American discount department store Target has quietly begun accepting online orders from abroad and shipping them internationally which is bound to make many expats from the United States quite happy. After all, no stores here in Europe are really equivalent in terms of the assortment + price + fashion equation. In Holland, the closest chain would be Hema and yet there’s still a wide gap between the two. In the UK, it might be BHS (British Home Store) and that gap is even wider.
Target has partnered with Borderfree, the international shipping specialist firm, for the capability to display product prices in the local currency. Order checkout is also seamlessly handled by Borderfree, which now has years of experience assisting U.S. retailers with the process. The Borderfree system is quickly able to determine whether a product will be subject to customs duty when it arrives in the destination country, and if so, what the specific duty rate is. It then determines the shipping charge. The last factor to be added is the V.A.T. tax, which will be at the rate you would pay for that item when buying it in a store in that country. [Side Note: whenever possible, take advantage of shipping promotions (for example, a store may offer a flat shipping shipping cost of €10 for all orders over €150). The reason for this (besides the overtly obvious lower cost is better) is that VAT is applied to the total value of the order, which equals: cost of the items + shipping cost + insurance. A larger initial shipping cost has a knockon effect on the final total cost].
After the order has been paid for, the retailer will pack and send it. Once it has shipped, Borderfree prepays the customs duty and VAT tax, so that when the package arrives at your door, there is no additional payment required.
Many other American retailers have this same established partnership with Borderfree to process order payment for international customers; among them are Saks Fifth Avenue, , , Bloomingdales, and Sears. The benefit to all these retailers is that it allows them to expand into international markets without the risky investment of having to open brick-and-mortar stores. Target probably wishes it had taken this route first rather than the multi-billion dollar fiasco it cost them to open 130 stores in Canada, just to turn around less than 2 years later and close them all.