fascinates: (unknown | =3=)
nikki ♫ ([personal profile] fascinates) wrote in [community profile] ofurotaimu2011-01-15 06:05 pm
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[Guide] Ordering from Shops with no International Shipping

In the Vocaloid and Utattemita fandom, most of the merchandise are either 1) in comiket/other conventions or 2) in Japan-only online shops. Most of the time, Vocaloid and Utattemita CDs are sold in Toranoana, Animate, Amazon Japan and more recently, Three!!. If you are a non-Japan resident, it's a bit hard getting stuff from those shops (except Amazon, unless you wanted an item that is not shipped internationally). In order to buy from these shops, you need to use a deputy service.

note 1: I will not be talking about shopping assistance for comilket/vomas, since it's an entirely different thing. This will only be about items sold in online shops.

note 2: As most utaite and producers discourage auctions (like Clear), and because of my inexperience with it, I will also not discuss auctions and how to bid on them using these services.




What is a deputy service?
- A deputy shop/service is a third-party site which will help you order from shops that do not accept shipping outside Japan. Aside from the shops mentioned above, it also includes auctions (Y!J, mbok, etc.), specialty shops (Melonbooks, etc.) and even real shops located in Japan. Basically, you tell them what you want from what shop and they will order it for you with a commission fee.

How do deputy services work?
- Basically, your product will be ordered and be sent to you in these steps:
1. You register in the site/service.
2. You ask them to buy whatever you want (by giving links in the order forms).
3. They give you the list of fees you have to pay (will be discussed below) and you need to either pay it in full or partial.
4. They will order for you and notify you when they manage to do so. (This can interchange with #3, as they can order first before you are made to pay.)
5. The product is mailed to their storehouse in Japan.
6. They will notify you that your product has arrived. If you live near Japan, chances are they will ship from there. If not, they will send the product to their storehouse in US and from there, they will send it to you.
7. You are asked to pay for shipping fees unless you have an initial deposit (will be discussed below). Most of the time, the shipping is EMS, but there are some services where you can choose shipping method.
8. They will mail the product to you.

Why is using deputy services expensive?
- They are expensive to the point that you can pay up to 2.5 times as much compared to when you just directly order online. This is because of the fees you have to pay:
1. Commission fee: This is the fee you have to pay them for ordering for you. The lesser popular the site you're ordering from, the more likely that the fee is slightly larger. Usually, it ranges from $5-$12. Some shops charge per item, while some charge per batch order.
2. Bank Wire fee: This is the fee you have to pay for them paying for your order. This is, more often than not, $2-$3.
3. Sales Tax fee: This is the 5% sales tax which is compulsory in web shops.
4. Internal Shipping fee: This is the fee you have to pay them for receiving your item in their Japan storehouse. Basically, you have to pay for the seller shipping the item to them. This can be from $5-$10.
5. International Shipping fee: This is the fee you have to pay to receive your item. The price is dependent on the mail service they use. Usually, it is EMS. It is a bit expensive, but your item is secured and tracked.

Why do some deputy services ask me to pay first before I can even order?
- This deposit secures your account and is usually used for bidding or if you ask them, for paying for your items. Most of the time, it's just for good measure to make sure you're someone they can trust.

What kind of payment to they accept?
- Paypal is the most popular way of paying for deputy services, although some also accept direct credit card payment, money orders and bank transfers, depending on the service or your location. Most of them accept only USD and Yen as payment.

What are some of the downsides of using deputy sites?
- Aside from the expensive fees, there are also these:
1. You cannot cancel webshop orders when they have already confirmed them.
2. You have to pay as soon as possible when they notify you, because some shops add fees the longer you let your product stay in their storehouse.
3. It might take a longer time to ship the item to you due to the roundabout way it is held.

Aside from buying from webshops, what can deputy sites do?
1. They can bid in Japanese auctions for you.
2. They can buy in RL Japanese stores for you as long as you describe properly what you want to buy.
3. They can pre-order for you.
4. They can sell you stuff (yes, some of them do have their own shops) in a cheaper price.
5. They can help you look for webshops where you can buy the stuff you want (especially if they are rare).


