Free eBook! Complete Guide to USPS International Shipping

July 24th, 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’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 …



How to Ship Packages to the United Kingdom

April 23rd, 2015 Comments off


Did a customer in Scotland just buy one of your products and you need to ship your merchandise over?  Do you need to send a gift to a relative in London?  Learn how to use to ship packages to the United Kingdom (U.K.)!

How to use for packages headed to the U.K.

Once you are ready to ship your package to the U.K., you will need to enter the mailing address details as well as choose the destination country from the drop down menu in offers many options; however, the easiest and most popular option is to choose United Kingdom (Great Britain) from the country drop down menu.  As long as you choose United Kingdom (Great Britain), your package should reach its destination anywhere within the country without any issues.

A few other options offered by are explained below:

  • If your package is headed to a constituent country of the U.K. (which consists of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland), you can select the individual country names (e.g. England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) or simply select United Kingdom (Great Britain).
  • Shipping a package to a crown dependency (examples include Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Jersey, Bailiwick of Guernsey etc.)?  These destinations fall under the general USPS descriptor of “Great Britain and Northern Island.”  In, these locations are listed individually (e.g. “Jersey”).  You can select these individual listings or just select “United Kingdom (Great Britain).”
  • Using the web version to print postage?  Choose Great Britain from the country drop down menu to ship your packages to the U.K.

Important Note:  Sometimes long country names, such as “Scotland (Great Britain and Northern Ireland)” may cause issues because your label has limited space.  In cases like these or if you are not sure what country to choose from the drop-down menu, always default to United Kingdom (Great Britain). 

Addressing and Shipping Tips for Your Packages

  • The postal code is an important element of the mailing address that is required to ensure smooth and timely delivery.  Make sure to include the accurate postal code for your package headed to the U.K.
  • is designed to include all the essential information on your international label, so if you receive a message about your address being too long, simply abbreviate the county (province) name – for example, Hampshire as “Hamps” or “Worcestershire” as “Worcs.”
  • Customs fees, duties, tariffs and taxes may be charged on your packages being shipped to the U.K.  These fees are based on the value you declare on the customs form and are typically paid by your buyer in the U.K.  However, you can anticipate these by checking the website for the British customs service.
  • Before you ship your package to the U.K., make sure the contents do not fall into the prohibited or restricted categories; otherwise your package could be forfeited or held up at customs. customers can see real-time restrictions within the software or you can get more info here.

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.

Top Questions & Video: International Shipping Webinar

September 24th, 2014 Comments off recently participated in a webinar for the Top Rated Seller Webinar series, a monthly webinar that focuses on helping eBay sellers expand sales.  The October topic was “Best Practices for International Shipping” and it featured Bryan Goodman and Jason Smith from If you missed the webinar, watch the recording below.

Here are the top questions and answers from the webinar:

#1  What is the best shipping option to Alaska & Hawaii? While carriers like FedEx and UPS charge additional fees to mail to Alaska and Hawaii, the USPS mails to Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam and other U.S. territories for the same cost of domestic postage.   So if you live in Dallas and need to send a package to Alaska, it is the same price as sending a package to Houston.  (Eric Nash/

#2  Why doesn’t Mexico order anything from me? I have the country turned on, yet I never get any sales – is there a way to get listed better in search? Mexico has never been a great one for sales for me, only a few here and there. Not sure it is worth the time and effort to market there.  Better to concentrate on getting sales everywhere.  Perhaps use of social media targeting Mexico might improve visibility.   (Bryan/Jason –

#3  What insurance do you recommend for First Class International packages? Your best bet is to use a private insurance program such as Insurance (insured by, U-PIC or others.  These programs allow you to insure all mail classes including First Class Package International Service and they are much cheaper than USPS insurance.  Also, you can file claims online and claims are typically processed within 7-10 business days. (Eric Nash/

#4  Is there a way to set up the eBay International Shipping Calculator to calculate the shipping costs plus a small handling fee from seller in eBay? Yes, there is a way to add handling fees for international packages.  You should see a handling fee box at in the pricing area. This image should show you where:    (Bryan/Jason –

#5  Would you have any advice for shipping expensive items (anywhere from $250 – $1,000) internationally? I would suggest using Priority Mail Express International (formerly known as Express Mail International).  The service comes with $200 of insurance and packages are delivered within 3-5 business days, with money-back guarantee for certain destinations.  You also get complete tracking. (Eric Nash/

