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Proxy vs Forwarding Experience (ZenMarket vs BiJ)Proxy vs Forwarding Experience (ZenMarket vs BiJ)

freshringofreshringo1 år sedanDiary
Hi, MFC! I recently made 2 orders from suruga-ya, one through a proxy (ZenMarket) and one through a forwarding service (Big in Japan). I thought I'd document my experience and a bit of information about the process - hopefully it will be useful for others in the future!

I chose to use ZenMarket as my proxy based off of good reviews, pricing, and their easy to understand process. I won't go into detail about how to use their services since I think it is explained very clearly on their site and FAQs.

+ Very easy to understand and navigate their site.
+ No hidden charges.
+ Customer support responded in a timely manner and spoke fluent English.
+ Unused funds are easily withdrawn with no loss if you use PayPal.
+ Cheap service fee (¥300 per item)!
+ Consolidation and repackaging is free! They have a shipping calculator that is very handy and accurate to what I was quoted later on.
+ Cheap DHL shipping available. My order's shipping cost would have been nearly doubled if I used SAL or EMS.
+ You can change your shipping method easily after it has been received (although there is an extra fee to move items between packages).

- I ordered outside of regular Japanese working hours so it took a while to purchase the item. (This is true of proxy services in general.)
- ¥300 per item, so if you are ordering multiple items from the same store, you may be better off with a proxy that charges per store instead of per item.
- Some mixed reviews about the cheaper DHL shipping online. My package arrived perfectly fine but it sounds like once the package arrives in your country, it is not actually DHL who handles the delivery, but a partner service. For me, it was USPS.
- Packaging in the box was just okay. My packages from suruga-ya were put in a large Uniqlo box with a layer of bubble wrap on the bottom and a piece of cardboard on top and that was it. When I got the box, it was pretty beat up from the journey, but nothing inside was damaged.

Merchandise Total: ¥41,000 (2 figures, 2.3kg)
Total Fees: ¥300 (¥300 credit from sign-up bonus)
Shipping Cost: ¥3,053 (DHL Direct Parcel)
Proxy Cost: ¥3,353


Because ZM was unavailable during New Years, I used Big In Japan's forwarding services for a limited time suruga-ya sale. I was a bit nervous ordering this way but it was very easy once I figured it out. I chose BiJ due to good reviews but I wasn't very picky and didn't do much research since I was in a hurry to get my order in before time ran out!

+ No need to wait for proxy to make a purchase for you - very important for limited sales!
+ More control/information about your item. When ordering through ZM, I had no idea if the seller delayed the shipping or the status of the shipment domestically. Through forwarding, you can track how your item is doing the whole way through.
+ Very fast shipment after receiving the item! I got a tracking number minutes after sending my payment and the item was quickly put out for delivery. Of course, since it was SAL, it still took a while to get to me, but that's not something BiJ can control.

- Most likely will require heavy use of Google Translate/guides online to place the order and enter information correctly. Luckily, I am able to read some Japanese, which made my ordering easier. But for those who can't, it can be nerve-wracking to place an order in an unfamiliar language!
- Personally I wasn't a fan of BiJ's website compared to ZM. It took me a lot more reading to understand the process vs simple diagrams/pictures on ZM.
- If your selected method is unavailable, you must either send with a more expensive option or pay for repackaging into smaller shipments. So it can be a bit of a gamble to select the cheapest method! (Thanks NemsEngelAceSasu for the correction~)
- For potential issues, you will have to deal with the seller directly.

Merchandise Total: ¥14,900 (1 figure, 1.1kg)
Total Fees: ¥500
Shipping Cost: ¥2,715 (Registered SAL)
Forwarding Cost: ¥3,215


As you can see from the cost comparisons, using a proxy and forwarding cost me roughly the same amount. However, my order through ZM weighed twice as much as my order through BiJ. Because of ZM's very cheap DHL shipping, the price was still very cheap to ship them. Even if the price had been SAL instead of DHL, ZM would have been comparable to BiJ anyway since the shipping cost would have approximately doubled.

I would recommend ZM as a proxy since their prices and service were wonderful. The biggest issue of course is that by nature of being a proxy, there can be a delay between ordering the item through proxy and the order actually being placed. So for purchases where time is of the essence (such as time sales on suruga-ya!), I would recommend using a forwarding service like BiJ.

Overall this was a great experience and opened a lot of shopping options for me. I previously stuck to sites like AmiAmi and Mandarake for pre-owned items, but I am now starting to browse a lot more on suruga-ya. I've found some great deals there! Of course, it does require some understanding of Japanese or use of Google Translate to find the items I'm looking for, but I don't mind. ^^
2,109 visningar • 17 kommentarer


Thank you for this in-depth review and for giving our proxy service a go. We are always looking for ways to improve and will take all your points into consideration. Thank you very much.
2 månader sedan
Thanks for this post, my personal proxy is kinda steep so I'll look into ZM.
1 år sedan
ney (1 år sedan) #30901695

Yes, but this was meant to be a comparison of the buying methods forwarding vs proxying (hence the title) rather than a review of the two stores. Although I will admit I can see how it can be seen as a store review from the first two sections.

By all means, remove the post if you desire. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ No skin off my back.
1 år sedan
Interesting but did you read the guideline before making your review ?
Shop questions/rants/reviews as well as shop related shipping and customs items are not permitted.
1 år sedan
NemsEngelAceSasu (1 år sedan) #30901631

Oh LOL perfect, I didn't even notice that. XD Thanks for your guide!
1 år sedan
freshringo (1 år sedan) #30901571NemsEngelAceSasu (1 år sedan) #30901555
Hmm, I'll make an edit to that line. I didn't personally have an issue with my order not being SAL-able, but I got that information from this popular guide for using suruga-ya and BiJ -> BLOG #16043
Re-reading it, I think I might have misunderstood the information about the other person's experience. Thanks for the correction!

Yeah I wrote that guide lol

I've ordered from them since a countless times. I should probably update my guide with that experience.
1 år sedan
Panda_Chan Impey's Princess
Im using FromJapan. Its cheap and nice for big orders~
1 år sedan
NemsEngelAceSasu (1 år sedan) #30901555

Hmm, I'll make an edit to that line. I didn't personally have an issue with my order not being SAL-able, but I got that information from this popular guide for using suruga-ya and BiJ -> BLOG #16043

Re-reading it, I think I might have misunderstood the information about the other person's experience. Thanks for the correction!
1 år sedan
"- You cannot change your shipping method after they receive the package. If your selected method is unavailable, I think they default to EMS. So it can be a bit of a gamble to select the cheapest method!"

That's incorrect though. I've orderd a lot with BIJ, and when i.e. the package is to big for SAL they'll ask you if they should repack it into 2 SAL or sent as SAL Parcel.
1 år sedan
I was looking into proxy services the other day. Will look into ZenMarket.
1 år sedan
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