When you do a quick examination, you'll notice that nearly 90% of ecommerce sales happen outside the United States. The number of international buyers is rapidly expanding to the point that it is becoming unmanageable. But this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Instead, it is excellent news for the ecommerce sector across the globe.
When you work up the bravery to export your things to other nations, one obstacle may stand in your way: shipping. Yes, international shipping is a difficult nut to crack because there are many carriers to select from, including UPS, FedEx, USPS, Aramex, and others. The USPS International shipping, on the other hand, is a pleasant surprise.
USPS International shipping is known for delivering your things at the most affordable rates possible throughout the United States. This assertion also holds for international shipping, and firms that transport things to other countries happily employ this carrier.
1) Introduction to USPS International shipping
If you want to take your business to the next level, overseas shipping is one option. Going worldwide will allow you to expand your sales and your audience.
Asia (the world's most populous continent) is an excellent destination for American sellers, as China is one of the largest buyers of American-made goods. Major eCommerce firms, particularly in the fields of electronics and clothing, deliver a large number of packages to these locations and benefit handsomely.
For many American ecommerce companies, Europe is another excellent option. UPS and FedEx are well-known shipping companies that seamlessly deliver packages to numerous European regions. However, the difficulty with using any of the private carriers is that they are pretty expensive. You may learn more from the UPS vs. USPS vs. FedEx comparison.
Returning to the subject, USPS offers its services at significantly lower rates than any other mailing company. Online businesses that travel to foreign countries regularly would prefer to save money on shipping. As a result, most companies choose USPS's international service, especially the ecommerce platforms operating from the United States.
2) Issues Concerning USPS International Shipping
Although the delivery charges provided by USPS are comparably less expensive, the issue with their end-to-end shipment does not go unnoticed. Allow us to expand on this. The United States Postal Service is in charge of picking up the parcel from your warehouse and delivering it to your customer's doorstep, as we all know.
However, the process alters dramatically when they try to move the box out of the nation. The United States Postal Service is not based in the United States of America. So, how do they pull it off? Let's use an example to demonstrate the point.
Assume your company is based in Georgia, and you recently received an order from a London-based consumer. So, what are your plans? Please pack the item(s) into a parcel, arrange the shipment, attach the relevant documentation, and then deliver it to USPS agents. They'll take this shipment further and send it to a hub in the United Kingdom. Royal Mail, the local shipping service, will pick up your shipment and schedule the final delivery immediately.
So, what did you take out from the preceding example? Because the USPS does not make the final delivery, they enlist the assistance of the destination country's local shipping service (in this case, Royal Mail). This method is significantly more straightforward, and it lowers transportation costs overall.
However, in addition to the benefits, it causes unavoidable issues such as delivery delays and tracking difficulties. Many clients are left in the dark because they cannot track their packages. However, the USPS has begun improving its tracking systems lately, so things should improve.
3) Services that support USPS international shipping
Compared to other carriers, USPS offers a wide range of shipping options to meet every need. Some services are costly and quick, as well as inexpensive and slow. It's also worth noting that most of these services are accessible in over 190 countries.
3.1) Global Express Guaranteed
USPS's most popular service is Global Express Guaranteed. It provides the quickest USPS international shipping, with packages arriving in 1-3 business days. The best part about this service is that it is a Guaranteed service, which means you can count on a money-back guarantee.
You also obtain overnight international shipping to many places in Canada because the service is classified as quick. Remember that FedEx Express is in charge of transportation and final delivery. This service is available at your local USPS office or online.
3.2) Priority Mail Express International
Priority Mail Express Overseas is a division of Priority Mail Express dedicated to international shipments. It is one of the most cost-effective shipping services, with speedy delivery but not as fast as Global Express Guaranteed.
The delivery times are not as horrible as you may assume, and most parcels arrive between 3-5 business days. Like the one stated above, this service is backed by a money-back guarantee. When it comes to pricing, the firm offers Flat Rate delivery and provides free shipping supplies. This service is available at your local USPS office or online.
3.3) Priority Mail International
Priority Mail Overseas (also known as Priority Mail Express International) is a service provided by Priority Mail that only handles international shipments. They are more popular since they are dependable and affordable than other services.
This service is used by both businesses and people to deliver mail and goods. It usually takes 6-11 business days to return an item worldwide, considered standard or average delivery time. The service uses the Flat Shipping Rate billing model and free shipment supplies, just like Priority Mail Express International. This service can be availed through their website or at the post offices.
