By Jane Han
NEW YORK — America’s biggest sale weekend is here. Everything from Ugg boots, Coach satchels and iPod Touches to Bose speakers are on sale with the steepest discounts of the year — and you’re invited to shop.
This mega shopping season in the United States has long drawn envy from shopping pros overseas, so it’s good news that taking part in the action just got easier.
Major department store chains like Nordstrom, Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue have just introduced international shipping for their online customers this year. Plus, individual brands including Gap and Banana Republic have also launched shipping services for customers abroad.
This means shoppers in Korea can take full advantage of the deep discounts offered throughout “Black Friday” weekend and the following “Cyber Monday.”
Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving and also America’s busiest shopping day where retailers lure bargain hunters with the year’s best deals. Just after the crazy shopping weekend comes Cyber Monday, the online equivalent of Black Friday.
More than 210 million shoppers visited stores and websites over the much-awaited November weekend last year, according to a survey by National Retail Federation.
So what kind of deals are we talking about?
Select Ugg boots are half-off for $80 to $120, Beats by Dr. Dre headphones are marked down to $150, and 7 For All Mankind jeans are on sale at 40 to 60 percent off.
Retailers are putting out deals on just about everything and experts say stores are bowing to buyers amid a weak economy and high unemployment rate.
“If you love shopping and saving money, now is really the time to shop,” says Robert Irwin, analyst at Consumer Insight, an international marketing consultancy. “It’s a big benefit for international shoppers that American retailers are rolling out new shipping services.”
Some buyers are wary about high delivery costs, but marketers say the deep discounts make up for the shipping charges.
“It depends on each product, so it is up to consumers to do the math and decide whether it’s a win or lose,” says Irwin.
More customized services are offered by package forwarding companies such as US Unlocked and MyUS, which receive orders for shoppers, consolidate multiple shipments and mail them out to overseas addresses.
Numerous so-called purchase agent companies, such as WizWid, BidBuy Plein, in Korea offer similar services for customers who have their sights set overseas.
“It’s borderless shopping. As long as consumers are willing to spend, retailers will help them spend as much as they can,” says Irwin.