How to Ship an International Package

March 22nd, 2023 Comments off

How can you reach a wider audience and increase sales? Try shipping internationally! Your products are amazing, and more customers should see what your business has to offer. International shipping may require a slightly different shipping process than domestic shipping. However, international shipping is a way to boost sales, and we’ll show you the steps needed to create an international shipping process. 

1) Check for international shipping restrictions

Much like domestic shipping, international shipping comes with a set of restrictions and guidelines. International shipping restrictions may vary from carrier to carrier and by whether your shipment will be traveling by air or ground-based carrier services. Each carrier’s shipping restrictions can be found on their website. For more information about international shipping restrictions, contact your carrier directly.  

Once you’ve reviewed the international shipping restrictions applicable to the products your business ships, communicate these guidelines with customers. Explaining international shipping limitations to your customers during the checkout process will create a more pleasant shipping experience. Also, knowing international shipping restrictions keeps shipments from being returned and/or your business from receiving penalties. 

2) Decide how taxes and duties will be paid 

Before we talk about paying taxes and duties, let’s discuss the difference between the two. Duties are additional costs given to specific products as they enter specific countries. Duties are imposed on items that can compete with items created within the country. For example, if you’re shipping coffee to a country known for selling coffee, especially at a higher price, the duties added will be greater for this product. Taxes are given to a product based on its overall cost and the amount of taxes on a product will vary from country to country. 

If you’re shipping to the UK or the EU, customs forms will need VAT (Value Added Tax) and IOSS (Import One-Stop-Shop) numbers. VAT is determined by a product’s cost, minus any components of the product that have already been taxed. IOSS is a business-specific number given by your store of marketplace and choice. IOSS gives your business the opportunity to pay VAT instead of having the financial responsibility fall on your customers when their package is delivered. VAT and IOSS numbers are tax ID numbers and help determine: 

  • How the taxes and duties will be calculated 
  • When the taxes and duties will be paid in the shipping process
  • Who will pay or has paid the taxes and duties 
Note: The screens pictured may change as international shipping requirements are updated.  

3) Familiarize yourself with customs forms 

Customs forms are additional pieces of documentation attached to your shipments. These forms can be physically or electronically submitted, depending on the carrier used. Customs forms include information about the content of your package and help your shipment move through customs offices faster. 

As we mentioned earlier, packages headed to the UK or the EU will need VAT (Value Added Tax) and IOSS (Import One-Stop-Shop) numbers on the customs forms. Additionally, shipments passing through or going directly to most countries in the EU will be required to have Harmonized or HS codes. HS codes are six-digit codes used to represent a product and its attributes. HS codes are also universal, so assigning them to products helps to bypass potential language barriers.

Note: Shipments to Puerto Rico and military addresses are considered domestic shipments but will need customs forms. 

4) Utilize international carriers like GlobalPost 

Our partner carrier, GlobalPost, provides merchants with an efficient international carrier service. GlobalPost works with carriers across the globe to decrease shipping delays and get packages to your customers safely. When using their GlobalPost Standard International service, you can expect:

  • Door-to-door tracking
  • Up to $100 in parcel coverage for loss and damages, including the shipping cost
  • On Demand HS Classification Tool for up to five daily searches
  • Free HS Code Fulfillment Service that allocates the right tariff code to your parcels
  • No customs forms to print

5) Create an international shipping label with Online 

Click the Mail tab on your dashboard. 


Select your label/paper size from the Print On drop-down menu. 


Use the Mail To drop-down menu to choose the destination. 


Enter the recipient’s address manually or from your Contacts list. 


Weigh your shipping materials. If using your connected Postal Scale, the package’s weight will show automatically.* Then weigh each individual item within your box. You’ll need these weights for the customs forms later on. 

*Note: Confirm the Auto box next to your item’s displayed weight is checked. 


Pick a USPS international service option from the Service drop-down menu. Only options available to the destination country will be shown. 


Purchase additional insurance, especially for high-value packages. 


Click Edit Form in the Customs section. 


Select the best description for the items you’re shipping from the Package Contents menu.


Click the Non-Delivery Options menu and select your preference. 


Enter an International Transaction # if applicable. 


Select the Add Item option. 


