There was a time when visiting brick and mortar stores was the only way for persons to get the goods they needed...
There was a time when visiting brick and mortar stores was the only way for persons to get the goods they needed. Over the years, however, we have seen a rise in the number of businesses that are incorporating e-commerce into their commercial model. Some of them are even entirely based online. According to Shopify, more than 2 billion people will have sourced goods and services online by 2021. Between 2020 and 2023, the revenue earned on a global scale would have moved from $4.2 trillion to $6.5 trillion.
With the number of e-commerce businesses growing, the market has become very competitive. In fact, there is even the concern that certain markets may even be saturated. This is why it’s essential for business owners to look for ways to stand out in their current markets and expand into other markets when they can. One of the ways you can do this is to focus on adding other delivery options to your business.
This article will focus on a certain type of delivery that is known as ePacket shipping or ePacket delivery. By using this option, you can expand your supply chain past your store’s physical limitations. When done right, you’ll be able to reach more customers than before and possibly dip into a market that’s less saturated than the one you’re currently occupying.
If you’re looking into ePacket shipping as a way to expand your business, then there’s a lot you need to know. When you read this comprehensive article, you’ll learn more about this type of shipping and how it can help to grow your business.
ePacket shipping comes into play when persons source products from China and Hong Kong with the intention to have them delivered elsewhere in the world. As the name would suggest, it’s a service that’s reserved strictly for e-commerce transactions. That means anyone who is ordering products from an online store.
Before the creation of ePacket delivery in 2011, persons who ordered products online from China or Hong Kong had two options. They could pay for fast, expensive shipping or wait a long time for the more affordable delivery by the Chinese Express Mail Service. This made the prospect of running an e-commerce business less attractive.
Fortunately, the United States Postal Service stepped up ad reached agreements with postal services in China and Hong Kong. Through this agreement, persons ordering from these countries get subsidized access to faster delivery services. While this was mostly used by individuals in the earlier years, more businesses are taking advantage of it.
With ePacket shipping, you can grow the e-commerce segment of your business by sourcing goods online for your customers and delivering them wherever they’re needed. Using this delivery option may also grow your customer base significantly as you wouldn’t be limited to serving the persons closest to you.
Before you get started with that side of your business, however, let’s look at the ePacket shipping service more closely.
As with any other addition to your business model, it’s best to assess your ePacket shipping options thoroughly before making your move. This would include making note of all the pros and cons that come with the practice. In this section, we’ll look at some of the good and not-so-good elements associated with this form of delivery. Once you have all the information that’s relevant to your business, you’ll know how to move forward.
Even ePacket shipping is open to many business owners, there are still rules that need to be followed. If you’re going to offer this type of delivery option to your customers, it’s essential that you get things right. The last thing you want is poor customer service reviews for your new service. That means you need to know everything about ePacket shipping requirements and be compliant at all times.
Generally, the requirements that qualify a business owner to use ePacket shipping are set by the US Postal Service. The standard deals with areas like the size and weight of the packages. The price or value of the packet is also important.
The size of a package is determined by its measured dimensions. At the minimum, a regular or flat package should be 14cm long and 11 cm wide. Packages that are rolled should be at least 11 cm long. When you double the diameter of the package and add the length, you should get at least 17 cm.
When it comes to the maximum measurements, the longest side of regular or flat packages must not be more than 60 cm. If you add up the figures for the length, width, and height, you shouldn’t get more than 90 cm. For rolled up packages, their longest side is limited to 90 cm. If you add the length to twice the packages’ diameter, the figure shouldn’t be more than 104 cm.
For products that are too small to meet the minimum requirements, it’s customary to use fillers and larger boxes to meet the limit.
When determining a package’s weight, both the product and packaging materials are considered. The weight limit for most ePacket countries is 2kg or 4.4 lbs. Currently, the only exception is Israel, which allows packages up to 3kg or 6.6 lbs.
Any packages that are being delivered through ePacket shipping must not value more than US$400.
While you can’t deliver to every corner of the globe, there are currently 44 ePacket countries that you can choose from. Of course, just because a country is on the list, it doesn’t mean that every kind of product can be delivered there via ePacket shipping. When shopping, make sure to confirm which countries are available for that particular product. The countries that support ePacket shipping are:
13. Great Britain
15. Hong Kong
28. New Zealand
33. Saudi Arabia
36. South Korea
42. United Kingdom
43. United States
Bear in mind that even though a country is on the list of those that support ePacket shipping, there may still be some limitations on deliveries within the countries or their respective territories. For example, while you can deliver to all states in the U.S., there are restrictions when it comes to France.
