Why international shipping is an increasingly important business strategy
Global ecommerce sales are expected to reach $6.4 trillion in 2024. Oberlo
Cross-border shopping is predicted to make up 20% of ecommerce in 2022. Forrester
It's estimated that 57% of consumers in both Western and Eastern Europe and 48% in Asia/Pacific buy from retail websites outside their own country. Digital Commerce 360
Increasing your customer base to a global audience is important, but the complexity of international shipping can be challenging. 40% of U.S. retailers have cited customs duties and local laws and regulations as challenges to selling online internationally Global Commerce 360.
Customs and taxes|
1. Customs duty (import duty): a tariff or tax imposed on goods when transported across international borders.
2. Value-added tax (VAT): a tax charged to consumers when they buy any good or service. VAT taxes the value added to the product at each stage of production, from raw materials to final sale. Each country has its own specific VAT rates, and the rates also depend on the types of goods you sell.
SimplyVAT.com is a Flexport partner that provides support in managing all EU VAT compliance needs. They can help your business reach international markets while keeping on top of international VAT obligations.
Delivery duty unpaid (DDU) vs. Delivery duty paid (DDP)|
1. DDU: The customer will have to settle any charges in order for customs to release the shipment and have it delivered to the customer. Customs will contact the customer once the shipment arrives in the destination country. It is important to make your customers aware ahead of time that they will need to pay this fee. Otherwise, you risk customer frustration when they realize there is an additional cost before receiving their item.
2. DDP: The seller is responsible for paying duties. You as the seller can bake these duties into the cost of the product and directly collect payment for DDP from the customer at checkout. *Note: Products shipping to the European Union through Flexport must be less than 150€.
International shipping transit times|
International shipping times from the U.S. will vary by destination address. Deliver is currently using USPS, DHL, and FedEx for international shipping. For DDP orders, we primarily use DHL Express. DHL Standard for Shopify Markets Pro customers is not yet available.
Canada and Europe: 4-15 business days
Rest of world: 8-15 business days
When shipping internationally, sellers must comply with the carrier regulations and the regulations of the destination country. Flexport does not ship Hazmat items internationally. These items may not be sent from the United States to any country:
Shipping internationally can be expensive. By fulfilling through Flexport, you benefit from cheaper international shipping than you would compared to fulfilling on your own. Flexport gets bulk shipping discounts for both domestic and international deliveries. It is important for merchants to understand the costs associated with shipping their products internationally.
Visit the article on Pricing in the International Shipping section to learn more.
Weight and dimensions|
Products cannot ship internationally if they are any of the following:
Customs complexities leading to returned shipments|
With DDU, customs will contact the buyer to pay duties and tariffs. If the customer is not responsive or refuses to pay the fees, customs will place the shipment on hold and eventually return the shipment back to Flexport. The amount of time customs will hold the package varies by country, but it is often around seven days.
If customs assesses the items and determines that declared weight or dimensions are inaccurate, customs may return the item to Flexport.
Who pays the fees for shipments that are returned from customs?
Note that merchants are responsible for any additional fees that would otherwise have been collected from the package recipient.