Below is a list of some of the better known deputy shops. I cannot say which is the best one because it depends on where you live or where you order from. Some of them have downsides (like you can't ship directly from Japan and you have to pay a lot for shipping, etc). so it's up to the buyer to look for the shopping service that will suit their needs the most. In order to find a suitable deputy service for you, you need to:

1. Ask for an estimate/quote. It wouldn't hurt to e-mail them and ask for an estimate of how much they will charge you for ordering from a shop, especially if it is an unknown shop/product. Most of them reply readily and amiably.
2. Compare prices. There are many sites to choose from, so try computing which shop would ship for the least fee to your location.
3. Be careful. There are a lot of deputy sites out there, but not all of them are trustworthy. They all have FAQs and all of them have contact numbers (US-based) or e-mail, so don't be afraid to ask if you have anything you do not understand!
4. Do not buy on impulse. Make sure the things you buy through a deputy shop are those that aren't really sold in shops that have international shipping. Unless they are very rare / not available in international shops they are not worth using deputy sites for.

• Noppin ( http://www.noppin.com/ )
- advantages (profile)
- shopping service faq/steps
- general fees

• Celga ( http://www.celga.com/ )
- shopping faq
- fees faq

• Shopping Mall Japan ( http://shoppingmalljapan.com/ )
- general fees
- ordering tutorials

• Goody-Japan ( http://goody-japan.com/ )
- commision fees
- shipping fees
- [personal profile] clefairy has a general review of the service here.

• Japamart ( http://www.japamart.com/ )
- shopping faq + general fees
- shipping fees

• Treasure Japan ( http://treasure-japan.com/ )
- faq

• Japan to Door ( https://www.japantodoor.com )
- ordering faq
- general fees faq

• From Japan
- [personal profile] lluvia has an amazing review of the service here.

• Other Lesser-known Stores:
- Masato IWS
- Japan Auction Agency



From all of those, I have only used the first three. Here are my thoughts on them for those who are curious:

Noppin/Crescent Shop
+ this is the best deputy shop for beginners, as they are very quick to respond and are very accommodating.
+ you can ask individual questions and they will answer you readily.
+ they are very strict when it comes to notifying you of the status of your order, from the point of ordering it until it is ready for shipment; you can also check the status via their bbs.
+ they are very careful with your items and they will use the package suitable for the amount, size of your items.
- they are more expensive than the other deputy services, make sure you buy in bulk if you want to save money.
- you need to pay on time.
- you need to pay an initial deposit before you can order.
- since their website changed (from crescent to noppin) there had been some irregularities when it comes to payment. but this can easily be resolved by asking them personally.

Shopping Mall Japan
+ they are quick to answer your orders and also quick to ship.
+ it's pretty easy ordering from them because of the automatic system
+ their fees are not as steep as other shops and even cheaper if you order from just 1 shop + by bulk.
+ if you live in Asia, they will send the items to you straight from Japan, so you save time, especially if it's fast mail (like EMS).
- since they're automated, it's kind of hard to ask questions and request special treatment of product.
- they almost always pack your products in boxes, no matter if they're doujinshis or magazines or CDs, so expect large packages and a little more expensive shipping.

Celga
+ they answer questions readily and sometimes are willing to give estimates.
+ they aren't as strict with fees as with other sites.
+ they pack stuff well and carefully.
- they are more expensive than the others
- sometimes they "forget" that you have items so you might need to bug them about it instead of the other way around ^^;.



Currently, I'm using Crescent and Shopping Mall Japan. Both of them order from Toranoana, Animate and Three!! and you can also ask them to order from even lesser-known sites. So far there are only minimal problems with them, just that they are really expensive in total. Well, it is the price to pay, I think ^^;.