Here, you’ll add your product’s description, the quantity of the item, as well as the item’s weight and value. You’ll repeat this process for each item in the package. If you need to add a description, remember to be specific for shipments traveling through or to the EU. Avoid general descriptions like “clothing” or “electronics.” Shipments through and to the EU will also need HS codes added. A complete list of customs requirements for each USPS mail class can be found in our Learning Center. 


Agree to the USPS Privacy Act Statement and Restrictions and Prohibitions and click Save. 


Edit your international shipment’s mail date if the package will not be shipped on the same day the label is created. 


Leave the Hide Postage Value box checked.


Select Print Receipt if you’d like a printed copy of your receipt when your label is printed. 


Create a Reference Number for the Print History files.


Select or create a cost code as needed. 


For new merchants, we recommend printing a sample first. Once you’ve confirmed the test print is correct, hit Print Postage. 


If you notice incorrect information on your label after printing, click the Reprint button on your screen. One big thing to note is you’ll have one opportunity to reprint. 


For instructions on creating an international label through’s PC Software, visit our Learning Center. 


You’ve learned how to evade negative shopping experiences for your customers by communicating shipping restrictions. You understand how to complete customs forms and decrease the chance of shipping delays. You’ve found international shipping options with carriers like GlobalPost and walked through creating international labels on Now, you’re officially ready to open your store to global customers!

Categories: International Shipping Tags:

New Harmonized Code Requirement Coming March 1

February 24th, 2023 Comments off

Beginning March 1, 2023, all shipments to and passing through most countries in the EU will need Harmonized System tariff codes, or HS codes, included on customs forms. More detailed descriptions will be required, meaning general descriptions like “clothing” or “electronics” won’t be accepted. According to the USPS, reasons for the upcoming change are important because they “improve speed and efficiency of cross-border ecommerce” and “meet safety and security requirements, preventing delays, fines, and penalties for noncompliance.” The full list of countries impacted by this change can be found on the USPS website

What are HS codes?

HS codes are numerical values given to all goods shipped to countries outside the United States. These codes were created and assigned by the World Customs Organization (WCO); a full list of HS codes can be found on the WCO website. Let’s go through a set of HS codes as an example.

Say you’re shipping coffee to a customer, and the HS code is 090111. Here’s what the numbers within your HS code represent: 

  • 09 – The chapter, or first two digits, is used to identify your product’s category
  • 01 – The heading, or second two digits, is used to define your product’s attributes
  • 11 – The subheading, or last two digits, combines the chapter and heading of your product 

In this case, the chapter would be coffee, the heading might be decaffeinated and roasted, and the subheading would classify your product as coffee, decaffeinated and roasted. 

Acceptable vs. Unacceptable Descriptions 

Vague item descriptions on custom forms such as “gifts,” “clothing,” and even “none” will no longer be considered acceptable descriptions. It’s best practice to have accurate and specific product descriptions that clearly describe the items being traded. 

Unacceptable Acceptable
ClothesMen’s cotton shirts, girls’ leather vets, boys’ denim jackets
Fresh HerbsBasil, thyme, parsley 
Sanitary goods Detergent, toothbrush, towels 
GiftOne scented candle, remote-controlled car, silk scarf

Why do HS codes matter?

HS codes help customs offices and departments identify the contents of your package so the proper taxes and duties are applied. Adhering to the new guidelines can prevent your shipments from being held up at customs and/or returned to your business. Also, HS codes help bypass language barriers because items are classified uniformly and easily translated. 

GlobalPost HS Code resources

If you aren’t sure how to classify your product, our partner carrier, GlobalPost, will provide their customers with two free classification services: the On Demand HS Classification Tool and the free HS Code Fulfillment Service. 

The On Demand HS Classification Tool is a searchable database designed to shorten the amount of time spent finding a product’s HS code. This tool is perfect if your business ships a small number of international orders, as you can search for up to five free classifications daily. There are also no additional requirements to use this tool. 

The free HS Code Fulfillment Service takes the hassle out of finding the HS code. If your business is using GlobalPost for international shipping, GlobalPost will assign the HS code once your shipment reaches the GlobalPost warehouse as long as you have a description of your products. The same goes for customs forms. Shipments sent using GlobalPost don’t need printed customs forms, as GlobalPost will assign forms once a shipment arrives at their facility. 

