Bonjour! If we’re being honest, international shipping is something that does take extra work and requires additional forms and shipping guidelines. However, if you aren’t offering international shipping, you’re missing out on an entirely new group of customers. And that’s a big deal. All it takes to offer international shipping is an understanding of the necessary paperwork, shipping restrictions, and international carrier services.
Table of Contents
- How do I know international shipping is right for my business?
- What are the big things I should remember when shipping internationally?
- How does ShippingEasy help with my international shipping?
How do I know international shipping is right for my business?
We’ve already mentioned the biggest benefit of international shipping ⸺ you just opened up a new sales channel! We understand there’s more work in international shipping, so how do you know if international shipping is right for your business? Tools like Google Analytics can help you identify which international customers are visiting your store’s site the most and see if there’s an opportunity for your store to start shipping internationally. Think about how excited those international visitors to your site will be when they click on your store and finally see the option to buy products.
Say au revoir to higher shipping costs and sign up for a 30-day free trial with ShippingEasy today!
What are the big things I should remember when shipping internationally?
Great question! Three of the biggest things to remember when you’re shipping internationally are available carrier services, the taxes and duties that might apply to your orders, and to pay attention to certain carrier restrictions for what can be shipped internationally. Don’t worry, we’re going to break down each of these three into a little bit more detail, so you’ll be a world-renowned shipper in no time.
USPS international services
First-Class Mail International or First-Class Package International Service have tracking limitations or exceptions, and adding extra insurance provides a great backup option. This way, if anything happens to your shipment in transit, you have an added layer of protection. To help you choose the best international USPS service option for your package, we’ve included some of the most commonly used international services from USPS below.
UPS® international services
When it comes to international shipping, UPS gives you:
- A large portfolio of international services for U.S. exports.
- The only ground small package service option from the U.S. to Mexico from a major U.S. integrated carrier.
- Excellent time in transit compared to other carriers for air services to major markets across the globe.
- Up to 82% off UPS international services on eligible packages*
*Discounts off UPS daily rates. Rates are limited to shipping from the U.S. only. Rates and any applicable discounts are subject to change at any time without notice.
Additionally, UPS currently offers the following services for international shipping:
- UPS Worldwide Express® – Time-definite service to 140 countries and territories
- UPS Worldwide Express Plus® – Time-definite delivery to 140 countries and territories with morning delivery
- UPS Worldwide Saver® – Day-definite delivery by the end of the business.
- Next business day delivery by the end of day to Canada
- Second business day delivery by end of day to Mexico and major metropolitan areas worldwide
- UPS Worldwide Expedited® – Day-definite expedited delivery to over 220 countries and territories
- UPS® Standard to Canada- Economical standard ground delivery to Canada
- UPS® Standard to Mexico- Fast, reliable service for less urgent shipments to Mexico
When you ship UPS on ShippingEasy, you’re also eligible for UPS Paperless™ Invoice, meaning you won’t need to print customs forms with orders. This makes international shipping faster, simpler, and safer! Pretty cool, right?
If your business is looking to expand to international markets, GlobalPost is designed to make international shipping more efficient. GlobalPost partners with major carriers to get your shipments to their international destinations with fewer interruptions. Other benefits of GlobalPost include:
- No printed customs forms
- Free phone and email support
- Free HS tariff code fulfillment service
GlobalPost’s service options, GlobalPost International Economy and GlobalPost International Standard, provide you with affordable international shipping options. We’ve broken down the features of each service, so you can pick which service is best for your international shipping needs. To enable GlobalPost on your ShippingEasy account, reach out to our award-winning support team.
|GlobalPost International Economy||GlobalPost International Standard|
|Weight Limit Per Package||4.4 lbs.||Up to 70 lbs.|
|Package Types||Flats up to 16oz., Packages up to 4.4 lbs.||Packages up to 70 lbs.|
|Transit||10-14 days||8-12 days|
|Max Values of Goods||$400||Varies by country|
|Free Coverage||Not included||Up to $100 in loss or damages, plus shipping cost|
|Duties & Taxes||Paid by buyer||Paid by buyer|
Taxes and duties
The taxes and duties, as well as how they’re collected, may vary depending on where your package is headed. For example, say you’re shipping a package to one of your Canadian customers. If the items in this order are valued at over CAN$20 ($20 in Canadian dollars), your order is subject to duty and tax fees, including a $9.95 handling fee.*
Other things to note are VAT and IOSS. VAT, or Value Added Tax, is an added tax given to your product(s) whenever value is given to the item. The VAT amount is determined by the cost of the item, minus the cost of any materials in the product that have already been taxed. Any items sent to the UK or the EU are subject to VAT, and unlike the Canadian duties and taxes, there’s no minimum amount for VAT to be applied.
IOSS, or Import One-Stop-Shop, enables you to pay VAT fees instead of having your customers pay them as soon as imported into the UK or the EU. It’s a number given to your business by your marketplace or store of choice, and this number corresponds directly to your business. You can also use the IOSS to cover VAT fees for consignments of up to €150. If you chose not to use your IOSS number on your shipments, your customers will have to pay any VAT when their shipment arrives. Here are a few other things to keep in mind with VAT and IOSS:
- You’ll need to reach out to your marketplace directly for your IOSS number
- The rate of VAT for EU shipments will depend on which EU country you’re shipping to
- The standard rate of VAT for UK shipments is 20%, but this number will vary depending on how much your product costs
*Some items will be given tax and duties, regardless of value, and they include books, periodicals, and magazines. For more information, we recommend reaching out to your carrier directly or contacting the Canada Border Services Agency.
For more information on VAT and IOSS, check out our Shipping 301 blog.
Beginning March 1, 2023, all shipments going to or passing through the EU in transit need to include Harmonized or HS codes on customs forms. HS codes are six-digit codes that categorize a product or products. HS codes are universally recognized, so they help to bypass language barriers and help move your shipment through customs without hiccups. Each set of numbers within an HS code represents the type of product being shipped as well as its features.
As we mentioned earlier, GlobalPost also provides merchants with free tools to take the guesswork out of HS codes. These tools include their On Demand HS Classification Tool for up to five daily searches and the Free HS Code Fulfillment Service that assigns the right HS code to shipments based on the information given. For more information on HS codes, check out the infographic from GlobalPost below!
Checking carrier restrictions
This one is easier than it sounds! Most carriers have sections on their website devoted to restricted items by country. We’ve made a cheat sheet for you below, but if you have any additional questions, we recommend reaching out to USPS, UPS, or FedEx directly.
- USPS international shipping restrictions
- UPS international shipping restrictions
- FedEx international shipping restrictions
How does ShippingEasy help with my international shipping?
We might be a little biased, but this is our favorite question. ShippingEasy gives our users the option to save information for customs forms and tax ID numbers like your VAT and IOSS numbers. Filling out customs forms can be really tedious, so auto-populating information for your commonly placed orders and having your tax ID numbers in a handy drop-down menu will save you the hassle of having to manually enter all of this information with each and every new order. Plus, your customs form information can always be updated or overwritten as needed.
International shipping doesn’t have to leave you searching the globe for answers. All it really takes is researching whether or not your business has the opportunity for international shipping and then understanding the services, taxes and duties, and restrictions surrounding it. Also, ShippingEasy helps users with saved customs form information and tax ID numbers, so you don’t have to scramble every single time you send out an international order. Now, it’s time to say ciao to any lasting fears you may have about international shipping and get those new customers.