If you have any questions or if you can give a review on some of the other sites (listed or not), feel free to post them in the comments. Thank you to [personal profile] southerncross, [personal profile] serenato and [personal profile] waowao who had introduced me to deputy sites and how to use them ♥.
ext_464577: (Default)

[identity profile] sanzycheshire.blogspot.com 2011-01-15 01:14 pm (UTC)(link)
wah! Thanks for the guide! *hugs* xD

hi

[personal profile] tacypocrorrim 2012-07-03 05:24 am (UTC)(link)
how many websites do you shop from toranoana and are cheap for commissions?
stephieku: (Default)

Re: hi

[personal profile] stephieku 2012-07-03 05:29 am (UTC)(link)
I haven't really found a good middleman store for toranoana, I'm not sure what store nikki uses, but I think Noppin allows it. They're a bit pricey though. I'll let you know if I find others.
ext_508549: Gero with his chahan. (Default)

[identity profile] nozombier.livejournal.com 2011-01-15 04:15 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you very much for this~ /kneels ;U;

[personal profile] suzalogy 2011-01-15 04:26 pm (UTC)(link)
just when i though about buying things utattemita related xD
thank you for this!
lluvia: Loki ‡ Matantei Loki Ragnarok ‡ Kinoshita Sakura (With a cup of tea to go.)

[personal profile] lluvia 2011-01-15 09:34 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm a big fan of FromJapan, to the point where I've never even thought of switching companies. I think their fees are reasonable, they have a points system so you can save a little money in future purchases by using those, and they're really efficient with everything. I've got both envelopes and boxes from them (so they pack according to the size of the items) and the EMS shipping from Japan to Mexico has never taken longer than a week--except for during the holidays, but that one's understandable (they also offer other shipping services and show you estimate prices for each before you pick one).

They also have a system where, if you search/buy something from their search engine or the stores they're partnered with, the amount of your first payment is instantly calculated and you can pay right away. In other cases, with smaller stores and the like, you just fill in a form with the product you want and they take less than a day in getting back to you with the fees (a couple of hours, if you do it during Japan business hours).

I've only used them for shopping, but they also have a bidding service, if that's what you're interested in. :|d
clefairy: (Default)

[personal profile] clefairy 2011-01-16 09:20 pm (UTC)(link)
I just thought I'd vouch for the one time I used Goody-Japan. They take a fee on registration as a "deposit" of sorts, but immediately put it forward to your first order, so it's all good. Once they activate your account, you can head to the order form and fill it in with a lot of redundant info (though I think it's more of a check to make sure you know you're ordering the item you linked to).

They were very quick to place my order for buzzG's album, "Rebellion on the Sunday", which involved just filling in the form with the URL of the item I wanted and the quantity. and it came within 2 weeks from the date of purchase (given the time it takes for them to receive, and for it to reach UK). They updated me immediately with the EMS tracking code when they dispatched it from Japan as well, which was pretty professional and stuff :D

The comission charge is also extremely reasonable I think, at a minimum of 750yen, and then going from 15% and downwards depending on the amount.

I'd definitely use them again if I had the need to but lately I have people sending me albums directly...and then the ones from the spaces next to them so...8D;;. But I'm definitely thinking of using them for some of the bigger named P's albums sometime soon.
stephieku: (love_is_war)

[personal profile] stephieku 2011-01-17 12:55 am (UTC)(link)
Thanks for the guide! I've only recently started using deputy shops, so I'm grateful. I'm always so terrible at calculating shipping, the initial quote is always appealing, but the shipping sometimes turns out horrendous. This is because some places offer Airmail or SAL, but sometimes they won't know if it will go over the weight/size restrictions until it arrives at their location and they're forced to ship EMS..... ;;;;

I've also used Japonica for auctions, but have no idea if they do shops.

I want to to try and preorder something soon.... I really need to start asking them for quotes...
stephieku: (Default)

[personal profile] stephieku 2011-01-17 01:59 am (UTC)(link)
Thanks! Yeah, Noppin seems quite responsive and their stuff is packed nice and safely esp for posters.

