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Thread: Have you ever heard of BONGO (for international shipping)?

  1. #1
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    We've been getting phone calls and e-mails from Bongo, which is a US-based freight consolidator / shipper that will accept delivery of multiple packages and then put them all into one box to be shipped all together for an international customer.

    I gather that the way it works is that you could order fabric from one place, notions from another, and books from a third, plus whatever other merchandise you might want from US stores, and then Bongo repackages it and sends it all overseas. So rather than paying international freight on each small package, you would pay the international shipping just one time.

    Has anyone used this service? Or even heard of it?

    I looked at their website, and their shipping costs were more than we charge (for small packages). I think it only makes sense if you order a LOT of things to be shipped overseas, or you order heavy items.

    But I'm wondering if anyone else has any experience with this?

  2. #2
    MTS
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    LOL!
    I perform that exact service for a number of overseas friends.
    And I don't charge anything for it.

    BONGO's prices seem around 20% higher than regular IntlPriority (I just tried a few countries and weights).

    It's a good idea, but the recipient has to decide if the costs are worth it. Might be a good deal for an overseas small business.

    What do they think they can do for your business? Or was it just general emails/solicitations?

  3. #3
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    They *say* that we can increase international sales by partnering with them. But... if they're would be so important to growing my business... why is it that I've been shipping to international customers for eight years now and I have never had a customer request to ship to them before? At least... not that I know of. We have found out about a west-coast freight consolidator that ships to Asia, and one in Florida that ships to Central/South America.

    They say it's all free to us, they make their money on the freight charges. And yet we would have to install something on our website.

    I just don't like the concept of having to install third-party stuff on my website. You can't quite control the content, then...

  4. #4
    MTS
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    Do they get that you're a small business? Really small?

    I mean, if this was such a great deal for the quilting consumer, I'm pretty sure eQuilter or Hancock's would have gone this route already.

    I'm thinking they don't realize that the size of your packages is rarely larger than a large FR box.

    I might get 4 packages from shops here to resend to a friend in Europe, but it can usually be crammed into, at most, 2 FR boxes. Except when she wanted a hoop, then I had to get a bigger box.

    Anyway, it always interesting (to me) to see what new B2B options are being offered. Of course, the number that actually succeed........

    And it's really not a bad idea, I just can't see it as having much benefit for a quilter overseas. ;-)

    If I ever come across it being offered on a website, I'll come back and post a link.

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    In my opinion, services like this tend to target new expats that are unsure of how they are going to get their "precious American goods". I agree that it really doesn't make much sense for smallish items unless the vendor absolutely will not ship overseas. There are some companies that will not ship to some Eastern European countries, African countries, etc due to the high amounts of credit card fraud.

    The personal shopping, though, is helpful because there are many American sites that will not accept a non-US based credit card. I can't tell you how many packages I have accepted and then shipped myself to my SIL from Target and Gap. Which is aggravating because they do have the Gap in the UK but just not what she wants, but I digree.

    I see Bongo ads on the expat sites frequently but I have never encountered anyone who has used them specifically. I think that if you've been shipping overseas for eight years you're fine without them. Unless you wanted to just go with them to maybe drum up so extra business. I'm not sure that I would want to install their stuff on my site though. I think you're right to be cautious there.

  6. #6
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AFQSinc
    he personal shopping, though, is helpful because there are many American sites that will not accept a non-US based credit card. I can't tell you how many packages I have accepted and then shipped myself to my SIL from Target and Gap.
    For us, we do accept non-US based credit cards, but then we have a rule where we will only ship directly to the customer, in whatever country they are. We did (three times now) have a customer who wanted us to ship to a freight consolidator, and we had these customers sign a release form that exempts us from any liability once the order is delivered to the freight consolidator. The last thing we want is for the order to get lost or damaged between the consolidator and the end customer, and then have that customer come back at us with a chargeback.

    We have this very handy feature on our credit card gateway, that sends us a message if the IP address (which indicates the geographic location of where the order was placed) does not agree with the shipping address. So we should be protected from the situation where someone is ordering from Nigeria, using a stolen credit card, and asking us to ship to someone in the US who will (foolishly!) then ship the goods overseas.

  7. #7
    Google Goddess craftybear's Avatar
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    never heard of Bongo, good luck

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Favorite Fabrics
    We have this very handy feature on our credit card gateway, that sends us a message if the IP address (which indicates the geographic location of where the order was placed) does not agree with the shipping address. So we should be protected from the situation where someone is ordering from Nigeria, using a stolen credit card, and asking us to ship to someone in the US who will (foolishly!) then ship the goods overseas.

    Yes, most international businesses have this as well. And it is aggravating for those of us who have to or desire to order from non-US companies. I purchase alot of English products and it is a huge pain because even though I may be using a non-US card with a UK shipping address they still won't accept it because my IP is in America. I can totally understand from the merchant's perspective the substantial need for this feature. It is just a shame that, again, some bad apples have to spoil it for the rest of us.

    Good for you, though, for being willing to put in the extra time and effort (and expense) to deal with and ship to international customers! I've been keeping a little list of merchants (both quilting and otherwise) that are willing to work with those not in the US. I know it will come in handy when we finally make our move.

  9. #9
    Super Member lindyline's Avatar
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    They're freight forwarders. My youngest daughter works in freight forwarding, and she advises it's cheaper to stick to the postal services unless it's a real bulk order.

  10. #10

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    Also look into International Checkout, Inc. No fees to the merchant, great customer service team and they ship worldwide.

    www.internationalcheckout.com
    www.internationalcheckoutsolutions.com

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