Denys Krasnikov

Private postal delivery and logistics company Nova Poshta has launched a forwarding service to make it easier for Ukrainians to shop in U.S.-based online stores.

Called NP Shopping, the service helps users purchase goods from U.S. internet-based retailers by bypassing the requirement that сustomers have a U.S. postal address.

A mail-forwarding service works by providing an intermediary U.S. address for customers. Purchased goods are mailed to the intermediary address on the customer’s behalf, and then shipped on to their final destination. As a result, users from outside the United States are able to buy goods online from e-shops that only ship to U.S. postal addresses.

Nova Poshta’s NP Shopping offers just like that. Well, almost.

A screenshot taken from the website of NP Shopping, the forwarding service of Nova Poshta, which the company launched on Aug. 3. The site is only in Ukrainian, as the company’s main target audience for the service is older Ukrainians who rarely buy online.

It buys goods from various U.S. shops like Amazon, eBay, Walmart by itself, charging an additional 7 percent of the cost, and delivers them to Ukraine. While ordering and paying for a delivery, users have to copy the URL address of the product and paste it into a box on Nova Poshta’s website. There isn’t even a requirement to sign in.

As soon as the company receives the customer’s shipment at its U.S. warehouse, it forwards it either to one of its Ukrainian outlets, or to the customer’s own home address by courier. Deliveries are supposed to take five working days or less. Parcels are limited in size to 122 centimeters in length, 102 centimeters in width, and 110 centimeters in height

If the parcel is lost, Nova Poshta promises to refund all costs.

In order to get, say, a gadget from Amazon that costs $100 and weighs 1 kilogram, customers will pay Nova Poshta $113 in total. However, if a product costs more than $165, customs clearance will cost an additional 35 percent of the excess sum. So, for example, an order for an item priced $1,000 and weighing 1 kilogram will cost $1,367.

Payment can be by card or in cash at one of the Ukrainian company’s outlets, paid when customers pick up their delivery.

The only catch is that the customer doesn’t just have to part with money – the company collects a range of personal data obtained from its users when they make a purchase in order to tune its marketing strategy to its users’ preferences.

Nova Poshta cofounder Vyacheslav Klimov told the Kyiv Post the service was specifically designed for older Ukrainians who rarely make purchases online and who don’t speak much English.

“About 80-90 percent of citizens from developed European countries and the United States – including those from the 50-plus segment and teenagers – buy everything on the internet: clothes, shoes, gadgets, books, household products, and so on,” Klimov told the Kyiv Post on Aug. 4. “In Ukraine, this is maybe just 10 percent.”

Irina Kholod, the CEO of Ukrainian E-Commerce Expert, an e-commerce consulting firm, says NP Shopping may well be in demand.

“Even though local shops have quite a wide range of goods, a large amount of various types of goods are still unavailable to Ukrainians,” Kholod told the Kyiv Post on Aug. 5. “Ukraine is still not included in the export area of many vendors, or their products are present here (in Ukraine) in limited quantities. And prices for many things are cheaper in the U.S. and Europe because of lower profit margins.”

“This kind of shopping may be especially interesting during clearance sales, when discounts can reach up to 90 percent,” Kholod said.

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