3.4) First-Class Mail International
If you genuinely want to save money on shipping, First-Class Mail International is the way to go. It is their most cost-effective international shipping option. However, it is only available for tiny packages such as postcards, envelopes, and flats.
Because the shipments are limited in size, you can only send non-prohibited mailable communications or non-dutiable things weighing up to 4 lbs. Furthermore, the packages' total worth must not exceed $400. Another limitation of this service is that it is only available in a USPS Post Office and not online.
3.5) First-Class Package International Service
The First-Class Package International Service is the way to go if you want to ship or deliver small things in a small package. It's also a cost-effective way to ship products weighing up to 4 pounds that aren't worth more than $400. Some governments have imposed a few restrictions on this service. Fortunately, this service is available at both USPS Post Offices and online.
3.6) Airmail M-Bags
This is a relatively new service, but it is one of the most cost-effective ways to distribute significant quantities of printed content overseas. This service, however, is only available through their Post Offices.
4) Some of the Cheapest Shipping Services
Let's face it: obtaining the best shipping price is, if not the most important, concern for any shipper. If you price too much, your clients will most likely abandon the Cart; you will suffer if you charge too little. To provide the best customer shopping experience without spending too much, it’s better to figure out the prices before you display rates on your website.
It's easy to become overwhelmed while researching USPS International Shipping foreign prices online. There are so many different services available depending on your delivery period that it can be challenging to choose just one. One more thing to consider: the pricing computation depends on the shipment's weight and destination.
Some nations are assigned to a specific pricing group by the USPS, while others are assigned to a particular pricing group by the USPS. (In my instance, I discovered that Hong Kong is classified as "Group 3," although mainland China has its own set of tariffs.) Consider this if you're courageous enough to explore their convoluted pricing tables.
Priority Mail International, like a few other services, provides two different fee calculations: flat-rate pricing and pricing based on weight and destination country.
5) Flat Rate Pricing
The United States Postal Service (USPS) has established two distinct packaging options, envelopes, and boxes. An Envelope (9.5′′ x 12.5′′) costs $9 to mail to Canada and Mexico, while it costs $11 to ship to other nations. Please remember that the weight limit is 4 pounds; anything over that is not allowed in the envelope. Furthermore, you can send any item permitted in First Class Mail International.
Sending a Box to Canada and Mexico costs $23, while shipping to other countries costs $37. Remember that a Box's weight limit is 20 pounds (or whatever the specific country's maximum is), and merchandise is allowed. On the other hand, written communications in the character of current or personal letters are not permitted.
Priority Mail International has a Flat Rate service that appears to be the cheapest way to send a package at first glance. A little box costing $31.95 and weighing no more than 4 pounds can be sent to Hong Kong from my Connecticut zip code.
Given the box's dimensions of 8 11/16′′ x 5 7/16′′ x 1 3/4′′. The caveat here is that if you're a tiny firm shipping out goods, you'll be hard-pressed to get anything more than 2 pounds into a sizeable box. It's fairer to assume that anything weighing more than 2 lbs would be shipped in a medium flat rate package.
Let's compare the price of the small flat rate box to other USPS services at the 2 lb mark, as well as express couriers, before we go any further:
It turns out that shipping worldwide with Priority Mail International – Flat Rate is the most cost-effective option, especially if you don't have a business account with speedy carriers. Compared to USPS, the retail price for express couriers such as UPS and FedEx can exceed three digits.
6) Additional Rates
Don't be concerned about balloon rates or dimensional weight pricing. Priority Mail International does not charge these fees.
Shipping to other countries is subject to several limitations. If you don't satisfy the requirements, you'll be in serious trouble, which I'm sure you don't want. Regarding international shipping, the basic guideline for USPS is that items and packages are separated. Let's take a look at both of them to discover what the real deal is.
8) Item Restrictions
Is it possible to transport alcoholic beverages, beer, cigarettes, fruits, or vegetables? Yes, you may believe these products are permitted, but it is not simple. USPS International Shipping Services ban some items for domestic and international deliveries. Furthermore, all things restricted in the United States are prohibited from being exported internationally. Some things not allowed to be transported overseas can be shipped domestically (with some restrictions). Here's a quick rundown of what you can't bring into the country:
Restricted items for International Shipping
The items restricted by the USPS International shipping are Marijuana, Cigarettes, Explosives, Aerosols, Dry Ice, Air Bags, Gasoline, Alcoholic Beverages, Nail Polish, Ammunition, Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, Perfumes, and Poison.
