If you're an international e-commerce merchant who sells to US consumers, it’s important to know about the shipping process. In fact, one of the most common reasons your customers call Instabill has to do with product shipping.
The most popular shipping option our merchants use is the United States Postal Service. Although merchants and customers are usually very happy with the Post Office's services, there are some factors to think about when you're estimating a delivery time.
Types of USPS Shipping
As a start-up e-commerce merchant, you may not realize it, but there are a handful of different USPS shipping methods. Below is a brief overview of the different types.
Express and Express International Shipping: According to the USPS, this method of shipping products usually takes three to five business days. Recipients have to sign for the package, which gives you the upper hand on fighting chargebacks when customers claim they didn't receive their goods.
There is an additional cost to use Express and Express International shipping with the USPS, but I highly recommend this method to merchants. After all, what's more important--paying for a cheaper, less secure form of shipping or losing your merchant account from having too many chargebacks?
Priority Mail Shipping: Priority Mail shipping with the USPS is a fast and affordable method for sending documents and packages. Although recipients don't have to sign for the package with this method of shipping, you'll still receive confirmation upon delivery.
First Class Shipping: For merchants shipping small packages, First Class shipping with the USPS offers the best value. You can combine this method of shipping with extra services, such as delivery confirmation and insurance. Although this usually has a longer delivery time, this is the most affordable way to ship your goods.
Registered Mail: The USPS offers this method of shipping as an additional feature for Priority Mail and First Class shipping options to merchants shipping to the US from a business outside the US. Registered Mail is a service that lets you register your package for additional protection and security once it reaches the US.
Factoring in Customs Delays
US e-commerce merchants shipping goods within their own country don't need to worry about customs delays, but international merchants shipping to the US do. Packages coming from outside of the US need to clear through customs before they can continue on their journey to the consumer. Unfortunately, the time it takes to clear through customs is hard to predict. It can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. When shipping to the United States, be sure to let your US consumers know to expect customs delays.
Keep Your Customers in the Know
In my years of working with Instabill, keeping the expected delivery date realistic goes a long way. If you let your customers know the shipping process, even if it takes longer than you expected, they'll be much happier that you were honest with them.