Monday, July 23, 2012

A new tale from the e-commerce learning curve

That international object of desire, the Epiphone Tom Delonge Signature ES-333
Until now, I have dreaded the thought of someone overseas wanting to buy a guitar. International rates for large packages are prohibitively expensive, to the point where the shipping costs more than the guitar itself. Moreover, it's easy to get burned. I learned this the hard way seven or eight years ago when I sold a Fender P-bass to a guy in Italy, shipped it to him and then got slapped a few weeks later with a claim that it hadn't been delivered.

So you can imagine my reticence last week when I got an inquiry through our Amazon store (http://www.amazon.com/gp/browse.html?ie=UTF8&marketplaceID=ATVPDKIKX0DER&me=A2B8QRMTEXNOMS) from Levi, a gentleman in Tamworth, Australia, asking about a guitar that has been hanging on the Piano Gallery Music Superstore's wall since October 2010, an Epiphone Tom Delonge ES-333. (Let me say right now, I get a kick being addressed as "Mate.")

Everybody knows I want to get every guitar in the store into the hands of people who will love and appreciate them. It's kind of like a pet adoption agency, and the Tom Delonge guitar is one of my favorites. But shipping it to Australia ourselves -- USPS, UPS, Fed Ex or DHL -- would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $700, which obviously will not do.

All seemed bleak until Levi mentioned www.MyUS.com, in Sarasota, Fla., apparently an alternative used by a lot of people Down Under. Here's how it works: For $10, Levi can set up a U.S. address, which is where I ship the guitar he's bought on Amazon.

Veteran digger that I am, this is what I learned from Hiram Pedraza, an account rep for MyUs. The company ships 12,000 to 15,000 parcels a day. Between 30 and 35 percent of their business via  Amazon sales. Their biggest markets are the United Kingdom and Australia, where guitars apparently cost three times what they do here.

I thought this would be of interest to anyone with an interest in e-commerce. Here's a useful link if you want to know more: www.myus.com/en/how-it-works/