Getting goods from your warehouse to your customers is an integral part of your eCommerce business. But what if your customers aren’t in the USA? While you’ll already know a lot about national logistics, shipping carriers, and fast shipping programs, you might not know where to start when it comes to international carrier options.
To help, we’ve gathered a few international carrier options for eCommerce sellers in the USA, alongside the top tips for finding the best international carrier for your business.
The importance of finding the right international carrier
Taking your eCommerce store global is a big step, involving plenty of decisions, hurdles, and risks – one of the biggest being shipping.
Finding the right international carrier for your online business is crucial because it affects:
- Shipping speed – the fast shipping services that you can offer international customers, which are competitive against those provided by other national and international sellers.
- Quality of service – the guarantee that customers will receive items on time and undamaged, and the speed of which any problems are solved.
- Affordability – how much profit you can make on items shipped internationally within a reasonable timeframe.
But how do you find an international carrier that you can trust with speed, service, and affordability?
What to look for in an international carrier
There are a few essential features that you should look out for when choosing an international carrier for your eCommerce business.
International shipping is a whole different area of expertise than that of national shipping. Carriers must understand and comply with country-specific rules and regulations. Therefore you must choose a carrier experienced at delivering online orders internationally and, preferentially, experienced with the type, size, and volume of products you sell.
When researching global carriers, understanding their fee structure is a must. Specially, you want to understand how much the service you want to offer costs, including any extra fees or add ons. It’s also useful to work with a carrier who can help you to accurately calculate additional charges such as duties, fees, and taxes.
Your products may have to cross borders, seas, mountains, and even desserts to reach their forever home, therefore ensuring that your carrier offers adequate protection against damage, loss, and lateness is critical.
When more than half of shoppers actively track their national online orders, you can bet that they’re tracking the status of their international orders. Therefore, a carrier who offers timely and accurate tracking options is essential for your customers’ happiness and your peace of mind.
Now is the best time to consider whether you want to offer your international customers a returns service. If you do, then you need to ensure that your carrier offers this service too.
International carrier options for eCommerce sellers
To help you narrow down your choice of international shipping providers, let’s look at three common choices for eCommerce sellers.
The United States Postal Service is a public carrier that delivers your international shipments to a public carrier in the destination country, for example, the Canada Post or Royal Mail. Using their online service, you can deliver items to more than 190 countries using one of the following options:
- Global Express Guaranteed – deliveries within 1-3 business days
- Priority Mail Express International – deliveries within 3-5 business days
- Priority Mail International – delivery within 6-10 business days
- First-Class Package International Service
The main advantage of using public carriers is cost. Some shipping expenses are subsidized by the government, meaning that you can send items from as little as $10.50. However, it’s important to note that the involvement of multiple carriers means that unless you’re paying for the most expensive service, your items will not qualify for fast shipping programs or status.
UPS is another experienced international carrier, delivering to more than 220 countries and territories. With 17 different services to choose from, UPS offers eCommerce businesses a huge variety of options to suit any needs.
Some of the different benefits offered include return options, online tracking, Saturday delivery, customs clearance, and same-day shipping.
DHL specializes in international logistics, meaning that you’ll be in good hands when it comes to shipping globally. Its cross-border services cover more than 220 countries and territories, and with three simple options , it’s easy to get started.
All of DHL’s international services come with end-to-end tracking, and you can deliver items within 3-10 days, depending on the service chosen. Other benefits include returns management, pick-up options, Saturday delivery, and included shipment protection of $100.
Before taking the jump and selecting your carrier, have you considered the alternatives available?
If you’re an Amazon seller, you can use the FBA Export service to sell and send your products to customers across the world. The main benefit of using this service is that it comes at no extra cost to you – allowing you to expand your customer base and Amazon stores affordably.
However, it’s important to calculate whether the savings made outweigh the additional costs of selling on FBA, such as multi-channel fulfillment and long-term storage fees.
By using a freight forwarder, someone else is responsible for getting products from your warehouse to your customers in the most economical and reliable way possible.
This might include the use of different carriers, shipping methods, and journeys – something that would be difficult to plan yourself.
While the initial cost can sound more expensive than a sole carrier, the outputs of speed, reliability, and time saved may be worth more.
Further reading: Freight forwarding and how to master it
From the USA, with love
Shipping items internationally opens up your eCommerce business to a world of opportunity. By following these top tips and insights, you can offer the same outstanding shipping services to customers wherever they live.