Why don't vendors ship APO/FPO/DPO?
How an online vendors business model affects you
In a surprising way, an interesting "Catch-22" situation exists for APO/FPO/DPO address holders in the online shopping realm. Here's how. In order to compete successfully, both with other online merchants as well as real "brick and mortar" stores, and continue to offer their customers the lowest (delivered) prices for its merchandise, many online merchants have built their business models on discounted contract rates with commercial parcel/package carriers, like UPS or FedEx. The U.S. Postal Service cannot offer these same discounts, so they rarely get the business of many online merchants. So, by using these discounted contract shipping rates, many online retailers are able to pass these savings onto their customers. This often has resulted in reducing the cost of shipping to zero or at least a fixed (low) price for each package shipped, regardless of contents, weight or destination address.
To accomplish this, merchants arrange an exclusive arrangement with one carrier. This means that in order for a merchant to ship to your APO/FPO/DPO, they have to remove the package from their normal shipping process with their exclusive carrier, have someone take it to the Post Office and mail it. Regardless of the number of APO/FPO customers out there, this labor-intensive exception is not profitable. Typically, a merchant will pass on an APO/FPO sale before it will undertake this type of processing. Meaning, you can't buy from them. Sometimes, even if a merchant does offer to mail packages to your APO/FPO, they quite often charge a premium to do so, since they know how expensive it is to handle packages bound for APO/FPO/DPO addresses.
If not using an exclusive carrier, many merchants lower shipping costs by using a minimum of carriers. Here's how - Picture a warehouse with a conveyor belt going into a UPS trailer, another one going into a FedEx trailer, and a third going into a U.S. Postal Service trailer. Each of these belts requires space, electricity, labor, maintenance and other overhead costs. Eliminating even one of these shipping "systems" can result in significant savings for the merchant. By eliminating two of the three, you can see what type of savings they can experience. The idea being then, that the merchant passes these savings along to the customer, in the form of lower cost items and/or reduced shipping fees. This keeps the merchant competitive in the market place and ensures customer satisfaction.
So it's probably in the best interest of the merchant to use as few carriers as possible while still servicing their customers. And from the merchant's perspective, removing the U.S. Postal Service from an operation only means the loss of a (perceived) few APO/FPO/DPO customers. But what this means from an APO/FPO/DPO holder's perspective is more dramatic.
For you, it means the lost opportunity of experiencing the many benefits of purchasing products from that merchant. It means reduced choices, potentially higher (delivered) costs, long searches for merchants who service APO/FPO/DPO addresses directly, longer searches to find the lowest cost items from this list of merchants and worst of all -- knowing that if it wasn't for your APO/FPO/DPO address, online shopping would be so much more enjoyable.
ShipitAPO has created a seamless interface between the U.S. Postal Service and commercial parcel/package carriers for packages ultimately destined for APO/FPO/DPO addresses. By simply using their ShipitAPO address as a shipping or "Ship To" address, APO/FPO/DPO address holders can now have all the benefits of an online merchant's business model by enjoying low prices AND often free shipping to their ShipitAPO address. Once we receive the package, we simply mail it to the APO/FPO/DPO address holder at the lowest Priority Mail® rate possible.
It's that simple. You no longer have to feel like a second-class citizen when shopping online. ShipitAPO gets you into the best online shopping action and keeps you there.
Shop anywhere, ship it APO.