International Shipping

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Part
01

International Shipping

The first step of the research process began by analyzing data on how consumers in countries like Australia, Canada, the U.K., Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Germany, France, and Italy shop from U.S.-based websites. We did so with the idea that this would either provide a direct path to retailers that ship internationally or could potentially establish a path to reach that end. Unfortunately, the majority of the information gleaned during this initial search was regarding third-party shipper services, like U.S. Go Buy and U.S. Unlocked that offer package-forwarding services to international consumers. Having not uncovered sufficient data to either answer or establish a new path to the answer, another strategy was employed.
A review of data that we hoped could shed light on how major retailers, like Amazon, ship to customers outside the US was made. During this analysis, it was found that normally, when Amazon does not ship to a specific country (for example to a consumer in the U.K.), that consumer can use a package-forwarder such as Planet Express. Other major retailers, including The Gap, have arrangements with third-party services. For example, The Gap’s international shipping system is called BorderFree, which can help consumers receive goods from the US.
While the initial research paths taken do not answer the question as posed, they do provide key insights into how retailers and consumers overcome the challenges of shipping internationally. Our third strategy was to find retail companies that ship internationally to determine whether any of them fit the required criteria. Review website MakeUseOf provided us with lists from which we determined that a U.S.-based book vendor named Better World Books satisfied the required criteria, i.e. it is U.S.-based (in California), it does not have other country-specific sites, and it ships internationally to the countries of interest.

We then used Better World Books' website to document its shipping process. We have provided the required information in row 2, columns A and E-AB on the 'INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING FROM US' tab of the attached spreadsheet. We have also provided screenshots of the same in slides 21 to 33 of the attached presentation.

Conclusion

While we identified one U.S. retailer that ships internationally via its U.S. website (and not country specific websites), the other research paths taken show that the majority of out-of-country consumers shop via third-party shippers or package forwarders, and many large U.S.-based retailers work with either proprietary or established third-party shippers. Thus, it may be quite difficult to identify retailers similar to Better World Books.
Sources
Sources