#6  Who does the Global Shipping Program benefit and how much does it cost?  What does the buyer get charged for shipping? It benefits those sellers who are afraid to sell internationally by giving you an added layer of protection. As a seller you need to get the item to a warehouse in Kentucky. The only cost is what it costs to ship the item to Kentucky.  The Global Shipping Program handles the rest.  Best way to see what a buyer is charged is to view your listing from another county’s website.  (Bryan/Jason –

#7  When will work on a Mac? will not be building out a dedicated software product for Macs.  Customers using a Mac can use our Online Product, which is completely web-based.  Batch imports (method that allows you to import orders from eBay, Amazon, Etsy, etc.) is currently being developed for the Online product.   ETA is in early 2014. You can see an example of Online at .  (Eric Nash/

#8  What is the benefit of using over just printing labels from eBay? Can I use it for my Amazon shipments? is built for people who need to speed up their shipping process.  Printing labels inside is much quicker than eBay Shipping, USPS Click-N-Ship or other shipping software programs.  Also, you can import orders from multiple eBay accounts into one interface, as well as import orders from Amazon, Etsy, Shopping Carts, PayPal, and other marketplaces/data sources.  This turns into a shipping label management system.  You can print labels by product, box size, destination, etc.  (Eric Nash/

#9  Should I wrap/package things differently when selling internationally? Not really, unless you expect it to get rougher handling or be exposed to extreme weather elements that could potentially harm what is inside.  Just realize that these shipments are subject to being opened by authorities so you may want to make it fairly easy to open and be re-wrapped.  (Bryan/Jason –

#10  When do I need to include that plastic envelope on my package for the Customs Forms? The customs envelope is for the USPS Form 2976-A Customs Form, which includes 4 copies of the standard Customs Form.  Generally speaking, you need to include this on any Priority Mail International or Priority Mail Express International package.  If you are shipping with First Class Package International Service, generally you can use the USPS Form 2976 Customs Form, which is a one page form. (Eric Nash/

#11  Do you have a list of countries that currently support First Class Package International Service Tracking? Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, and Switzerland. (Eric Nash/

#12  If the customer doesn’t receive their package, do you refund the customer for the item and shipping? Yes, how would you want to be handled if you purchased an item and it never arrived?  (Bryan/Jason –

#13  I have shipped International for years, I always enclose packing slip, do I need to always do that? suggests you always include a packing slip in your international packages.  Some countries require it as your package goes through Customs.  Also, if the label ever came off during shipping, a packing slip with the sender’s address and recipient’s address will help the local postal authority properly identify the package. (Eric Nash/

#14  I have a lot of problem with UK shipments not being delivered and therefore we have stopped shipping items there. Any suggestions? Keep shipping to the UK. Very few problems and now with better tracking your problems should be minimized.  (Bryan/Jason –

#15 How do you track a package once it passes customs? USPS tracking for international packages is getting better every day.  This image  shows examples of how a Priority Mail package travels to its final destination.  Note:  Tracking is different for every country, but the USPS continues to try and improve/standardize the tracking. (Eric Nash/

#16  How do you protect against us sending an item and then a customer deciding against paying the custom fees or taxes and doesn’t pick up the item, and then contacts us that they didn’t get it. We then are required to refund the customer! I find this is happening way too often. This may be an instance where you might want to consider using the Global Shipping Program.  (Bryan/Jason –

#17  How do we know how much a buyer has to pay for customs, or is that already included in the calculated shipping price? When you are shipping an item to an international destination yourself, the buyer would be responsible for researching the import fees (known as “landing costs”).  The buyer would need to go to the specific country’s Customs site, where all the fees and tariffs would be listed for specific products.  These listings are normally very general in listing (i.e. “men’s shoes” rather than “Nike Air Jordans”).  If a seller uses eBay’s Global Shipping Program, all of the tariffs, taxes and duty fees are shown to the buyer along with a brokerage fee.  (Eric Nash/

#18  Do you offer return policy for international shipping? Sure, same as US, buyer pays for return shipping.   (Bryan/Jason –

