International courier shipping done right - An expert guide


Written by Kimberley Hughes

International courier shipping is your chance to take your business global. With online shopping and social media virality there’s no telling where your next community of loyal customers will come from.

Depending on your company’s journey so far, opening up to another country can be a major step. It’s one that while rewarding, can be tricky to get right, which is why we’ve put together an expert’s guide for international courier shipping. We’ll run you through the importance of a robust strategy, how you can choose the best international courier for your business, and some of the courier companies you should consider. Let’s take a look.

Manage shipping internationally

Why it’s important to have an international courier shipping strategy

As with any new venture for your business, having a strategy for offering international shipping is going to greatly increase your chances of success. New markets come with a host of factors to consider – different regulations, more pricing variation and potentially higher customer expectations as well.

Some of the key questions your international courier shipping strategy should include are:

  • Why is having a global reach important? Research by McKinsey found that growth in cross-border sales is continuing to surge. Not only are customers buying more online, but also buying more from overseas retailers. Are you limiting your business by only serving domestic customers?

  • What do customers expect? According to Shopify, online shoppers expect businesses to offer international courier shipping services. What can you do to satisfy this growing audience?

  • How can you turn this into a competitive advantage? The same Shopify article recommends investigating how your product or service fits into a new market. What do you do best? What are international customers searching for on your website? Answering these questions will help you stand out.

    Expanding into new markets can help you retain existing customers too. By connecting with more international couriers and building partnerships, you can find better ways to serve those loyal shoppers who have stuck by you, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

Choosing the best international courier for your business

Put simply: the best international courier is the one that can meet your needs. If you’ve planned out a comprehensive international shipping strategy, you should have a good idea about what you want to offer new customers, why you’re taking this step and - most importantly - what you need from your partners. We can help you figure that out.

What to look for when choosing international courier shipping services

If you’ve built successful relationships with couriers already, you’re probably pretty familiar with what to look for in a new partner. Just to be sure, here are some questions to ask yourself when choosing international courier shipping services:

  • How do their international courier rates work? It’s important to find out how these rates may impact any of your current shipping offers or deals like “free shipping for orders over $50”.
  • How much longer does international courier shipping take? Check what you’ve promised your customers across your website, socials and order confirmation emails and ensure these line up with your new international delivery estimates.
  • Have you worked with them before? Building relationships takes time and could affect your ability to offer special deals, or simply to get used to a new process with an international courier.
  • Where are they based and what is their reach? It’s good to get an understanding of how many countries they serve, but also what their local support is like. Find out if they have a fulfillment centre near you, or customer service representatives that operate in your time zone.

What does the best courier service for international shipping look like?

Some key attributes we associate with the best courier service for international shipping include:

Delivery speed and reliability

The best international courier shipping services should have a proven track record across multiple destinations. It’s essential for them to be able to meet delivery estimates and ship safely in all countries they service, and they should also be able to tell you how long international shipping will take for each order.

Global coverage

The best international couriers also offer extensive international reach, and operate consistently and effectively in all the countries they deliver to. Using a courier with a strong brand in the country you’re expanding to can help to grow your reputation with new customers.

Cost effectiveness

This can be a tough balance to strike, but the best international couriers can offer competitive pricing without sacrificing the quality and reliability of the shipments. These options should also have a clear pricing structure that enables you to provide accurate shipping cost estimates to international shoppers.

Helpful men at desk_laptop

Tracking and customer support

Customers expect tracking for orders going across a city, so those being sent across international borders also need to be tracked. Being able to offer these options is essential for building trust with new international customers. On the rare chance something does go wrong, competent customer support can be the difference between keeping or losing a customer.

Customs and compliance expertise

This is a big one. While we recommend you familiarise yourself with customs and compliance requirements with any new market, chances are it will take you a while to become an expert. This is where choosing the best courier service for international shipping can really make a difference. You need to build a relationship with a carrier you can trust to navigate customs and compliance concerns in any new market you start shipping to. It will make life much easier for you and your customers.

