PostRope is a crowd-sourced shipping service with the aim of getting goods to you even when online stores won’t cooperate with international deliveries.
“With PostRope, you can put up a listing for an item to get it shipped from anywhere in the world, either from an online or a physical store. You then select the best offer and have it shipped to your doorstep. Our goal is to create a community who can help each other to remove barriers to global shopping, and giving an opportunity to users to either get their items shipped or make some money by shipping the items that others want!”
There are existing commercial services that do this, particularly between the USA and other places; but Melbourne-based PostRope is different in that it is based around a community rather than an individual business: Peer-to-peer shipping.
Of course, it remains to be seen if that is enough of a differentiating factor to make a viable ongoing business. In particular for this to work you have to be able to trust the person doing the shipping for you. In addition, and this is the bit I struggle with, there has to be enough money in it for the shipper to make it worthwhile for them to spend their time getting the item to you.
PostRope is dealing with the trust issue by basing their transactions around PayPal and its buyer-protection. Both sides of the transaction can also leave feedback within PostRope. In terms of how many people will think it viable to get a return on their time for shipping items, I guess time will tell.
In the meantime, PostRope has a beautifully presented website with very clear explanations of what they are doing. If you are interested in sourcing Christmas presents direct form the USA, it’s worth a look.