Choose?
4. Tips on Saving Shipping Fee!

Nowadays, we are increasingly relying on online shopping, from daily necessities to home appliances, and even high-priced technology products can be purchased online. Are you also like me, love to do online shopping and feeling indescribable happiness when placing an order and unpack your favorite product?

Why Cross-Border Shopping?

However, in many cases, many of your favorite products are super-duper expensive in your country or not found in the stores all over the country, for example, Coach, Carter, Zarko Perfume and many others... But, when you are determined to buy from abroad, you only realize that your product will not be shipped to your country or encounter an oversea payment problem. From my past experiences, if you want to buy something from Walmart & Best Buy they do not ship internationally; even for Amazon & eBay, only ~10% of their total available products will ship overseas. Urghhhh, it is so disappointing!

Read More: 5 Top Reasons Why Cross-Border Shopping Is a Must

At this time you may need services of parcel forwarder and concierge service(daigou)! However, many people are still confused and don't know where to start. Comparee here makes a comparison of the characteristics of three international shipping methods, hope you will find that online shopping overseas is not that hard than you imagine after reading it!

Direct shipping VS Parcel Forwarder VS Concierge Service

“Direct ship” means that you place order on merchant site that provide global shipping and your parcel will directly ship to your location. Need not pay after you received your parcel, all payments must be settled at checkout section.

“Parcel Forwarder” means that you place your order from a foreign website and pay it through the credit card. The goods will be sent to the local warehouse of the parcel forwarder, and they will arrange carrier transported back to your place.

“Concierge Service ” means that you post the product's link to the parcel forwarder that provides the purchasing service when you see the product(s) you want to buy on a foreign website. Your parcel forwarder will order for you and send it to your location. Usually, they will provide shipping calculation and add a "service fee" for purchases, but the fees vary from one to another.

Comparison of 3 International Shipping Methods

Direct ShippingParcel ForwarderConcierge Service
Place orderOrder directly from merchantGet forwarder’s overseas warehouse address and order yourself from foreign website Paste the product's link to the concierge site
Payment❶ Item price
❷ International shipping fee
❸ Tax&duty (if required)

❶+❷+❸> Merchant
❶ Item price
❷ Domestic shipping fee*
❸ International shipping fee*
❹ Tax&duty (if required)

❶+❷> Merchant
❸+❹> Forwarder
❶ Item price
❷ Total shipping fee
❸ Tax&duty (if required)
❹ Service fee

❶+❷+❸+❹> Concierge (all-in service)
Pros- Simple with transparency- Full control of process
- Cost is optimized
- Accept local payment
Cons- Not all merchant offer- Need to deals with more than one party- Have slight markup for service
Example- Amazon Global ship (for selected product)
- Rakuten Global
- BuyandShip
- Vpost
- Buyippee
- comGateaway

*Basically, you need to pay twice for shipping fee for both shipping methods : a. Domestic shipping fee + b. International shipping fee

  1. The so-called domestic shipping fee refers to the shipping cost that the goods are delivered to the local warehouse of the parcel forwarder.
  2. International shipping fee is the shipping cost from the parcel forwarder's local warehouse to your location.

Usually, we recommend shipping methods--- direct ship or parcel forward if those option are available because it is most cost saving & fun experience. But if you cannot buy the product on your own, then you can use concierge service.


So, How Do I Choose which Shipping Methods to Use?

1. If the online merchant has provided international delivery service you can purchase it directly on its official site. Usually, direct shipping is the cheapest if you buy a single item because you bypass the domestic shipping charge.

2. If what you want to buy does not provide the service to be sent overseas or multiple orders, then you should choose Parcel Forwarder.

3. If you are a person who like thing to be simple and convenient, then "Concierge Service " one-stop service will be you solution .

Tips on Using Parcel Forwarder to Save on Shipping Fee! (For multiple item purchases)

1. Package Consolidated Service (if request): If multiple packages are respectively sent to your country, the shipping fees will be charged for each package. If you add up the fee, you definitely can buy more items! Therefore, let parcel forwarder consolidates your packages from different merchants may be a smart choice!

For example:

If you ship each item direct from the different merchant to you door, using their international shipping service, you are actually paying a lot more than using a parcel forwarder because each order will have a minimum shipping charge.

Merchant (Direct Ship)Product Shipping weightShipping charge
Merchant ADyson V8 Absolute Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner6 kg33.66 USD
Merchant A Apple iPad 128GB1 kg95.15 USD
Merchant BAir Jordan 6 1.5 kg24.59 USD
Merchant CPokemon Funko0.5 kg 23.12 USD
Merchant DMSI GeForce RTX 20801 kg18.76 USD


195.28 USD

Same products but using a parcel forwarder to consolidate package.

 Total consolidate weightShipping chargeTotal charge
Dyson V8 Absolute Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner10 kg$6.4 /kg = 63.5 USD  
+ Handling = 2.5 USD
*Estimated using rates from Buyippee Hong Kong
66 USD
Apple iPad 128GB
Air Jordan 6
Pokemon Funko
MSI GeForce RTX 2080

*Above is a typical US to HK shipment as an example

This is +$130 USD saving on shipping by using a parcel forwarder's consolidate service!!!


2. Repack Service (if available): Shipping cost is always calculated using volumetric weight as it is higher than actual weight. According to my past online shopping experience, sometimes just buy a pair of earrings or a small size cosmetic product, but the store used a non-fit box with many empty space to install. If the volume of the packaging box is calculated, the shipping fee may be the several times cost of the earrings! It’s very scary, so repackage your items into a smaller size box or envelope can reduces the package's volumetric weight, which can lower your shipping fees.

See, oversea buying does have its complication, but the upside is access different product! Comparee platform provides you billion products’ real-time price updates from millions of merchants, help you calculate the oversea charges & connect you to right shipping solution.

Read more: Cross-border shopping can save import duties and consumption taxes!