Assisted Purchase Service – Definition of the Term


Assisted purchase is easily defined by the term’s two words, assisted, meaning aided by another and purchase, meaning to buy. Together, these words identify the term’s definition: to buy with the aid of another.

As a verb, the term refers to the act of assisting someone to buy something; and as a gerund, the term refers to a service that assists customers in buying the items they want. The latter will be our focus, as this article seeks to define the service, who offers it, who its customers are, why and how it is used.

First of all, assisted purchased is confirmed to be a service term, with the purpose of that service being to aid customers in buying the items they want. That sounds like a service that could be valuable to its customers, but who are its customers?

Assisted purchase customers are those who want and need both the assisted part and the purchase part, because they can’t do it themselves. “Why not?” you might ask, so let’s take a look at some possible scenarios. Most assisted purchase customers are those living outside the United States, yet who want to buy American goods. One scenario is that of living in another country. Let’s say you live in Russia, but want to buy several items from a major US auction site online; however, the payment medium for that site only accepts US credit cards. Another scenario is you live in Canada and have found the cutest little boots online but when you try to use your credit card, the US company’s POS system does not accept it. A third scenario is that you live in Hong Kong and want to buy an Xbox game system bad; you have plenty of cash but no bank account. Without assisted purchase, living outside the United States and wanting American items might make you feel like a kid looking inside a candy store window.

Now that we know who the majority of assisted purchase customers are, let’s proceed in discussing why and how the service is used. First off, why is this service used. We already know that it is used to assist customers in buying, but why? The main reason why focuses on disadvantage. Customers are generally at a logistical disadvantage, meaning their location is the problem; such as living outside the US. Another disadvantage is that of not having access to a specific designated payment medium, such as not having a credit card, US credit card or account. Yet one more disadvantage would be that of using an incompatible financial medium; such as having an account at non-international bank, having cash but not a credit card or having a debit card rather than a credit card.

How assisted purchase works is fairly straight forward. The customer finds a company that offers this service: US mail forwarding companies are most likely, as it complements their parcel consolidation and forwarding services. Next, the customer tells the company what he or she wants to buy and how much it costs. Usually, the company will want the URL of the item if being sold online. That way, the company knows the exact model or type item the customer wants. Afterwards, the company provides the customer with an invoice that includes its fees and the cost of the item(s) to be purchased, along with any shipping or taxes charged. Finally, the customer wires the monies to the company and the items are purchased.


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