How to ship perfume internationally

How to ship perfume internationally – Including carrier guides (FedEx, DHL and more)


Written by Kimberley Hughes

Shipping perfume internationally is a growing business. Sure, there’s still a charm to trying fancy fragrances in high-end stores, but once people find a favourite, they’ll usually want to get their hands on it as quickly and reliably as possible.

A report from Statista found that nearly 780 million shoppers are buying their signature scents on eCommerce platforms. In this $3 billion market for fragrances, 25% of perfume and cologne sales are made online.

If your business sells fragrances to a range of markets, you might be wondering how to ship perfume internationally while abiding by the range of customs rules and regulations. If you’re looking to learn about courier guidelines and packaging best practices, we’ve got you covered.

Understanding international shipping regulations for perfume

The most important international shipping regulation to keep in mind when shipping perfume is that it counts as a dangerous good. While perfumes and colognes are made up of a range of different ingredients, the alcohol content makes them flammable and therefore subject to strict regulations when shipping internationally.

Specifically, perfumes and colognes are Class 3 Dangerous Goods which will impact everything from packaging requirements, courier availability and customs rules at each destination. It’s important to be aware of the destination regulations for all the countries you currently ship to and to review the rules each time you open up to a new market as well. Having packages held up or rejected due to customs issues is a real risk for companiesand could mean missing out on that lucrative international market for fragrances.

Starshipit Dashboard Merge

Starshipit tip

With our software you can set up automation rules that automatically assign dangerous goods orders to the couriers that are able to transport them. This means you can rest assured knowing your perfume products will be handled with care by the carriers able to transport them – and you’re keeping things above board!

How to package perfume for shipping overseas

Perfume’s status as a dangerous good means you need to take extra care with its packaging. On top of that, fragrances are often a luxury purchase that relies on good branding, so any damage to the bottle or box could impact customer satisfaction.

Shipping internationally is already a challenge when it comes to putting an order together, so here are some tips for how to package perfume when shipping overseas:

1. Have the right packaging materials

If a fragile perfume bottle breaks during shipping, it’s not just your order that could be compromised. Remember these international orders are travelling thousands of kilometres and could be handled by people and conveyor belts, as they’re moved from van to plane to truck to container. A fragile sticker is a warning, but it won’t actually offer any protection. There are a few options for packing around the bottle including:

  • Bubble wrap
  • Packing peanuts
  • Leak-proof packaging

If your company is trying to make its shipping more sustainable, this is a great place to start. More eco-friendly options for filler and packaging are hitting the market and can greatly reduce your waste footprint.

2. Package perfume effectively

The right packaging materials for shipping perfume internationally then need to be put in the right kind of box. A handful of packing peanuts in an oversized box is going to put the product at a greater risk of damage. Take care when you’re boxing up perfumes and remember to:

  • Select a box that can fit snugly around the perfume’s original packaging
  • Prioritise leak-proof boxes and containers
  • Never put two glass bottles in the same box
  • Fill any gaps with packaging materials
  • Tape an “X” over any screw top bottles

3. Label orders correctly

This is one of the big challenges when it comes to shipping perfume internationally. Any time a package contains dangerous goods, it is subject to a strict set of rules determining what has to be displayed on the various shipping labels. While this may vary by courier or destination country, generally when shipping perfume internationally a package will require:

  • A courier label with address and other product details
  • A dangerous goods label clearly stating what class the contents belong to
    • Perfume is a Class 3 dangerous good and has the designation UN 1266
  • Relevant customs information included within the package

Starshipit tip

Our “scan to select packaging” feature notifies staff to put orders with strict requirements in the correct packaging.

Starshipit and FedEx Integration

Can you ship perfume internationally with FedEx?

Now that you know how to package perfume for shipping, you’ll want to familiarise yourself with the requirements of your shipping partners. FedEx is a global shipping leader that’s experienced in sending products all over the globe and has a range of services that can help you ship perfume overseas.

When shipping dangerous goods with them, FedEx expects you to:

  • Correctly identify a shipment as containing dangerous goods while using the correct class code, UN Number and technical definition for the item.
  • Have items securely packed with the proper declarations and labels as expected by customs in the destination country.
  • Take shipping perfume international seriously and know there are strict penalties for those who don’t follow the guidelines.

Some of the key FedEx services you can use to make your international shipping as smooth as possible include:

  • Online cost estimators
  • Guidance for filling out and submitting customs documentation
  • A range of delivery speed options, including Day-Definite eCommerce Shipping and International Next Flight for the fastest possible transport

Can you ship perfume internationally with DHL?

DHL’s branding is recognisable for a reason, with its red and yellow vans, trucks and planes spotted all over the world. Naturally, the company is no stranger to shipping dangerous goods internationally and has a robust set of guidelines for sending perfume overseas.

DHL recommends you:

  • Select the right shipping method: DHL notes air freight is a favoured option for shipping perfume due to the controlled environment it is stored in. However, sea freight can be more cost-effective.
  • Understand the regulations in the destination country: Along with the correct documentation, you’ll have to comply with laws around the quantity of liquids you can ship in one package.

DHL is one of many leading couriers that integrates with Starshipit to automate the dangerous goods shipping process. We can help automate the process with custom rules that flag shipments with special conditions and assign them to couriers that are able to reliably deliver them.

Can you ship perfume internationally with UPS?

Like other major couriers, UPS has strict guidelines for shipping perfume internationally that you’ll need to follow. This includes the best-practice packaging guidelines we outlined above, as well as ensuring you’re following all requirements around shipping dangerous goods.

When shipping perfume internationally with UPS, you can choose from a range of options to get your orders to customers, including:

  • UPS Express Critical – for the most urgent orders
  • UPS Worldwide Express Plus – for orders that can take 2-5 days
  • Standard Shipping, Day Definite – for orders on a budget
Starshipit and Australia Post Integration

Can you send perfume through Australia Post?

Australia Post also has very strict guidelines for shipping perfume internationally, but thankfully offers a detailed guide for which items are restricted and how to manage shipping them.

To package liquid dangerous goods like perfumes effectively, Australia Post requires you to:

  • Pack the product in a leak-proof container.
  • Ensure the bottle is surrounded by a strong outer shell like another box with packing materials.
  • Include absorbent packing material where possible in case of any leaks in transit.

If you integrate Australia Post with Starshipit, you can manage dangerous goods orders from a central dashboard, and even use automation to ensure the right courier is selected for orders like these that require more care.

Wrap up

Shipping perfume internationally is possible with the right partners and the right tools to help you. By taking care to package orders according to dangerous goods regulations, and by using platforms like Starshipit to assign orders to reliable couriers, you can make it easier to ship perfume and cologne to customers overseas. The more you plan ahead to align with these experienced international shipping partners, the easier this process will be.

International Shipping_eBook

If you’re thinking about expanding your business into international markets, make sure you download our eBook “How to grow your eCommerce business with international shipping”. It’ll guide you through the complexities of cross-border shipping to build a strategy for success!

Ready to take the next step? Start a free trial and see how Starshipit can optimise your international shipping processes with strategic automation.

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Kimberley Hughes

Kimberley Hughes

Kimberley is Starshipit's Content Marketing Lead. Her days are filled with creative storytelling and innovative content strategies. Off the clock, she's an all-seasons iced coffee fan, a Catan strategist, and skincare explorer. For a peek into her world, find her on LinkedIn.

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