The inclusion of HS codes being mandated for shipments to the EU may seem like additional work. However, HS codes can shorten the amount of time your shipment sits in customs. It also decreases the chance of returned shipments or the incorrect amount of taxes and duties being applied.

If your business ships a higher volume of international shipments, consider using GlobalPost as your carrier of choice. Using GlobalPost eliminates searching for HS codes on your own, as GlobalPost’s Free HS Code Fulfillment Service will apply HS codes to your shipments for you. For more information on the new mandate for HS codes, we recommend reaching out to trade experts and service providers or visiting the World Customs Organization (WCO) website. 

Note: This blog will be updated as we receive news regarding the new EU HS code requirements, so check back for new/additional information. 

Categories: USPS News Tags:

2023 USPS Rate and Service Changes

January 20th, 2023 Comments off
Learn more about the proposed 2022 USPS Peak Surcharges.

The United States Postal Service’s 2023 rate and service changes have been approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), and the updates will take effect on January 22, 2023. We’re going to address all of the upcoming changes, so you’ll have time to adjust accordingly and prevent negative shipping experiences for your customers.

Important USPS 2023 rate and service changes

More detailed highlights of the upcoming changes are: 

  • Priority Mail® commercial rates will see an increase of 3.6%, keeping them below the rate of inflation
  • Priority Mail Express® will see an increase of 6.7%
  • First-Class Package Service will see an increase of 7.8%
  • Priority Mail service prices will see an increase of around 5.5%
  • USPS First Class Package International rates will see an increase of 6.2%
  • USPS Priority Mail International® will see an increase of 5.9%
  • USPS Priority Mail Express International® will see an increase of 5.9%
  • Zone 1, Zone 2, and Local have traditionally seen the same shipping rates. However, Local will now be combined with Zone 1, and Zones 1 and 2 will have individual rates 
  • The pricing for Parcel Select Ground won’t see any rate increases
  • Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes® will no longer be available
  • All Canadian Zones will be combined into one pricing zone for USPS Priority Mail International
  • Commercial Base and Commercial Plus will be merged into one entity

Flat Rate Priority Mail changes

Flat Rate envelopes and boxes will be included in the 3.6% increase for Priority Mail services. USPS will continue offering Priority Mail Flat Rate envelopes and boxes through their website. Also, you’ll be able to order some of these supplies directly from your account. A comparison of the 2022 and 2023 rates can be found below. 

Local Zone changes

Previously, Local, Zone 1, and Zone 2 all had the same shipping rates. Moving forward, there will no longer be a Local Zone, and Zones 1 and 2 will have two different shipping rates. If your business ships to customers who live close by or in the same state, you’ll see the impact of this change. The changes will be more noticeable when you’re shipping to customers in Zone 2, which is a 51-150 mile radius. 

Regional Rate Boxes are being retired 

Regional Rate A & B Boxes, used for 15-20 pound shipments traveling a short distance, will be discontinued. If your business uses Regional Rate Boxes after January 23, 2023, USPS will accept your shipment, but the cost won’t be calculated in the same way Regional Rate Boxes were. For this reason, USPS recommends using these materials by January 22. Additionally, check the automation rules currently running on your Online account to ensure this service isn’t applied to any of your shipments. 

Priority Mail® Cubic will still be an option for shippers, as it has seen a rise in popularity, and sometimes even offers a lower rate than what was seen with Regional Rate Boxes. The biggest difference with Priority Mail Cubic is that supplies aren’t free. For merchants who want to explore alternatives beyond USPS Cubic, Parcel Select Ground offers shippers a great value, so it’s worth looking into as a substitute for smaller and heavier domestic shipments. Parcel Select Ground offers: 

  • An estimated delivery window of 2-5 days 
  • A service for shipments up to 20 pounds 
  • Uses the Commerical rates with your account 

How will the 2023 changes impact international shipping?

The biggest change to international shipments will involve your Canadian packages. Similar to the US Zones, Canada was previously broken down into 8 different pricing groups. Now, all of Canada will fall under Pricing Group 1. Also, USPS will change Turkey to Turkiye, so don’t be alarmed if the spelling of the country is updated on your labels to reflect this update. 

How can help?

In our recent study, 30.3% of customers stated that delivery costs were the most important factor in deciding whether or not they’d purchase from a business; the second most important factor was the speed of delivery. Rising USPS costs could mean raising shipping costs for your customers. However, you can still enjoy the discounted shipping rates included with your account to help offset these costs. 

