1. We all think that the low US$ FX rate makes US manufactured goods cheaper. Wishful thinking. The Apple pricing strategy is well known: rates are the same in Euros and US dollars. Which means that Europeans pay a premium of nearly 35%. Still fair deal compared to the Dell pricing strategy. Dell charges nominally more in Euros than US dollars. Utmost irritating...

    Example: a Dell 2407WFP screen costs 766,73 EU in Belgium and 699 US$ in the US. This means that exactly the same screen costs 475,98 EU in the US, nearly 300 EU less expensive.
    Imagine how happy I was when I discovered Borderlinx in the bthere inflight magazine while flying to Budapest. José Zurstrassen, one of the Belgian entrepeneurs I have in my 10-most-respected list, is an investor in this brainchild of Hans Wackwitz. Hans was the man who drove the investment of Baripas in Interxion back in 1999...

    The concept of Borderlinx is simple. You pay 5 EU and you get an official address in the US. Not PO Box, but a real address. You start shopping a-gogo in the US and have your goods delivered to your US address. Borderlinx keeps all your goods during 30 days and you decide when you have them shipped to Belgium. To the shops you only pay local shipping fees and Borderlinx will ship all your goods together in one shipment at the best rates. Of course you will pay customs when the goods arrive in Belgium. But even then you are making a very fine deal. This weekend I've been shopping at Design within Reach and Etsy. On Etsy we bought goods from bossybootsdesign, orchardstreetgoods, Aptrick, Morgan Creatures, Vital Industries, Anna Laura and Apak Shop Shopping on Etsy is a sheer delight. The contact with the buyers is absolute heartwarming. More on Etsy in another post. And I did buy 3 of those Dell screens, in the US. I'll have Borderlinx send the goods from Etsy and Design within Reach in one shipment and a second shipment with the 3 Dell screens.

    Everything is on it's way to our US address. Once all the goods arrive here in Belgium I'll write a detailed summary of our first experience with Borderlinx and of course the detailed financials. For now only one disadvantage: Some shops (1 out of 10) doesn't allow you to ship goods to a different address than the billing address of your credit card. A solution is to have a US, Brazilian or South African credit card. But that would take me to another (long post). But as I said, this isn't a real problem. In those 10% cases paying through Paypal is in most cases already a quick solution. Once we did the Borderlinx to Europe experience; we'll also do trials to South Africa and Brazil. With the low South African Rand this can prove to be less interesting, but in Brazil the experiment will be the more interesting.


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