#19  I use Inkfrog with for shipping and the International labels print with the Electronic Delivery Confirmation to the additional countries recently added for First Class Package International Service. When I go to directly to print labels to any for these countries, I don’t get the Electronic Delivery Confirmation.  Why is this happening? You need to download the latest version of the software.  The current version of is Version 10.5. You can download it at  (Eric Nash/

#20  Another very important point to consider is Paypal Seller Protection plan does not cover all countries.  Do you still sell into countries not covered by Paypal Seller Protections? Yes, but if it was a very expensive item I would consider alternative ways to guarantee arrival such as Priority Mail Express International  (Bryan/Jason –

#21  Does show list of prohibited items per country? Yes. When using, the program automatically will show the product prohibited items/restrictions in a window next to the package details.  The window will automatically appear based on the country you are shipping your package to, pulling the data from the address field. You can see an example of this window at (Eric Nash/

#22  Can we use label paper for the one page Customs Form? Yes, the one page Customs Form (USPS Form 2976) can be printed on regular paper or on a 4″x6″ adhesive label and placed directly on your package.  No Customs envelope is needed. (Eric Nash/

#23  Is there a $400 limit on Priority Mail International. Or can we ship higher value items with Priority Mail International by providing additional forms/documentation? For regular Priority Mail International packages, you are able to mail an item up to $2,500 in value as you normally would.  If your item is over $2,500 in value, you’ll need to include an Internal Transaction Number (ITN) number on the Customs Form and you may be required to get a license or perform other actions.

There is a $400 limit for smaller Priority Mail International packages.  Those packages are ONLY the Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelope (regular, legal sized or padded) and the Priority Mail International Small Flat Rate Box.  For those packages/envelopes, and only those packages, the contents may not exceed $400 in value. (Eric Nash/

#24  Priority Mail Express International to Russia required us to go to the Post Office. However, Priority Mail International to Russia for the same package was accepted. What is the logic? As long as you print your shipping label using online postage, you should not need to drop your package off at the Post Office.   When you use online postage, the software prints an electronic round stamp on the Customs Form.  This electronic round stamps indicates to the USPS you are a “Known Mailer” (you have an established online postage account in good standing) and you may give your international package to your daily mail carrier.  You do not need to go to the Post Office.

About and Jason Smith and Bryan Goodman are Top Rated Sellers who have each been selling on eBay for over 12 years. Nearly all of the products they sell come from thrift stores. Known in the eBay community as “Thrifting with the Boys,” Jason and Bryan are regular guests on eBay Radio and have presented to standing room-only audiences at eBay on Location, eBay Radio Party and other e-commerce events. They also serve as Worthologists for Worthpoint, lead a popular Facebook group and offer thrifting excursions. Jason and Bryan recently created a new shipping educational website called, where they share knowledge, advice and success stories on how to ship products worldwide.

Top Rated Seller Webinars is a FREE monthly webinar series that provides educational information for eBay and e-commerce sellers.  The webinar series is underwritten by, PageMage, Outright, eBay Radio, Terapeak and Kabbage.

USPS to Resume Overseas Shipping of Lithium Batteries

September 24th, 2014 Comments off
USPS to Resume Overseas Shipping of Lithium Batteries
As of November 15, 2012, the USPS will resume shipping packages that contain lithium batteries to many international destinations, including APO/FPO locations. Lithium batteries are included in many popular electronic devices such as iPads, Kindles, smartphones, cameras and other electronic devices.
In March 2012, the USPS banned the shipment of lithium batteries in order to comply with standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the Universal Postal Union (UPU). The batteries can explode or catch fire in certain conditions during overseas transport.
The USPS is still prohibiting lithium batteries that are not installed in the equipment they are intended to operate.
Get more info on the International Acceptanace of Lithium Batteries from the USPS.
Battery Image: Courtesy of

lithium-batteriesAs of November 15, 2012, the USPS will resume shipping packages that contain lithium batteries to many international destinations, including APO/FPO locations.

Lithium batteries are included in many popular electronic devices such as iPads, Kindles, smartphones, cameras and other electronic devices.

In March 2012, the USPS banned the shipment of lithium batteries in order to comply with standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the Universal Postal Union (UPU). The batteries can explode or catch fire in certain conditions during overseas transport.

The USPS is still prohibiting lithium batteries that are not installed in the equipment they are intended to operate.  Get more info on the International Acceptance of Lithium Batteries from the USPS website.

Battery Image: Courtesy of

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