Foreigners in Japan know all too well what a hassle it is to shop for items from back home. Sure, it doesn’t take long to find what you’re looking for online, but often you’ll get to the checkout only to discover that the site doesn’t ship outside the US.
Consider those days over: Yamato Global Logistics Japan, the company behind the extremely popular takkyubin door-to-door delivery service—you know, the ones with ubiquitous green-and-yellow vans—has launched Kuroneko USA Mall. This English-language shopping website features a unique service called “Buy For Me,” which enables any MasterCard cardholder in Japan to purchase products from well-known American online stores, including those that don’t offer overseas shipping.
“Buy For Me” does exactly what it says: Kuroneko USA Mall purchases and ships products directly to its customers in Japan, eliminating the need for them to register at every store they want to buy an item from. All that customers need to do is register for free at the website—all personal information is safeguarded, of course—then search for the items they want, place them in a shopping cart, and let Kuroneko USA Mall handle the rest.
“Mall” is indeed the right word: there’s a vast array of goods on offer, from apparel to health & beauty items to electronics, pet supplies and more. Well-known shops featured on the site include Bath & Body Works, Coach, Ralph Lauren, Timberland, Aeropostale, Drugstore.com, American Eagle and the US Amazon store. (As most expats know, Amazon Japan does have an English-language service, but many essential items are only sold on its American counterpart.)
The beauty of the “Buy For Me” service is that it’s not limited only to stores on the Mall’s website, or stores that otherwise ship to Japan. The only requirement for those other online shops is that they accept credit cards or PayPal payments in US dollars. “Buy For Me” customers will need to have a MasterCard card, but fret not—it doesn’t need to have been issued in the US. What’s more, if you need to apply for a credit card, there’s a link available which will take you directly to MasterCard Japan.
Tracking your shipment is easy: you’ll receive email notifications once your product has been purchased, and then again after it arrives in Japan. All billing is done in US dollars, and you’ll be updated about details on international shipping charges. And speaking of charges, you’ll be amazed at how low they are—rates start from as little as US$6.30 thanks to MasterCard’s special US$20 shipping fee discount promotion.
As might be expected from a successful delivery company, Kuroneko USA Mall offers a variety of additional packing options for fragile items, computers and appliances, and specially made containers for articles such as skis and snowboards. Like Amazon, products will be repacked into a single box or container if possible, at no additional charge. If deliveries of several products cannot be made all at once, purchases can be stored at Kuroneko USA Mall’s warehouse for two weeks free of charge until they are delivered (US$3.50 for each additional week).
For registration and further information, see:
The first 1,000 Kuroneko USA Mall customers who place an order by December 31, 2010, will receive a discount of US$20 on international shipping costs.
*Note that Kuroneko USA Mall only makes purchases considered to be personal imports. If a purchase is deemed not to be a personal import, tariffs and other import taxes may apply.