Yesterday Bongo International released their Bongo Checkout Extension for Magento. If you don't know Bongo their services make it easy for US-based retailers to ship consumer goods - internationally. Basically, when you sign up with Bongo you get a US-based mailing address where you ship all your international orders. That's right you ship your international pages domestically. Bongo takes the packages it receives and ships them to their international destination, handling all the tax, tariffs, paperwork and shipping for you. The kicker is they do not charge you anything "extra" for this service other than the 3% credit card charge on the international order. The shipping fees and any other charges are calculated by Bongo, using business rules created by the store, and those charges are passed directly to the consumer.
While Modern Retail has not yet implemented the new Bongo Checkout Extension for Magento, we did sit down with Vice President of Sales to get the lowdown on this new extension and here's how it works:
- The extension automatically sends a feed of your entire catalog to Bongo every night. Bongo needs this product information in order to make decisions when shipping products internationally.
- You'll need to transfer the consumer to Bongo's checkout whenever they are placing an international order from your website. Sounds like Bongo has already done this for you if you're using Magento native checkout. Modern Retail has standardized on OneStepCheckout so we'll need to modify our code to handle this new workflow.
- Bongo has the ability to "skin" their checkout pages to look like your website, allowing you to upload your store's logo, change colors, etc. However, it is there checkout system so there will be some noticeable differences.
- Bongo Checkout seems to do a nice job of automatically transforming what the consumer sees to match their region. This includes translating the site into their native language, showing localized pricing and shipping costs, and offering payment methods that are indicative of their country or region. This last feature is useful because not all areas of the world use credit cards as much as the United States and instead prefer to pay for their goods with an automatic debit from their bank account.
- Since payments are being processed by Bongo, the consumer will see Bongo's name on their credit card or bank statement instead of your store's name. However, very soon they plan on rolling out an enhancement that will show both names.
- Once the consumer finishes placing their order, Bongo Checkout will then automatically record the order in Magento. The Billing Address on this order will be the consumer's international billing address, while the Shipping Address will be your private PO Box address at Bongo International. Storing the consumer's information in Magento is nice because it allows you to market to them however you see fit.
- As a retailer you ship this order like any other order directly within Magento or using a 3rd party service like ShipStation or ShipWorks. We have a preference based on need so please ask!
- Bongo automatically transfer funds for these international orders using ACH transfers into your store's bank account.
- While there are very few international returns, you may still encounter some and will work directly with Bongo's customer support to facilitate the return.
Getting started with Bongo seems pretty easy as well. There are no setup fees and no additional costs or processing fees as long as you sign a 3 year agreement.
Date Created: 01/24/14