I'll try out SMJ, because the item I want is kinda big, and my friend wanted to order the same item. But it's only avaliable for preorder for one week and the thing is release several months later orz....
stephieku: (Default)

[personal profile] stephieku 2011-01-17 02:12 am (UTC)(link)
Ohhhhh But is Noppin by item or service? *can't remember orz* They're most reliable, but also expensive ;A;
stephieku: (Default)

[personal profile] stephieku 2011-01-17 02:19 am (UTC)(link)
Alright, I think I'll do this, thanks for the help! :3
southerncross: (Default)

[personal profile] southerncross 2011-01-17 06:55 am (UTC)(link)
Maybe I'm just a loyal user but I really like SMJ. It really depends on the people on what company they choose in terms of shipping or fees. I like SMJ based on their customer service. I used to bug them a lot about my packages and they always reply asap.

Just now I received a reply about Asamakku's Gift. They're shipping it tomorrow. /shot
stephieku: (Default)

[personal profile] stephieku 2011-01-18 06:31 am (UTC)(link)
Although I'm likely trying out FromJapan because of the recommendation, I just want to add from my adventures of trying out all these sites to find the best price for my stuff...
Noppin --> expensive, but most reliable sounding, said they'd get my preorder right on the first day if I paid beforehand

Japonica --> cheaper than Noppin, they personally reply to you via email, so it's nice. But they asked me to contact them again when the preorder for the item opens.

FromJapan --> their fees seem scarily cheap. Why's it so cheap!? *checking over to make sure I'm not missing something*

Other places: was unsure to try the automated sites..
stephieku: (Default)

[personal profile] stephieku 2011-01-18 06:49 am (UTC)(link)
For the record, I'm trying to order 2 items worth 4,000 (8,000 together). Noppin's service fee (not including shipping +other fees, etc) was about 1,900. Japonica was 1,200. From Japan, I'm still unsure, but I'm going to try them out because it seems really cheap...
stephieku: (Default)

[personal profile] stephieku 2011-01-18 07:05 am (UTC)(link)
Initial service fee was....400 yen. I think there is a second one though.
stephieku: (Default)

[personal profile] stephieku 2011-01-18 07:06 am (UTC)(link)
Also Japonica has no handling or bank transfer fee, but FromJapan does.
stephieku: (love_is_war)

[personal profile] stephieku 2011-01-19 02:46 am (UTC)(link)
I'll also let you know how my preorder will pan out too! ^^; It was a little bit "too good to be true" -ish, so I hope nothing goes wrong, and it really is too good and true..

(Anonymous) 2011-02-16 05:46 pm (UTC)(link)
are there a deputy service charges one commission rate if I buy multiple items from the same seller?

Deputy service in United Kingdom

(Anonymous) 2011-10-05 11:09 pm (UTC)(link)
Hello did you happen to is there any kind of deputy service in United Kingdom, RiverIsland.com (clothing brand) wont outside UK.

Thanks in advance.

(Anonymous) 2012-04-11 02:30 pm (UTC)(link)
Hello, this might be a kind of unrelated question, but do you know if there's any way to mail in surveys (those included in magazine, such as Nico SongMATE) and receive the reader presents if you live overseas?
stephieku: (Default)

[personal profile] stephieku 2012-04-11 04:08 pm (UTC)(link)
I think unfortunately a lot of those are limited to JP customers >< If you have a friebd with a JP address, maybe?

more service

(Anonymous) 2012-09-21 11:27 pm (UTC)(link)
Recentry, i found following japan shopping service.
http://www.j-subculture.com

Cheapest and best Japan deputy shopping service I found recently.

(Anonymous) 2013-01-09 12:19 pm (UTC)(link)
When I started using proxy shopping services in Japan about a year ago, one of the cheapest ones was Shopping Mall Japan. But to my surprise last week I came upon a new service called SuToCorp (SuToCorp.com) that is even cheaper! Instead of the usual 10-12% commission which SMJ charges(depending on price of item) these guys only charge a flat 8% ! And their shipping is also pretty low by comparison. Now if that isn't enough they also provide almost instantaneous email response to my email queries - even late in the evening japanese time.