Start your free 30-day trial today on

Offering Convenient Holiday Returns

December 9th, 2022 Comments off
Learn more about offering returns this holiday season with our blog!

The closer we get to the holiday season, the more customers will visit your site. This influx of visitors means your business has the potential to increase your sales and customer base. As potential customers browse your website, they’ll investigate your return policy to decide whether or not your products will be the ones under the tree. Creating an easy-to-follow holiday return policy is a way to nudge your customers in the direction of your checkout. We’ve outlined some of the best ways to craft your holiday return policy. 

Trim your tree and holiday shipping costs with a free trial at

What is a return policy?

A return policy is a policy on your store’s website dedicated to how your business handles customer returns. These policies typically include how long customers have to return a product as well as information on how to initiate the return process. A holiday return policy is an updated version of your regular return policy with additional information for holiday shoppers. These additional pieces of information include: 

  • Whether or not your business will extend the return window for the holiday season
  • Highlighting up-to-date customer support lines 
  • Emphasizing holiday shipping deadlines
  • Outlining how your customers will initiate the return process 

Your and your customers will both be extremely busy during the holiday season, so the more information you can include throughout your site, the better. If your customers can easily find answers to their questions, it’s less likely they’ll have to reach out for clarification. Additionally, our recent study with Retail Economics found 18.3% of customers said that convenient returns were the number one reason they purchased from a business. So, creating a customer-friendly holiday return policy will benefit you and your customers alike. 

What makes a good holiday return policy?

Now that we’ve given you an idea of what a holiday return policy is, let’s dive into what will take your holiday return policy to the next level. When designing your holiday return policy, don’t read it from the perspective of your business; read it from the perspective of your customers. Pretend you’re a new customer visiting your website. Would you be able to understand the return process? If not, edit your policy to be clear and concise. We more than understand you want your customers to have as much information as possible. But sometimes, it’s better to have shorter paragraphs that are easier for your customers to understand than longer paragraphs that are hard to follow and bury crucial information. 

Next, thoroughly check your return policy to confirm everything is accurate. If your business will have an extended return policy, confirm all of the dates mentioned are correct and updated for the current holiday shipping season. The same goes for any shipping deadlines written in your return policy — you don’t want your customers to think they have more or less time to shop because the shipping deadlines are from the year before. Finally, test all of your customer service channels in advance to ensure they run smoothly. Submit any email or contact forms to see if they’re being routed to your email. Also, call your support lines to see if all the numbers are working, so your customers aren’t left hanging during the holidays. 

Holiday return policies are also a good opportunity to add information about your business that new customers might not know. Include a little excerpt of your business’s origin story and/or fun facts about your business. You can even mention any nonprofit organizations your customer works with during the holidays or even year-round. While your holiday return policy does need to be easy to navigate, that doesn’t mean it can’t be customized to help your business stands out. 

Extending your return window

58% of customers say they plan to cut back on non-essential gifts this year. This means your business needs to get customers to choose your store for the gifts they do plan on purchasing. One easy way to help customers is to extend your holiday return window to make returns easier during a stressful time of the year. Your customers might be traveling for the holidays and/or experiencing inclement weather conditions, so they might not be able to return an order within the normal return window. Also, the customer returning the product might not be the same customer who purchased it, so they might not be familiar with your website and need more time. Extending your return window to accommodate customers is a great way to get them to complete their purchases, and it shows your business truly cares. 

Provide excellent customer service 

As we mentioned earlier, the holiday season is a wonderful time of the year, but it can also be incredibly stressful. Creating an excellent customer service experience for your customers can help alleviate some of those holiday stressors. For example, adding an FAQ section to your website prevents customers from having to wait on a response from your business. Some questions you might include in your FAQ section are: 

  • Do you ship internationally?
  • What is your return policy?
  • How do I track my package?
  • How long do orders take to arrive?
  • What are your customer support lines?
  • Can I change the shipping address after I place my order?
  • What do I do if it says my package was delivered, but I didn’t receive it?

A great customer experience also includes great customer service. Checking all of your customer service lines is a great first step, but you can go above and beyond with a few extra touches. If your business is able, we recommend having a live chat feature for customers who are unable to use phone support and need a more immediate answer to their questions. Also, confirm your phone, chat, and other live support options are turned off when support isn’t available to avoid customers trying to use them when no one is available to help. 