Did you know: Customs documentation can be automated for DHL Express when using Starshipit! Here's an article to find out how to reduce this headache.

Consider your target audience and what they will be looking for in their delivery experience too

International courier companies to consider: Who does international shipping?

There are plenty of international courier companies out there, so we’ve taken the time to list them all in one place so you can review your options. Not only does the following selection cover some of the most recognisable and reputable brands in the industry, they’re also integration partners with Starshipit! Let’s see what they offer.

DHL international shipping

Does DHL ship internationally? It does! And on top of that, DHL international shipping services are made even better when you integrate with Starshipit. When you fulfill your DHL eCommerce international shipping orders through our platform, you can expect key features like:

  • Accurate DHL shipping prices displayed through our dashboard.
  • Showing customers an updated DHL Express international shipping time.
  • Access to the best international DHL shipping rates, even without a carrier account.
  • Branded shipping labels for your DHL eCommerce shipping orders.
  • DHL international shipping tracking across more than 200 countries.
  • Answers for key questions like “how much is DHL international shipping?”
  • Automated customs documentation within the Starshipit platform.

Fedex international shipping

One of the most iconic international courier brands, whether you’re a new business owner or stranded on a desert island. Fedex international shipping is one of the gold standards, and with integration through the Starshipit platform you can partner with this leading organisation.

Integrating Starshipit with FedEx means you can:

  • Reduce Fedex international shipping rates to make cross-border deliveries more affordable.
  • Access global tracking to monitor Fedex international courier orders and keep customers happy.
  • Automate orders to use Fedex international shipping.

USPS international shipping

USPS international shipping is your gateway for growth in North America and beyond. How much is USPS international shipping? You can find out by integrating USPS into your Starshipit platform. You can also:

  • Display USPS international shipping rates for your customers.
  • Help customers with tracking USPS international shipping orders.
  • Reduce your USPS international shipping cost and access competitive prices.

Australia Post international shipping

Commonly abbreviated to “Auspost”, this international courier is great for connecting your business from Australasia to the rest of the world. It’s also just one of many international shipping couriers that integrate with Starshipit. This partnership means that whether you’re using eParcel Standard, Express Post or MyPost Business with them, we can help you with a number of your Auspost international shipping needs. This could include:

  • Informing customers of Auspost international shipping times.
  • Reducing Auspost international shipping cost with each order you send.
  • Use the full range of destinations that international shipping with Auspost can connect you to.
Royal Mail and Starshipit Integration

Royal Mail international shipping

What about Europe? Based in the UK, Royal Mail international shipping connects business with their customers throughout the continent and even further afield. Integrating Royal Mail with Starshipit can save you time on every order, and makes it simple to:

  • Negotiate the best Royal Mail international shipping rates.
  • Track Royal Mail courier orders no matter where you’re sending them.
  • Add time-saving automation into your fulfillment processes.

TNT international shipping

With service to over 200 counties, TNT international shipping is another reliable courier network that can help your business expand to new markets. Like the other international courier services on this list, TNT integrates with Starshipit to save you time and money on your fulfillment needs. With this integration you can:

  • Integrate with Shopify, Magneto and other eCommerce platforms to make international shipping a breeze.
  • Negotiate the best TNT international shipping rates to make it affordable for customers.
  • Track TNT international shipping orders across the globe for peace of mind.
International Shipping_eBook

Download our eBook on international shipping

Choosing an international shipping courier is just one part of the process of sending orders overseas. To learn more about how to manage customs requirements and the technology that can help you achieve international shipping success, download our eBook today.

Download the guide

Wrap up: What we’ve learned about international courier shipping

Choosing the right courier for your international orders is essential when it comes to expanding your business into new markets. Whether it’s a courier you’ve already built a relationship with, or a global brand with connections in hundreds of countries, make sure they have a proven track record with competitive rates and comprehensive tracking services.

To make your international courier shipping strategy even more successful, use a shipping fulfillment platform like Starshipit. Our platform can integrate with the best international courier companies to help you access the most competitive rates and automate your workflow to save time, money and effort across the board.

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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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