Recent reports have stated there have been over 3 million Amazon Echo units sold. But what if you want to buy one in Australia? Here's how to do it.
Challenge: The Amazon Echo only ships to US addresses
Solution: Use a mail forwarding service
Mail forwarding services allow you to buy products from US stores that only ship to US addresses. I set up an account with AusPost Shopmate which gives you a "virtual address" for you to then add to your Amazon account and set as the shipping address for your order.
Challenge: Amazon requires a US credit card to buy an Amazon Echo
Solution: Gift yourself an Amazon e-voucher from another Amazon account to the value of your Amazon Echo order
Firstly, go to Amazon and add the Amazon Echo and any accessories you want to buy (I bought the Belkin WeMo Switch) to your shopping cart. This will give you a cost of the order, including shipping in US dollars.
From here, visit XE.com and do a quick calculation on USD to AUD. This is going to be the amount you need to create a gift voucher for.
I wasn't able to gift myself an Amazon card from my own Amazon account; when I tried, I got a "Payment Declined" email from Amazon. To get around this, I created a second Amazon account attached to a separate email address. From Amazon.com I was then able to buy an e-Gift Voucher and send that to my personal account where I wanted to make the Amazon Echo purchase. Result!
So, you made it through Amazon's gauntlet and managed to get the product shipped to your mail forwarder. Now what?
Shopmate will send you an email once the goods have arrived at its warehouse. From there, you'll need to log in to your account to declare your packages.
When it comes to declaring the package, you need to state the type of consumer good it is, and also the price in USD for the order.
After declaring both of my packages, you get a final invoice. The final cost for me to ship the Amazon Echo and Belkin WeMo switch came to $AUD73.10 with an estimated shipping time of 5-7 business days.
Done! How do I know it has been shipped and when it's due to arrive?
You can use the 'My Tracking' page within Shopmate to keep track of your parcels and their shipped status along the way. Don't forget it takes 5 - 7 business days so you're going to have to hang in there or sleep through your entire weekends to make it feel like the delivery isn't too far away.
What was the total cost to ship the Amazon Echo to Australia?
- Amazon Echo: $USD179.99 ($AUD231.03 at the time of writing)
- Shipping from Amazon to Shopmate: Free
- Shipping from Shopmate to my office: $AUD40.25
- Total Cost inc. Shipping: $AUD271.28
Ergh. This is just too much for me. Is there an easier way?
Alternatively, if you don't want to go through all of this there's a number of personal shopping services with one of the most prominent services being Big Apple Buddy. Big Apple Buddy charges a minimum service fee of $50, but this may be offset by cheaper shipping rates.