The package consolidation process is relatively easy and self-explanatory, but since the opportunity arose, I thought I might as well do a short tutorial.
In order to use the package consolidation service, you need all the packages that you want to be consolidated to have arrived at your address. In my case, I'm consolidating two packages.
My "my page" shows that there are two packages pending for international shipment.
Note that both packages have a green "Available for package consolidation" indicator in the top right.
After you have reviewed your package information and acknowledge that the packages you want consolidated are listed there as Pending, go to the top of the ("List of Pending Items") page and click on the banner to apply for consolidation. They also provide an easy link if you want more information about the service before you move forward.
Check the packages that you would like to be consolidated and then click the button at the bottom to proceed.
You will be shown this "equation" with the sum of your packages (1 + 2) being the new consolidated package (3). They will calculate the estimated usage fee based on the weight of the packages to be consolidated + the correlating service fee + the consolidation fee of 500yen. This fee is only an estimate because they will not know the final weight of the package until they actually consolidate the items and weight them with the packing materials. If you agree, click the orange button to finalize your decision to consolidate your packages.
Similarly to Tenso's "Next Shipping Time" which you use for information about when your package will be shipped when just using the forwarding service, there is a separate "Next Package Consolidation Time" below that which will tell you when your package consolidation request will be processed.
If you go back to your "My Page", there will only be one pending item and the status should read as "Consolidating". You can change any information here as necessary as you would for a regular package.
(Note that this package is listed as "Unavailable for package consolidation" in the top right as you cannot further consolidate orders with these.)
After one business day, I received an email from Tenso letting me know that the package consolidation has been completed.
I went to my My Page and clicked on the International Shipments button to see the details for my consolidated package. The status has changed from "Consolidating" the day before to "Pending (Consolidated)". My actual usage fee for this package is 8180yen (700yen less than the estimate, yay). The rest of the process is the same as for your average package.
Pay using your method of choice. (For me it's PayPal.)
Confirm the information before completing the transaction.
Tenso accepts your payment, and you're done!
The status of your package should change to "Paid (Processing Shipment)".
(Then subsequently it will change to "Paid" and your EMS tracking number when it is shipped.)
PRICE - Consolidating your packages is usually cheaper than shipping them separately. In my case I would have paid 2890yen to ship Package 1 and 6380yen to ship Package 2 = 9270yen to ship both separately. With the package consolidation, I am paying 8180yen. Therefore, by consolidating the packages, I saved 1090yen in shipping costs.
1 PACKAGE - All your items will be in one package so all your items will arrive together. You only have to track and worry about one versus 2 or more packages that could be anywhere at any time.
TIME -You have to wait an extra day for the package consolidation (this only makes sense, but if you're impatient or need your items by a certain date, it does slow down the process).
CUSTOMS - Although this is not Tenso's fault, larger orders usually attract the attention of customs officials more than your smaller, individual orders would. This is not an issue for everyone, but if you know your local customs office is very picky especially with the size of certain packages, you may want to ship separately because the money you're saving by consolidating will probably not exceed what you'd pay in customs fees. The last time I consolidated packages, I saved around $15 but paid $50 in customs fees :|
RESTRICTIONS - Tenso actually has some pretty strict rules about their package consolidation service. You can't add to your package once you apply and you also cannot cancel the consolidation once you start the process. For example, if you find that after you consolidate, for some reason, your total is more than what you would have paid for shipping two separate packages, you cannot cancel the consolidation and have them ship separately. You are committed to consolidating them once you apply for it.
It seems like the "Cons" section is quite long compared to the "Pros", but ultimately, it really comes down to price for me because I want to ship as cheaply as possible (without sacrificing the safety of my items). If you know you don't usually have a problem with customs, that's probably not a huge concern for you (although tbh it should be for me considering the track record I have with them wtf).
In this case, I'm consolidating items from the same webshop, but of course, you can consolidate items and packages from anywhere that are shipped to Tenso.
For more information, check out Tenso's Package Consolidation Service guide and the terms and conditions.