I think I have found the best Japan proxy shopping service by far.
stephieku: (Default)

Re: Cheapest and best Japan deputy shopping service I found recently.

[personal profile] stephieku 2013-01-09 06:12 pm (UTC)(link)
Sutocorp is also my recommended site for webmoney, which can be used for Nicopoints, premium memberships and online games.

The deputy I use, FromJapan has a 200 yen per item and a 2% charge (forthe first 4 items per store, after that it's only the 2% charge) and various bank transfer fees that vary.But their SAL shipping prices are terrible.Their EMS charge is normal. How good is Sutocorp's shipping?

Re: Cheapest and best Japan deputy shopping service I found recently.

(Anonymous) 2014-06-10 10:51 pm (UTC)(link)
SutoCorp's customer service is pathetic; they don't seem to understand English (they are indonesians). Email communications get confused and as a result I have missed numerous Yahoo auctions. Only for the desparate.
stephieku: (Default)

[personal profile] stephieku 2013-01-09 06:28 pm (UTC)(link)
Note, a good place to buy CDs is Rakuten IF you stick to one store within Rakuten.Then they won't charge you for combining shipments, which is pretty high. Rakuten stores have all sorts of products. One of my favorite stores is Surugaya, which sells used doujin CDs including Vocaloid, Utattemita, and Touhou. Usually i search for the items on their site, copy the product name and paste into Rakuten to access surugaya's listing there http://www.suruga-ya.jp

(Anonymous) 2013-02-16 06:05 pm (UTC)(link)
Did anyone try this?
Buy from japan - Anislo (https://anislo.jp)

ordering from toranoana.jp

(Anonymous) 2013-05-10 04:32 pm (UTC)(link)
Is there any sites that can order from toranoana.jp? im in the usa
stephieku: (Default)

Re: ordering from toranoana.jp

[personal profile] stephieku 2013-05-10 04:58 pm (UTC)(link)
Because Toranoana doesn't like deputy services and has a lot of 18+ items, many services won't work, but I believe Noppin will still do Toranoana services

NO TO TREASURE JAPAN

(Anonymous) 2013-12-08 09:22 pm (UTC)(link)
I HATE THIS JAPANESE PROXY SERVICE! Worst service in my whole life!
If you ever plan to purchase something from Japan, stay away from them!

I have heard many good reviews about them, and how cheap they were, so I decided to give it a shot.

Everything was fine at first, I paid for the items I wanted and they ordered. However, once they received my goods and sent me an invoice, that's when the problems started.

Obviously I already had to pay their expensive commission fee of 1932 yen (which is around 20 USD), I was not ready to lose any more money, so I emailed them to ship out my items via the cheapest method without tracking and if I could send the payment via gift, so I didn't have to pay the stupid $9 international money fee.

However, they said they could not, even if in their FAQ, it said that you COULD.

Obviously these morons (only one person is running this site, however) most likely hasn't updated any of their FAQ or "rules", because clearly it said that you COULD do that! I read everywhere and never did it say that I couldn't get a shipping without tracking and not send my payment as a gift. Obviously, sending something via gift would be hurting ME because I wouldn't be able to be eligible for Paypal Protection! In the end I could have saved $30!

Most likely nobody is buying from them anymore BECAUSE it's been a while since they have updated anything from their site!

This will DEFINITELY be my first and last time using their service! Next time I'll go with my gut and use Biginjap.com's forwarding service. I could be saving more money, and they do have excellent service!

RIPOFF SITE THAT DOES NOTHING FOR THE CUSTOMER TO SAVE YOU MONEY. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!

Treasure Japan

(Anonymous) 2014-12-02 09:41 pm (UTC)(link)
I checked out a lot of deputy services, and thought that Treasure Japan seemed the best from reviews and I couldn't be happier ^^ I've been using them since May this year and have had a wonderful experience~! They answer any questions I have in a timely manner, place my orders and bids quickly and hold my stuff for quite a while (30 days usually) without any fees :) They offer many shipping options, including Surface. I have nothing but positive things to say about Treasure Japan, they're great~!