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!

 

International Shipping: What are Customs, Duties and Taxes?

October 17th, 2014 Comments off

blog_globeIf you are selling products online and you are not yet selling to international markets, you are missing out on an easy opportunity to grow sales. eMarketer estimates that global e-commerce sales will reach $1.5 trillion in 2014! And they expect the international sales to grow at least 15% EACH YEAR through 2017.

International buyers want U.S. products and buying directly from the source is usually much cheaper than buying from a retailer in their own country. 68% of ALL E-COMMERCE SALES in 2014 will occur outside of the U.S.!

And while many sellers think selling to international markets is hard due to Customs Forms, language barriers and longer shipping delivery periods, sellers are usually surprised to see how easy shipping overseas is.

Check out the recently published articles on how to get started:

In this week’s article, we discuss some other important topics to be aware of when selling to international markets.

blog_customs-clearance Customs Fees:
Customs Fees are a cost that the host country charges to manage the flow of goods in and out of the country. All products go through Customs before going to the buyer, and there is a fee associated to manage this process. For e-commerce sales, the BUYER typically is aware of this fee and is the responsible party for paying the fee.
blog_tariff_big Duties/Tariffs:
Similar to Customs Fees, Duties/Tariffs are a type of tax placed on value of item, plus freight and insurance by country. Duties/Tariffs are designed to protect local businesses and industries in the host country. While there are some exceptions, the BUYER is the responsible party to pay the Duties/Customs fees.
blog_taxes-due_big Taxes:
Taxes are not charged by every country, and they can vary based on the value of the product. This is an additional fee that a local government such as state, province or city, charges for delivering the package into their region. Similar to Customs Fees and Duties/Tariffs, the BUYER typically pays the fee.
blog_us-census-bureau International Transaction Number (ITN):
The ITN is a requirement from the U.S. Postal Service if the product you are shipping is over $2,500 in value. You can get the ITN number for your product at the US Census site. In order to get the ITN, you must first file a document using the Electronic Export Information (EEI) form. Once the EEI form is processed and approved, you will receive your ITN which should be included with your shipping documents.
blog_harmonized-codes_big Harmonized Codes:
Harmonized codes are another important issue. These are a standardized set of numbers developed by the World Customs Organization to process customs quicker. They are built for commercial shippers that send a lot of the same product. HS codes can speed up the customs processing time, so it’s a good idea to use them. Get more info on Harmonized Codes.

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