An Post has been having a hard time of it lately, running at a loss of almost €16m last year. Rather than bury their head in the sand, led by Chief Executive David McRedmond, An Post are changing how they do things, mainly to suit the new breed of online shopper. Their latest innovation is massive, as their virtual address service, AddressPal, now lets you get packages shipped to Ireland from the US.
What is AddressPal?
We’re massive fans of virtual address services. It al kicked off with Parcel Motel a few years back, which gave you a UK address. You could order items from Amazon.co.uk to this address and then Parcel Motel would ship it to Ireland for you. These virtual address services stoked the fires underneath Irish shoppers an in 2015, 86% of Ireland’s online shoppers made an international purchase.
AddressPal, launched in 2016, is An Post’s answer to Parcel Motel. At launch, it was just another service offering virtual UK addresses, but now they’ve added virtual US addresses.
— Goos3D (@Goos3D_IE) December 14, 2016
This means you can order from retailers in the US who charge a fortune for international shipping or who don’t offer it at all. Get your credit cards out.
How does a virtual US address work?
Shipping a package to Ireland from the US is about to get remarkably easy thanks to AddressPal. Once you sign into your account with An Post, you’ll be able to upgrade to include US shipping. That means along side your virtual UK address, you’ll now have a virtual US address:
Unlike your virtual UK address, you won’t be able to pick up packages from the US at the post office, instead they’ll be delivered directly to you.
Until now, Irish shoppers generally depended on travelling to the US themselves and stuffing an empty suitcase with as much Abercrombie stuff as possible. Alternatively, there were costly options like MYUS and Border Linx, who generally charge over €30 a pop to ship items to Ireland. With AddressPal’s virtual US address, you can now get items up to 2kgs sent to Ireland for €15.99.
Why is this so great?
If you’re into your gadgets, this will be music to your ears. Getting the likes of a Google Home to Ireland has been a nighmare until now as Google don’t sell these in Ireland. With services like AddressPal’s virtual US address, that €15.99 saves you so much time and hardship, but also opens up a world of choice. Big companies generally launch items Stateside before anything else so for the more impatient among you, like me, this really is great news.
While Amazon.co.uk is great, AddressPal now opens up the likes of Walmart to Irish shoppers. This means you could now pick get a Google Home delivered to Ireland for about €130. All you’ll pay on top of that is customs charges, but more on that later.
How long does AddressPal take to ship to Ireland?
Once your package lands with AddressPal’s US depot, you’ll get your items within five to six working days. You’ll also be given a tracking number so you can keep an eye on your package’s progress.
Ok, but how does AddressPal manage customs?
First of all, no. This isn’t a way to doge customs charges. Once your package arrives in the AddressPal US depot, they’ll look after all the neccessary paperwork to get your package on it’s way. Once this lands in Ireland, it’ll go through the usual customs checks. We’ve reached out to An Post for clarification on how this payment is taken.
What’s the downside? There’s has to be something, surely?
Of course it’s not all super simple:
Returns could be quite tricky as AddressPal doesn’t cover the cost of these, but do state you can return via your local post offce and pay the fee there.
Then there’s the bigger items. If you’re ordering anything over 2KGs, the price will increase. Here’s the full list of AddressPal pricing:
The service does not include insurance. While An Post state everything is handled securely, this might put some people off buying more expensive items.
Ok, so this isn’t a massive problem, but just to clarify: you can’t buy guns from America now. There’s a list of items you can’t buy from the States, while this includes guns it also includes liquids, so no perfumes. Here’s the full list of restricted items.
An Post is gearing up for a fight
It’s exciting to see these innovations coming from An Post. Started to change things by offering Saturday deliveries. That was a small enough tweak, but AddressPal opening up international shipping to Ireland from the US is a game changer.