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YouShop International Mail Forwarding Review

Herewith, my mail forwarding experience with YouShop, New Zealand Post’s US-based mail forwarding service. As an online shopper, I was interested to see what this was like – especially when packaging I had no control over impacted my shipping costs. And maybe you will be, too.

What Is YouShop, Again? New Zealand Post, in response to Kiwis’ desire for unlimited online shopping, has set up a mail forwarding service based in Portland, Oregon. You send a USA-acquired purchase that doesn’t ship overseas to the YouShop location in Oregon. The NZ Post employee there then weighs it, and tells you how much to pay for forwarding. Once you’ve paid online, NZ Post sends it to you in New Zealand, for a price. Note that NZ Post never opens the package, and does not consolidate multiple packages, most likely to reduce their liability.

The Test: In the post-Christmas online sales, I ordered two pairs of jeans from new-to-me brands, from two different online retailers. They were separately forwarded by YouShop. I had amazingly different experiences for the two different packages.

Item 1: A pair of NYDJ jeans from Amazon.com. On sale, $34 US; free Super Saver shipping from Amazon.com.

Have you ever seen anything so enthralling in your life??

Jeans #1 in their simple envelope, with a full-sized bottle of nail polish for scale.

  • Packaging: Slim minimum-weight plastic bag, shown above.
  • YouShop forwarding charge: $22.
  • Experience: From ordering jeans to admiring my butt in the mirror – 14 days exactly, over the holiday period, no less. I received *four* status emails: one saying that YouShop had received my package, one saying the package had been sent to New Zealand, one saying it had arrived in New Zealand, and one saying it had been delivered.
  • Comparable jeans purchase in New Zealand: $235 minimum. Definitely one of those NZ markup items. “Aren’t those jeans expensive??” a co-worker asked. US site prices are $140 US to $77 US, depending.
  • Overall: WIN. Even with the YouShop forwarding cost, I anticipate an excellent return on investment for this garment – transeasonal, well-made, and flexible. Also, garment fits perfectly – deliciously, even – and is strikingly attractive. And unique. And…well, this is what mail forwarding is for.

Item 2: A pair of raspberry-hued jeans from Ann Taylor Loft. On sale, $17.99 US, with $7.95 shipping. I’ve always loved wearing burgundy/berry tones, so for me the color trend is a chance to stock up on a shade.

ERMAGHERD. CERDBERD BERX.

Massive packaging difference with Jeans #2 – note that the for-scale nail polish is dwarfed.

  • Packaging: A modest shoebox-sized box, shown above.
  • YouShop Forwarding Charge: $36.00. WHAAAA?
  • Experience: Frankly, I was so thrown by the different shipping fee, it took me a week to click “Complete Order.” I did have the package in five days – they left it on my home doorstep. Again, I received progress emails – which was good because it let me know to look for the package.
  • Comparable jeans purchase in New Zealand: Depends on quality. Cheapies available from $49.00 at Glassons, $59.00 at JeansWest or Just Jeans. I’d have to alter the length, though.
  • Overall: I feel… punished by this one. How am I supposed to know if my items will be in featherweight ecopackaging, or if they’ll be mummified in a box? Why do I have to pay $14 more for the privilege of a cardboard box and a piece of paper packaging? I would have been OK with $5 – $7 more. Adding to my grousing, the jeans had fit issues (too large, when does that happen??). After washing them in ultra-hot water and running them through the dryer, they’re at the tailor.
Naked jeans!!!!

The two pairs of jeans, free of all packaging and folded once at the knee, beside each other with the for-scale nail polish. The NYDJ jeans are heavier.

Final YouShop Verdict

Recommended, with “caveat emptor” in place. The timing is reliable, but variability in packaging makes using YouShop shipping cost roulette. In future I will use YouShop for otherwise elusive must-have items – wardrobe foundation pieces, in petite sizing, items with which I fall sickeningly in love, shoes and boots. Or for small light parcels such as makeup, electronics components, specialist hardware, or lingerie.

You Shop ties into the psychology of online shopping by extending the shopping experience. The status emails each provide a little positive mental ping, echoing the mild endorphin rush of shopping itself. But not enough to overcome the anxiety of finding out if a package is light or heavy by their standards.

Bear in mind that, if the option is at all available, direct international shipping may work out to be about the same or cheaper.

9 Comments

  1. Perhaps you could add a comment to the order form of the US retailer next time, requesting the Tyvek- type bag instead of a box . Many online stores seem to be switching to the bag format. We use a similar service for mail, based in Beaverton, Oregon, but I haven’t tried it with packages yet. Happy shopping. J.

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  2. We use PreZoom – prices as low as $19.50 for most small packages. We have had excellent service from them.

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  3. Ive had a horrible experience with NZPOST’s Youshop service, my parcel has gone missing at their UK warehouse and they keep telling me to wait, wait and wait.

    Horrible experience, never going to use youshop ever again. Apparently the roulette of shipping cost is terrible as well!

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    • That’s a bummer, I’m really sorry. I’ve always had good experiences…one time an item took ages to arrive and it had been mislaid at a warehouse, too.

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  4. I just found your blog when looking for the easiest way to ship items from oz to the US since I have an artist friend living in oz that I’d like to work with. I had to comment on this just incase it’s helpful. When purchasing items here (US), if you buy from eBay, amazon, etsy, or other sites were it’s people selling the items vs a business they will almost always be packaged in the cheapest shipping method (i.e. the plastic envelope or flat rate small box).

    When purchasing from major retailers such as ann taylor, macys, nordstroms, and amazon (if you buy items from amazon warehouse as the seller instead of a person seller) they will almost always send them in a box. I suppose it’s viewed as more professional and safe since the item is less likely to arrived ripped open or damaged which then costs them money to replace or refund. Our shipper USPS, is horrible with package handling- I sometimes wonder if they make a game out of seeing how badly they can damage something while unloading and loading it. Of course that rule varies depending on the size and value of the item: the more valuable or large the item is the bigger the box will be. Hope that helps in the future, as this service does seem like a great thing. I had no idea you had such a hard time getting items sent into nz!

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    • Oh, I know, boxing and unboxing – it makes me CRAZY! I don’t mind if clothes arrive squished in a plastic envelope, I have an iron and a steamer and can handle it.

      Since this article was posted, lots more places are now shipping to NZ – and also charging through the nose for it. YouShop has raised some of their prices while improving their consolidation.

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  5. I use a company based in Oregon called Shipville and they are fantastic!

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