Using the crowd for your international shopping
Jitka, my partner, and I have been contemplating moving overseas for a little while. This obviously raises some popular issues such as learning the language, understanding the system and all of that, but it also frequently reminds us that some of the things we’ve grown to love in London won’t be available in Czech. This is especially the case with food. Whilst some sites do cater for expats, the costs tend to be very high. The crowd however, may make things a little easier.
I wrote at the back end of last year about a number of sites that are using the growing amount of international travel to change how packages are delivered. The process was pretty simple. You’d specify the items you wanted to ship, and then search either through your own social network, or that of the site, to find someone that is making that journey. You’d then ask if they wouldn’t mind taking your package with them.
ShopandBox operates along a similar kind of principle, except that you’re not relying upon your own social network at any stage. Here’s how it works. You search their site for ‘shoppers’ in the area you want to buy from. These are people that have signed up to the site and agree to buy products in their local area, before consolidating them into one package and posting it off to you.
The site works pretty closely with Amazon, enabling you to simply drag items from Amazon into your shopping list on ShopandBox. Once you’ve compiled your list, you’re teamed up with one of the network of, what the site call, Boxer Buddies, who will fulfill the order for you. You can message your Buddy to arrange the logistics of the order and make payments etc. Once you’ve agreed everything, the Buddy will buy the items in your shopping list and post them off to you. For that, you pay one international shipping fee for your collective order, thus hopefully saving you a bit of money, although obviously there is a small fee for the Buddy as well.
The video below provides an overview of the service. What do you think? Is this a service the world really needs?