Expanding Your Etsy Business With International Shipping

Looking to bump up your Etsy business? Look no farther than your grade-school globe for a solution. You already have an international audience on Etsy, so tap into this market and reap the rewards, both professionally and financially. Read on to learn how to sell and ship internationally, it’s truly a small world after all.

Shipping Internationally — Both Easy And Profitable

Many Etsy sellers find themselves wary of venturing outside of familiar territory. Luckily for you, there are numerous resources that help take the unknown out of the international sales equation.

For example, if you’re unsure about currency conversion, PayPal adjusts currency automatically, so there’s no need to calculate rates or exercise your math muscles. Currently serving 190 countries with 17 currencies, PayPal accepts an incredible variety of global payment methods.

If the language barrier concerns you, consider starting your international presence with English-speaking countries, like the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, all of which have postal systems with established infrastructure and communication in English. As a bonus, these three countries happen make up 48 percent of all international sales!

First-Class Mail International: The Affordable Way To Ship Internationally

Now that we’ve established how simple it is to establish an international foothold, it’s time to put our money where our mouth is.

If you’re looking to boost sales with a worldwide audience, it’s also important to consider how shipping costs may impact your bottom line. While it’s true that shipping to another country can be a pricey proposition, shipping worldwide with First-Class Mail International is convenient, affordable and hassle-free.

Let’s say you sold a $20 jewelry set to a customer in France—oh la la! Before you start imagining your wares making a statement on the Champs Elysees, consider that sending a 1-pound package Priority Mail International will cost you (or your customer) an estimated $30. That’s 150 percent of your product cost! Alternatively, First-Class Mail International for the same item runs just $11.60, which is 58 percent of the product cost. That’s a much easier number to absorb or pass on to your tres chic new customer.

Considerations For First-Class Mail International

First-Class Mail International is simple and affordable, but not without its drawbacks. For one, there’s no delivery confirmation available, so if your buyer complains that she never received the package, you’ll be liable for making it right. Doing this occasionally for a $20 pair of earrings won’t necessarily put you in the red, but if you deal in higher-value goods, your bottom line will suffer.

Also note that delivery times via First-Class Mail International aren’t guaranteed. Depending on the destination, your package could arrive in as few as 5 days, or as many as 25. If you base your business on reliability and quick shipping, this could come back to haunt you, so be clear when communicating with your international clients about the timeframe.

Finally, First-Class Mail International has strict sizing regulations. The maximum weight allowed for First-Class Mail International is 4 pounds; the length of your package can’t be more than 24 inches, and combined weight/length/height cannot exceed 36 inches. That means a 12 x 12 x 14 box wouldn’t qualify for First-Class Mail International, and you’d have to revisit your packaging materials or else consider another shipping option.

First-Class Mail International — It’s Simple!

Shipping via First-Class Mail International is a snap. Either go to the Post Office, or use a service like Stamps.com that allows you to purchase labels online. You don’t need special USPS envelopes, packaging or labels; simply prepare your letters, flats and packages as you would for domestic mail. (Certain online services, like Stamps.com, enable you to print shipping labels from the convenience of your home or office.)

Ensure that your package doesn’t contain contents that are unacceptable to send to the recipient’s country by consulting the International Mail Manual or via the automatic service provided by online services like Stamps.com. (Did you know you can’t send lottery tickets to Luxembourg?)

For letters less than 1 ounce or thinner than 3/4 inches, you won’t need a customs form. For packages and larger envelopes, complete Customs Form PS-2976 (short form); if you use a service like Stamps.com, the software automatically completes the form for you. And if you’re nervous about the lack of delivery confirmation, it’s easy to buy package insurance for your international shipments to eliminate the risk of lost or misdelivered items. You can establish a small “handling fee” to cover this cost, or offer it as an option to your customer.

The World At Your Feet

Whether you’re looking for a worldwide presence for your Etsy store or it’s already getting attention across the border, the right shipping choice can have a big impact on your business. Just follow these steps, and your Etsy store may be well on its way to international renown.