Understanding Package Weight Limits for International Shipping

May 18th, 2016 Comments off

UnderstandingInternationalWeightLimits

You have a Priority Mail International® Small Flat Rate Priced Box ready to be shipped to the country of Antigua and Barbuda. It weighs 5 pounds, but you’re not seeing an option for Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes in the Stamps.com drop-down mailpiece menu. What’s going on? The answer: the maximum weight for a Priority Mail International Small Flat Rate Priced Box is 4 pounds, so your mailpiece weighs too much for this flat rate box.

When preparing international shipments, it’s important to remember that there are weight limits depending on which mail class and packaging you’re using.

For example, the maximum weight for a Priority Mail Express International® Flat Rate Envelope or Small Flat Rate Priced Box is 4 pounds, and 20 pounds for Medium and Large Flat Rate Priced Boxes.

First-Class Mail International® Letters are capped at 3.5 ounces while First-Class Mail International Large Envelopes/Flats, these cannot exceed 4 pounds.

Variations by Country: Availability of Services 
An important aspect to shipping internationally is knowing that services vary by country.

For example, if you’re using Priority Mail International to mail something to Bolivia, Cuba, the Falkland Islands or Ascension Island, you would only be able to use Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes and Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes.

Want to ship using Priority Mail Express International Service? Do your homework, as this service is not available for more than 20 countries and dependencies, including Afghanistan, Iran, Greenland, Tuvalu, East Timor (Timor-Leste), and Suriname.

Variations by Country: Weight Limits for Non-Flat-Rate Mailpieces
The absolute maximum weight of all international packages is 70 pounds, but not all countries will accept this maximum weight. For example, 33 pounds is the maximum weight for a package going Priority Mail Express International to Taiwan, but it is 69 pounds for Nepal. Knowing that varying thresholds exist is an important step towards becoming a successful global shipper, and will help you determine what kinds of products you can ship to certain overseas markets.

These thresholds can also vary by mail class for the same country. For example, Bulgaria’s weight limit for Priority Mail Express International packages is 66 pounds, but 70 pounds for Priority Mail International packages.

Looking for a complete chart? You can find one here: http://pe.usps.com/text/imm/immpg.htm or look at individual country listings at: http://pe.usps.com/text/imm/ab_001.htm.

Understanding USPS International Shipping Zones

May 10th, 2016 Comments off

Not sure what price group to use for a flat rate envelope to Switzerland?  Check out the table below to determine shipping zones for your shipments for each country.

International-Zones-Chart-For-Blog-1

Changes to USPS International Flat Rate Products
As of January 17th, 2016, all Priority Mail International and Priority Mail Express International Flat Rate products moved from a two-price system (one price for Canada and one price for every other country) to a multi-tiered pricing structure.  This restructuring means that your shipments will be priced based on their destination rather than their weight.  Keep in mind that the price group for the same country may change depending on the mail piece, so, for example, Antigua and Barbuda is in Price Group 9 for Priority Mail International but Price Group 8 for the Priority Mail International Large Flat Rate Boxes.

How To Find USPS International Zones
It is always a good practice to give your customers quotes and price estimates.  So how do you find out beforehand under which price group your destination falls under?  Check out USPS’ Country Max Limits and Price Groups Finder.  This calculator will allow you to determine maximum weights for each mail piece as well as average transit times.

How To Use Foreign Characters Inside Stamps.com

February 26th, 2016 Comments off

244182_Blog-How-To-Use-Foreign-Characters-Inside-Stamps.comYou have an international order to go out and the delivery address you’ve been provided by your customer includes foreign characters such as 青岛市5号楼,8号室, or Не́вский проспе́кт, or רחוב דיזנגוף.  What’s your next step?

The first thing to know is that the Stamps.com software only accepts delivery addresses written with Latin/Roman characters, in order to comply with USPS regulations.  Your first step is to make sure that any addresses that contain Cyrillic (used by languages such as Russian, Bulgarian, and Kazakh), Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, Chinese, or Japanese characters are converted into the Latin/Roman characters to meet this guideline.

Packages that are to be shipped overseas must first be processed by the USPS and thus the labels need to have Latin/Roman characters so it is handled and routed efficiently and correctly to the foreign postal service.

How to Translate Foreign Characters into Latin/Roman Characters

The good news is that you can easily convert foreign characters into Latin/Roman script using a character converter, which can easily be found online.  Some powerful conversion tools include Paralink and Lexilogos.

Pasting an address with Cyrillic and Japanese characters, for example, into an internet search engine will also generate the transliterated form with Latin/Roman characters.

Examples of Foreign Character Conversion 

Greek:  Αθήνα should be written as Athína, for example, or translated as “Athens.”

Japanese:  〒110-0007 東京都台東区上野公園 9_8 3 should be converted into Latin/Roman script as 9-83 Uenokōen, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 110-0007.

Without this character conversion, non-Roman characters will be converted by the Stamps.com software into question marks and other symbols that could create problems for mail delivery.

What about Accents and Other Special Characters?

What if a customer in Denmark wants you to send a package to him in Århus?  Or a Brazilian customer in São Paulo has ordered a product from you?  Does Stamps.com support the A-ring in “Århus” or the A-tilde in “São Paulo”?  Yes, Stamps.com does support most of the common special characters, including A with a diaresis (e.g. Mynämäki), the acute accent (e.g. Álftanes), the grave accent (e.g. Òdena), and the eñe (e.g. A Coruña).

Stamps.com and Character-encoding Standards

Stamps.com offers support for the majority of the character-encoding system known as ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange), with some exceptions, such as the macron (e.g. Ēdole) and the double dagger or diesis (‡).

We do not offer support for the character encoding standard known as Unicode at this time, so our software would not support special characters such as Ḱ and Ǵ.

[Infographic] Complete Guide to USPS International Shipping

October 14th, 2015 Comments off

Stamps.com recently released a Complete Guide to USPS International Shipping infographic, that includes tips for international shipping, shipping carrier cost comparisons, eBay’s top categories for international sales and much more!

Below is the complete infographic. Learn how to ship your USPS packages to international customers and expand your business globally by tapping into the growing demand for American-made products.  Download your FREE copy of the Complete Guide to USPS International Shipping eBook here!

Can’t see the Complete Guide to USPS International Shipping infographic? View it here (use your browser zoom to enlarge).

complete-guide-usps-international-shipping

Want to learn more about expanding your business and selling to customers across the globe? Download the FREE eBook, Complete Guide to USPS International Shipping.

 

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Free eBook! Complete Guide to USPS International Shipping

July 22nd, 2015 Comments off

International buyers will make up 86% of the e-commerce market in 2015, according to eMarketer.  With the demand for American-made products higher than ever, e-commerce sellers in the U.S. cannot afford to ignore the growing segment of international customers that is expected to reach a record high of 1.06 billion buyers in 2015.

Check’s out Stamps.com’s new eBook (PDF), Complete Guide to USPS International Shipping to get a comprehensive understanding of how to ship packages across the world using the USPS.

blog_intl_shipping_guide_newThe FREE downloadable eBook (PDF) includes information on:

– How International Shipping Works
– USPS International Mail Classes
– Packaging Tips for International Delivery
– USPS Customs Forms
– International Product Restrictions
– International Shipping Tips
– and much more …

DOWNLOAD THE FREE GUIDE NOW!

 

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