International carrier services

When it comes to international shipping, carriers can offer a range of integrated solutions that serve both the e-tailer and the consumer. Services like evening and weekend delivery or parcel pick-up make it easy and convenient for the consumer to receive their goods. Other, e-tailer oriented solutions, invisible to the shopper, are aimed at streamlining the process to make logistics a breeze.

E-commerce intro header

1. Shipment tracking

Knowing where the parcel is at every stage of its journey can be handy for both the seller and the buyer. Your carrier may be able to notify your customer directly or you can choose to send delivery updates via the webshop. And here's a cherry on the top: with tracking integration in place, some carriers will allow you to do last minute in-flight changes to the receiver details. So even if your clients’ plans change, they don't have to miss the delivery.

2. Flexible delivery options for receivers

Many carriers will deliver parcels to your customer’s doorstep or a pick-up location seven days a week. This way, your buyer will never have to miss a delivery or have their package stolen from their porch. Check with your carrier if they offer:

  • Express or standard delivery speeds
  • Customizable delivery times
  • Evening and weekend delivery
  • Collection from local pick-up point

3. Shipment consolidation

If you are shipping large quantities of goods to a specific destination, it may be cost-efficient to consolidate multiple packages into a single shipment. Ask your carrier about the solutions they can offer. Keep in mind that consolidating small shipments may affect how your goods clear customs, it's wise to consult your carrier for advice.

4. Customs brokerage

When your goods cross borders, they will have to clear customs. A customs broker – a person who's at home with all the changing regulations – can help you with the paperwork. They can also assist you with any country-specific requirements, like VAT representation in the EU.

5. Returns management

Managing returns is part of every e-commerce business. An easy and customer-friendly process is a great way to increase loyalty. But the logistics of international returns can be quite a knot to untie. Your carrier can help you streamline returns and assist with customs clearance, duty drawback and relief. The exact services will vary per carrier and depend on the shipping volume, but will generally include:

Return page or plugin on the webshop

Is a way for the customer to generate return paperwork. Some of the solutions can be integrated with your inventory to keep track of available stock.

Generating return labels

These can be printed and included in the initial shipment for customers or generated on demand and printed by either the customer or the carrier upon pick up.

Customs brokerage for duty drawback and duty relief

Your return shipments will be passing through customs on their way back. If duties and taxes were paid, a customs broker may be able to request a refund on duties already paid (duty drawback) and exemption for import duties when goods enter your home country (duty relief).  

Consolidated returns

If your return volume is high, consider bundling shipments for cost efficiency. 

In some cases, your carrier may assist you with services like grading, repair or destroying unwanted goods

Sometimes these services are arranged by your carrier but provided by a third party.

6. How can I integrate the carrier services into my webshop?

Whether it's allowing your customer to follow their parcel or offering paperless returns, most carrier services can be easily integrated into your webshop. If you are using a single service, direct integration may work for you. With multiple services or carriers, you may want to consider using a third-party integration.

7. Tips on finding the right shipping carrier for your e-commerce business

The parcel delivery is the final part of the customer journey and possibly the most costly one. For small e-commerce businesses, competing with large retailers this can be a make-it or break-it point. All good reasons you probably want to get it right. Here are five things to consider when selecting a shipping partner:

Hear what others have to say

Choose a carrier your buyers and other sellers trust to deliver their goods.  

Check the rates

Obviously, you want to know what it's going to cost. Keep in mind that some carriers offer flat rates for small packages, others may have weight and size restrictions and surcharges for packages exceeding those.  

Ask about the delivery options

Consider a carrier that can offer multiple delivery options including express and weekend delivery and has multiple pick-up locations. Check if webshop integration is available so your buyers can see the shipping costs for each option calculated for their location.

Make sure you and your buyer can track the progress 

It may be wise to go for a carrier that'll allow you to track the shipments. Some may have additional services to display information on a page with your shop's visual identity.

Consider going local

If you're shipping both domestically and internationally, consider using a carrier that can take care of both. If you also have clients living around the corner, it may be more efficient to skip the logistics of long distance shipment all together and partner with a local courier service for delivering those parcels. 

Look into return services

Your buyers will appreciate convenient drop off locations and pick up services. Check if your carrier is able to assist you with customs clearance procedures for return shipments. Even if you will not use this option to begin with, you may want to have a possibility to outsource it at a later stage.

This website is designed to provide general information related to shipping. If you’re unsure of the shipping requirements that apply to you, check with your carrier. Make sure to check the rules and regulations of the country you’re shipping from and to prior to shipping. You can find this information on government websites.

The information provided on this page does not constitute legal, tax, finance, accounting, or trade advice, but is designed to provide general information relating to business and commerce. The Shipping Channel content, information, and services are not a substitute for obtaining the advice of a competent professional, for example a licensed attorney, law firm, accountant, or financial adviser.

Relevant topics