Having now spent several months researching and building the Sega 32x collection I wanted to take some time to review the different services that are offered by Buyee and Ship7 to help to understand the difference between the two.
My initial thoughts are that they both offer a good service, and have been very responsive to my requests when I have needed some information.
But how do they compare?
Buyee offers a warehousing and shipment service from Japan that covers a number of the popular online shopping services. These include:
- Yahoo! Auctions (kind of like the eBay of the region)
- Yahoo! Shopping (like Google shopping, lots of sellers of new products in one place)
- Mercari (another C2C eBay like marketplace)
- Rakuten (a large electronics marketplace and store in Japan of mostly new products)
- Zozotown (Fashion sales website)
- Amazon Japan (via a plugin)
Ship7 offers a warehousing and shipping service for the USA and also allows for the purchasing of goods in the UK as well. The service is a bit simpler, as there are no portals for websites, you just use their shipping address and then have the goods shipped there. I chose an address in Delaware as there are no taxes that you need to pay there (although I am not sure of the situation when it comes to paying tax for online purchases).
Buyee has a fee structure that takes a cut at several points in the transaction process – which makes it more expensive than Ship7.
Looking at the fee structure for Buyee and you can see the different charges at different points:
- Flat Rate ¥300 / Per order (approximately €2.50) – this is paid for every order you make regardless.
- Deliver inspection – there are 4 options here, and in general I pick the lite plan as this can add up. The plans offer a refund if the product is damaged upon delivery.
- International shipping – this is the big one and expect to pay a handsome fee to get your goods, especially if they are bulky or heavy. You can find a price calculator here. Note that Europe is zone 6, and the USA is zone 5. You can see below the DHL rates which take a big increase when you hit the 4kg mark.
At the time of writing ¥5,000 = €42.25 / $45.94
- Package consolidation is ¥500 for combining 2 packages, ¥1,000 for 3 or more and to consolidate for a second time it is another ¥1,000. I used this service each time I was preparing for shipment so that I had everything together and think I paid ¥1,000 each time
- Protective packaging is offered at ¥1,500 if you want them to improve the packaging. I have never used this service and everything arrived ok
- Photo service is ¥300 per package (for 5 photos) and again, I have never used this service before.
- Also to note that if the seller does not ship the goods via a tracked service then you will need to pay a domestic shipping charge from Buyee. As far as I am aware, I have not had to pay this but I will need to buy some more things to be sure.
- Last but not least is storage – they will hold your consignment for 30 days at Buyee before charging you based on the weight (maximum of 90 days). Fees can be found here, but the basic table is below
So all things considered, it is not a cheap service. When you consider that you will probably pay at least $50/€50 more for the most basic of shipping and import duty charges – it makes sense to buy very savvy and make sure that you do not pay more than the price you might be able to find locally. Some of the games I purchased from Japan I might of been better off purchasing locally once all of the fees and taxes have been paid to the relevant people.
Ship7 in contrast is much more straightforward when it comes to fees and service. You simply just ship the goods to the address you are assigned on the account and then wait for the packages to be delivered, before getting a quote for shipping (there are multiple options) and then proceeding with the delivery. The main difference is that you have to state the value of the goods with Ship7 whereas Buyee take the invoice amount from the website you have purchased on. These prices are used by customs officials when they are estimating charges.
Looking at the fee structure in more detail for Ship7 you see the following options:
- Additional photos – you get 2 with every package which is nice, but if you want more if it $2 each or $5 for 3. I have found the two to be sufficient to understand the goods that have been received, but if these are not clear then I ask them to check the goods manually which they will do for you for no charge (for example if you are expecting 4 items in a delivery and the photo only shows 2).
Here is what the standard service looks like
- Document scanning, and emailing – $2 for 20 pages. I guess this might be a service others will need but I have had no use.
- Consolidation is free
- Repackaging is free but can also be a charge of $5 – I guess it depends on the complexity and the need for extra packaging as I have not had to pay for the service so far.
- Express processing is $5 per order, this gets you expedited but i have never used it.
- They offer special request packaging for extra padding or protection for $2 per package (again, I have not needed this).
- White glove handling for $2 – I guess this is for extra fragile or valuable items, but I have never used them.
- Insurance for shipments is covered up to $100, but you can purchase more if needed.
- Storage is free for 60 days with any time after that being charged (up to a maximum of 90 days). I have found this very helpful as when you are buying randomly when products appear then it does not put financial pressure on you to ship the goods sooner.
- They also offer a “shop for me” service if your card is not accepted and this is $7 or 10% of the fee.
In conclusion, if you are looking to buy goods in the USA I would highly recommend Ship7 – I have found them to offer an excellent level of service when it comes to replying to my emails and the prices and fee structure is clear and reasonable. They offer a number of shipping options and the ability to see your package photos is excellent.
If you are looking for a provider that offers shipping from Japan, Buyee will do this for you. I think with all of their charges they are not the cheapest option, but ultimately everything I have ordered has arrived (sometimes held up a lot by customs as they do not help with the clearance). I have been satisfied with them, but for future purchases I will try another service.