9) Restrictions for Packages
There are a few package constraints when shipping overseas, such as weight and package type. USPS Priority Mail International has a maximum weight limit of 70 pounds. In contrast, Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes and Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes have a maximum weight limit of 4 pounds.
Furthermore, for medium and large Priority Mail International Flat Rate Boxes, the maximum weight limit is 20 lbs. These restrictions, however, will not necessarily apply to all countries. Some countries have lower weight restrictions, and you must check the specific figure before sending the parcel to a particular country. For additional information, see Country-Specific Restrictions.
Aside from the usual constraints, there are a few other things about which you should be concerned. For example, when sealing a Flat Rate Envelope or Box, the container flaps must close inside the standard folds. It would help if you also used a pen or a permanent marker to write the correct destination address in capital characters, without any commas or periods. Here's a quick guide to getting your item ready for overseas shipping.
10) How To Use the Shipment Tracking Feature of USPS?
Order/shipment tracking is crucial in establishing the level of client satisfaction, whether it's a domestic or international delivery. The majority of successful ecommerce platforms you encounter have a high customer satisfaction rating. Amazon, for example, has an excellent order tracking function that many consumers like. It also demonstrates how crucial tracking is to them.
USPS International Shipping provides a good tracking experience but isn't as good as UPS, FedEx, or Amazon. I'd recommend UPS or FedEx if you're trying to build a large and robust eCommerce website. However, keep in mind that the delivery services of these carriers are pretty expensive, especially compared to the USPS International Shipping Services. In any case, many companies are curious whether they can track their Priority Mail Package. While USPS has tracking enabled for its domestic packages, you can only track international packages to the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
Please remember that the information above pertains to variable-weight and flat-rate boxes. Priority Mail International Flat-Rate Envelope tracking is unavailable, and USPS International Shipping does not support it.
11) How to get Insurance through USPS International Shipping?
The United States Postal Service isn't exactly known for its package handling. Many real-life examples exist of USPS reportedly damaging or even losing a box while on its way. However, the number appears to have fallen recently, and many business owners are using USPS International Shipping services. However, this isn't a sufficient reason to gamble with your clients' packages, and it's a good idea to consider shipping insurance.
Limited loss, damage, or rifling coverage is available for Priority Mail International packages. All you have to do is make sure the value of your shipments is permanently recorded on any applicable paperwork to avoid any inconvenience or discrepancies at the time of reimbursement.
12) How to Clear the Customs with USPS International Shipping?
Another major hurdle while shipping internationally is clearing the destination country's customs. Your package(s) may become stuck in a foreign airport if you do not have the appropriate paperwork and documents with your shipments. To avoid such problems, it's best if you clear things ahead of time.
With USPS's Click-N-Ship and other tools, you may generate and print international postage and complete customs papers for your delivery. You can fill out the form if you need to produce a customs form. Alternatively, you can order customs forms from the Post Office. This makes accessing USPS International Shipping services easier and allows ecommerce companies the hassle of being familiar with the customs regulations of multiple destination countries.
USPS International Shipping is the most cost-effective delivery choice for businesses shipping small things. The USPS International Shipping is the cheapest option for many goods under two pounds, and for packages under 13 ounces, the USPS cannot be matched. If you want to save money, utilize USPS and nothing else when shipping things under 13 ounces.
The USPS Priority Mail International service is an excellent option if you want to export things outside the United States without spending much money on shipping. The delivery time is standard, and enterprises can take advantage of it.
14) FAQs About USPS International Shipping
14.1) Does USPS International Shipping Services offer customs assistance?
USPS does not offer any direct customs brokerage services. However, the carrier generates a shipping label that complies with the destination country's customs processes. This includes disclosing all the necessary information on the shipping label as well as providing forms that are required for your products to clear customs.
14.2) How to track your uSPS International Parcel?
USPS provides end-to-end tracking services which allow you to track your international parcels. The limitation of the USPS international Tracking services is that it allows for live tracking only in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. To track the parcel, you must go to the USPS tracking portal and enter the shipment tracking number. You will get a detailed page showing its transit history and current status.