International shoppers often have to wait weeks or even months to purchase the hottest technology products recently released in the U.S. Personal shipping concierge service Big Apple Buddy is carving out a service niche by both expediting and personalizing the process. Through partnerships with FedEx, DHL and UPS, each shipment takes approximately two to four business days to ship to global consumers.
The service also addresses shopper concerns about buying counterfeit products, purchasing only from reputable retailers to guarantee product quality and authenticity. Since launching in 2014, the New York City-based service has expanded its shipping to more than 75 countries, and doubling its sales in 2015.
Big Apple Buddy charges a minimum fee of $50 per order, which covers every step of the expediting process — from buying the product to having it shipped to the client’s doorstep. To begin the process, shoppers fill out a form online to share details of their desired tech product. They receive a quote from a Big Apple Buddy representative within 24 hours. The concierge will the find the gadget at the best price, purchase it from a reputable store and ship it, via courier, directly to the shopper’s home.
Tech Requests Spawn Bright Idea
Phillis Chan’s inspiration to launch Big Apple Buddy came after she left a legal career in Australia to move to New York City a few years ago. Upon moving, she started to get requests from family members and friends, asking her to ship over new tech toys that were difficult to find and purchase outside the U.S.
“Initially we started off helping people buy anything and everything,” said Chan in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We found our footing in tech products, because many of them get released in the U.S. before anywhere else in the world, and we found that people around the world were willing to pay premiums to get them early. The common theme, whether they live in Australia or South Africa, is that they want their products quickly; they want them now.”
Chan noted that the service’s target audience strongly reflects the immediacy theme: the majority of the site’s consumers are tech-enthusiast male professionals in their 30s and 40s who would likely stand outside a store in a line for hours just to be first to own a new iPad or iPhone.
Simplifying Cross-Border Shipping
The introduction of global shipping concierge services into the retail space is fitting: total cross-border shipping is expected to amount to $330 billion by 2020, according to the UPS Global Pulse Of The Online Shopper Study. With global shoppers indicating that they make 24% of their purchases with online retailers located outside their own country, it’s clear that international shipping processes will need to be made easier, quicker and more secure to accommodate growing consumer needs.
The service aims to make cross-border commerce easier by breaking down the barrier for shoppers who want to purchase goods from retailers that only ship to specific countries. While many U.S. retailers may only ship to limited countries for various reasons, Big Apple Buddy can serve as a middleman for consumers in a wide range of locations.
With product authenticity as another potential cross-border commerce barrier, the shipping concierge may ease the worries of consumers who don’t want to purchase from larger marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon, due to the unknown nature of these products’ origins.
“With eBay, you don’t always know who you’re dealing with, and are often buying from random people,” Chan stated. “You can’t really guarantee the authenticity of the goods. That’s how we differentiate ourselves from those marketplace services. We get our products directly from retailers, identify where the product came from and guarantee the quality and authenticity of the goods.”