Another way to create a better customer experience is to check your site speed. If parts of your website are loading slowly or not at all, your customers can get frustrated and leave your site. Tools like PageSpeed Insights can help you test your site speed and provide recommendations on how to improve it. Again, visit your website from a customer perspective and improve any parts you think might need to be updated. Your customers will thank you. 

Prepaid return labels 

Prepaid return labels are another great way to improve the customer experience this holiday season. Prepaid return labels are return labels your business purchases and then sends to customers. This way, your customers don’t have to pay for return postage. And, the good news is, you can create prepaid return labels straight from your account! We’ve included detailed directions below on how to create prepaid return labels with Online. 

  1. Click Search in the History drop down menu.

2. Select the order you want to prepare a Return Shipping Label for.


3. Click Return Label. The Return Label window will open.


4. Select Print-at-Home Label, either USPS or UPS, whichever works best for you and your customer. 


5. Then select Continue.


6. Choose who will email the label. We suggest having send the Return Shipping Label.


7. Add a note to your customer.


8. We suggest checking the Send me a copy of this email box for your records.


9. Select Send.


That’s all there is to it. Your recipient will receive an email with an easily downloadable prepaid shipping label complete with detailed instructions to ensure an easy return shipment experience.


Note: Your emailed Return Shipping Label is active for 24 hours from the time it is created. If the label is not used, please request a refund within 28 days.


Setting aside the time to create an effective holiday return policy can help increase your sales and set the foundation for a good, year-round return policy. Trying out a new return policy during the holiday shipping season is the true test, so don’t be afraid to ask your customers for feedback. When you sit down to create your holiday return policy, think about what you would look for as a customer. Create a holiday return policy that’s informative and easy to follow. Consider extending your return window into late January for your customers who need extra time to return their orders. Provide your customers with an excellent experience with several options for customer service and an FAQ section, so your customers can look for answers on their own but have the opportunity to reach out if they have additional questions. Most importantly, don’t underestimate the power of a good holiday return policy. 

For more insights on this holiday shopping season, download our ebook below. 

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Holiday Support and USPS Hours 2022

November 28th, 2022 Comments off

Everyone at wishes you a happy holiday season! As you’re preparing for the holiday shipping season, we want to share our holiday support hours as well as information about USPS holiday closures and changes in services. 

Thursday, November 24, 2022 (Thanksgiving Day) Support: Closed 

USPS: Closed 

Friday, November 25, 2022 Support: Normal business hours (6 AM – 6 PM PST) 

USPS: Regular hours and operations 

Saturday, December 24, 2022 (Christmas Eve) Support: Closed


  • Local Post Offices will be open. They may have extended, normal, or limited hours: Check your local Post Office location for specific hours.
  • Blue Collection Boxes: Mail may be picked up earlier than usual. Drop off your mail before noon (even if the final collection time posted on the box is later). If you need a later mail pickup, go to your local Post Office.
  • Regular mail will be delivered.

Sunday, December 25, 2022 (Christmas Day) and Monday, December 26, 2022 Support: Closed 


  • Local Post Office locations will be closed.
  • Blue Collection Boxes: Mail will not be picked up.
  • Regular mail will not be delivered.
  • Priority Mail Express® mail will be delivered.* 

*Note: This applies to limited locations. For more information, visit USPS’s website. 

Saturday, December 31, 2022 (New Year’s Eve) Support: Closed


  • Local Post Offices will be open. They may have extended, normal, or limited hours: Check your local Post Office location for specific hours.
  • Blue Collection Boxes: Mail may be picked up earlier than usual. Drop off your mail before noon (even if the final collection time posted on the box is later). If you need a later mail pickup, go to your local Post Office.
  • Regular mail will be delivered.

Sunday, January 1, 2023 (New Year’s Day) and Monday, January 2, 2023 Support: Closed


  • Local Post Office locations will be closed.
  • Blue Collection Boxes: Mail will not be picked up.
  • Regular mail will not be delivered.
  • Priority Mail Express® mail will be delivered.
Categories: Customer Support Tags:

Call us toll-free at 1-888-434-0055

Monday–Friday, 6am–6pm Pacific Time