Sponsored by Shipporter
Last year I was given the opportunity to check out the new Shipporter service and share the results with you. If you’ve ever lusted after homewares and furniture from American brands like Jonathan Adler and Restoration Hardware (and, until recently Pottery Barn and West Elm, but we have them here in Sydney now!), you may have considered using a service like this. Maybe the shipping cost was too high or they didn’t actually offer shipping to Australia. I’ve often fallen in love with rugs from American stores that they won’t ship here, even though they’ll ship smaller, lighter items.
Shipporter claims to offer you the opportunity to buy almost anything, any size, from any USA, China or UK/Europe website, even if they say they don’t ship to Australia. Tempting, right? Especially when our dollar is strong. You just need a little patience while you wait for your item to arrive by sea. I decided to try it out for myself by ordering this Jonathan Adler chair (US$650) for my bedroom back in December. The shipping cost through Shipporter was $191.
You place your order and Shipporter take care of the rest. So, here’s what happened in my experience.
The chair (approximately 0.3 cubic metres when packaged with a chargeable weight of a rather heavy 58 kilograms!) was ordered from Jonathan Adler on 21 December 2012. However, JA don’t deal with third party shipping companies. Not a problem though! Shipporter then used a US-based assisted buying service to make the purchase on my behalf and had the order shipped to its export warehouse in Los Angeles at its cost (if the US supplier/seller offers free domestic shipping, which most do, then there’s no additional cost). Through the assisted buying service, Australians can shop at any US, UK/Europe website even if the seller/merchant doesn’t offer international shipping (which JA doesn’t).
The chair arrived at Shipporter’s warehouse on 16 January (possibly delayed by the Christmas rush/holiday period) and was shipped to Australia a week later on 23 January 2013, which was the next available sailing date. Around 6 weeks later, it arrived at my door on 5 March.
But then I opened the package and the chair was broken! Agh! I contacted Shipporter and they informed me it was insured, and not to worry, and that they would try and arrange either a replacement in the first instance (all orders are automatically insured up to a value of $50,000. If an item is found to be damaged on arrival then a claims process is made through Shipporter’s insurer). But JA were out of stock of this chair for 3 months (anyone get the impression if anything could go wrong with this delivery, it would?!). So Shipporter agreed to get it repaired instead. The chair was collected from my home by courier and taken to a local mender (at first I was asked to take it myself but the chair wouldn’t fit in our impractical car).
It was almost 2 more months before I received my chair back from the mender on 1 May, although it was only expected to take 2 weeks (Apparently the courier company lost it at some point. See what I mean about anything that could going wrong?!). But I did get it back, fixed and looking perfect.
My honest verdict
It took me more than four months to get my chair, which was a long time! However, a lot of things went wrong along the way which were out of Shipporter’s control and, in fairness, they had a solution to every problem and ensured I got my delivery, and that the broken chair was fixed for me. Had it not arrived broken, I would have had it in my home in 6 weeks, which I think is pretty damn good from the States.
The shipping cost of $191 was reasonable, but not super cheap. It equates to about a third of the cost of the chair. so I think to get the best value out of this service you need to look at the cost of the item, how it compares to what you can buy here in Australia, how much you really want the specific item and whether the exchange rate makes something a good deal. If you play it right, I think using Shipporter is a very good option, especially as you can get ANYTHING you want from ANY store.
It’s also really easy to use this service. The website explains everything really clearly and you’re kept informed by email along the way. Shipporter looks after customs clearance, shipping by sea and delivery to your door.
I can see this service being great for things like rugs, heavy kitchen appliances, even sofas!
Have you used a service like this? What was your experience?
Lu Reeves says
Innerestin’… That is actually cheaper than some delivery rates within Australia. I wonder how they go with big orders. Very very intrigued..
Warwick Blair says
Thanks Jen – we were very happy to assist you with this purchase and to showcase what we do and how we do it – unfortunately you got to experience more than we’d hoped for but the outcome was good.
I just wanted to pint out that many of our customers are looking for something different – something they can’t find in Australia – so we make it happen for them. Also our shippjng rate becomes very cost effective when the chargeable weight of the order is over 20 to 30kgs (compared to air freight/courier shipping options).
Shelley Campbell says
I’ve used this service. I ordered a huge Webber BBQ which was delivered to my house 5 weeks after the order was placed in the states. I saved about $1800 all up and am now looking at things for the kids for Xmas.
Angel - Hammer and heels says
Thanks for sharing Jen, this is awesome information. I’ve often fallen in love with things online just to find out that they don’t ship Oz and by the time you look at shipping it becomes unaffordable. I’ll definitely be looking into utilizing this service.
Kimberlee Brown says
ah ha! good and honest review – and great to hear of a good outcome despite you having to deal with every obstacle possible when ordering furniture online!
I’ll definitely have to check this out – particularly with rugs. Can’t find anything in Australia I love and is reasonably priced – this might be the answer i’m looking for, thanks Jen!
Lindsay Kasprowicz says
The outrageous cost of plantation shutters got me searching the states for cheaper options. My quote from Timber interiors to do my house was $7374 installed. I ended up ordering with Shipporter from the Shutter Store in the USA and I got my shutters (all standard sizes) in just over 6 weeks for $4989 to my door. I was very happy with the service from Shipporter. I will definitely be ordering again…. I have a friend who is ordering IKEA from the states at about half the price, plus it’s delivered to the door!
Great post Jen. Personal reviews like this are SO useful when considering new services. Really helpful to be introduced to Shipporter and hear about your experience. Thanks!
Jen Bishop says
Glad it was useful! Love your linen by the way! Gorgeous!
Thanks Jen !
Chrissie Jeffery says
That chair is available in Australia through Casa Mia
Jen Bishop says
Not to the consumer though?
Amanda russell says
Thanks Jen – you have no idea how helpful that is! I continue to be disappointed in the prices many Australian companies are charging compared with O/S. Great to know this service is reliable and solution orientated.
There’s a lime green one available at Focus Design- only $240.