Shipping 101, part 3: Regional Carriers & International Shipping

We’ve covered a lot of shipping 101 basics in part 1 and part 2 of this series. Now, let’s keep diving deeper and talk about regional carriers and international shipping options.

Regional Carriers:

Do you ship your product to one geographic area? Maybe you only ship on the West Coast, or the Midwest. If that sounds like you, you should consider regional carriers that cover a geographic area.

They can often times provide lower rates than other carriers because they cover a smaller region. For example, OnTrac is one of ShipWorks’ regional carrier partners. OnTrac covers the West Coast and ships within California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Colorado and Idaho.

If you ship within these states, you can save money and gain the competitive edge with next-day delivery at ground rates.

Like larger shipping carriers, regional carriers offer a variety of shipping services. For example, OnTrac offers Sunrise, Sunrise Gold, Super Sunrise Gold, OnTrac Ground, Pallet Freight and COD Services.

International Shipping:

One of the many ways to grow your business is to go international. It may sound intimidating at first, but it’s actually easy to process orders using ShipWorks software since the software will automatically generate the customs forms you need to ship internationally. One thing to keep in mind is that customs regulations vary by country.

As you’d expect, there are numerous ways to ship international. All of the carriers we have mentioned before (USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc.) provide international shipping service. Plus, you also have some other options.

i-parcel is focused on helping internet retailers with their international online shopping experience. Their patent pending Cloud technology offers international shippers local currency shopping, multi-currency payments, fraud protection, online tracking, returns and more. They offer several shipping services, but their primary offering is the i-parcel Preferred Service, a 5-7 business day, fully trackable international air express service with the ability to provide shoppers with shipping costs, duties and taxes at checkout.

Postal Qualified Wholesalers (PQW):PQW’s are an approved list of companies who work with the USPS to send and mail packages outside of the US. Their goal is to help businesses with international shipping and mailing. Those shipping internationally may want to look at working with PQW’s to simplify their international shipping process. A complete list of PQW’s is available
here, and ShipWorks is integrated with many of these approved PQW’s.

Here are a few other questions to ask yourself when you decide to go international:

1. What country do I want to ship to and is there a market for my product in that country?

2. What are the local privacy laws for the country? Some countries, like Germany, don’t allow their citizen’s data to be sent outside of the country, so hosting in a different country would violate this regulation.

3. What are the local payment and shipping methods? If possible, you want to use whatever the most country’s popular payment and shipment.

4. What are the regulations, taxes and customs for each country?  The European Union does have some regulations that apply across the EU, but it’s important to remember that each country has its own laws (like local taxes) that you’ll need to abide by.

Want to learn more about shipping? Don’t miss part 1 and part 2 of this series. Plus, you can download our free eBook: An Essential Guide to eCommerce Shipping.