If you’re using ePacket shipping, you can only ship to areas in mainland France that have zip codes from 01 to 95. You also won’t be able to deliver to certain French territories such as Martinique, Corsica, and Guadeloupe, among others.
The aim is to have an increasingly global reach, though so the list is being continuously updated. It’s a good idea to keep checking for updates so you can inform your customers when more locations have become available.
It’s essential to note that custom-based taxes and fees are not only associated with ePacket shipping. As long as packages are being shipped internationally, there could be fees attached. These fees are to facilitate the necessary steps that are involved in clearing packages that have come into the country.
While any applicable customs fees or taxes would need to be paid by the customer, it’s helpful to let them know when they might need to make those payments. The actual amount of money that could be owed depends on the package and the country so do your research. For example, some products will attract no fees when shipped to the U.S. On the other hand, countries like Canada may have higher fees than other countries.
If the product you’re interested in is popular, your supplier may already have an idea of what the fees or taxes are. It’s recommended that you ask them so you can be upfront with your customers as well. Similarly, it would be good to keep your own database of fees and taxes on hand so you can be informed.
You might be able to get the information from online sources or you could ask the persons you communicate with along the supply chain. As the number of e-commerce businesses on the market grows, it could be interesting to set yourself apart by providing this kind of useful information to your customers.
Since you’re providing an online-based service, it’s imperative that you know how to keep track of the packets your customers have ordered. This information will guide you on how long it takes for the package to leave its source and get to your customer. It will also give you the opportunity to accurately update customers on the status of their packages.
When it comes to your customers’ orders, the more information you can provide the better it will be for you.
How to Track Your Packages When Using EPacket Shipping
Tracking has been mentioned several times throughout this article and it’s fairly easy to do when you use ePacket shipping. Once you place an order, a unique code will be generated that represents your purchase. You can use this number to check the status of your order until it’s ready to be shipped.
At the point of shipping, you should receive an official tracking number. With this number you can track your package using the different postal services. Generally, the number includes a reference to which postal service will be involved in delivering the package.
Even with this service, however, you might have trouble pinpointing the exact location of your product depending on where it is in the process. Postal service websites may only tell you that the package has left its country of origin, is on route or has reached its intended country.
Some ePacket-friendly websites like AliExpress have found a way to help customers with this issue. They usually provide more comprehensive information when it comes to where packages are. You might see additional information such as that the package has left the supplier’s warehouse, has been handed over the airline, is being cleared by customs or is on its way to its final destination.
If you’re not using a website that offers that kind of guidance, you may find third-party tracking platforms to be helpful. A few of the resources you can look into are PackageTrackr, Track-China Post, 17track and AfterShip. By using the tracking number you received when the package was shipped, you can use these platforms to get more detailed information on the status of your package.
The good thing about using websites or third-party platforms that offer detailed tracking is that you don’t have to keep checking the sites. They usually offer updates via email or text message. In some cases, you can use the information they provide to analyze trends in your purchase deliveries.
Persons who are just starting out with an e-commerce site like Shopify will also benefit from using third-party tracking platforms. Generally, they integrate well with these sites to provide added assurance to you and your customers. Before you get started, however, make sure you confirm which platforms work well together so the process can be seamless.
The time it takes for a package to reach its destination varies according to the country. In general, though, packages should reach their intended address within 20 business days. This of course, is based on the assumption that nothing has happened to delay the movements of any section of the postal services.
A customer’s delivery may face delays during busier times such as Christmas or local celebration period. If your package is being ordered during a public holiday, you can expect things to take a little longer as well. Should there be an emergency situation in the country of origin, it’s best to reach out to the supplier so you can know how to proceed.
When it comes to the United States, packages should arrive between 10 – 20 business days. Other countries like Vietnam may receive a delivery as early as 7 business days after the order has been placed.
Customers in Mexico should get their delivery within 20 business days, while those in Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Ukraine can expect deliveries between 7 and 15 business days. Currently, Brazil has the longest delivery time which is 30 business days.
To ensure your customers aren’t disappointed or frustrated by delivery times, it may be best to give a generous range. It would also be good to let your customers know that orders placed at a particular time of year might have a longer delivery time. Just in case, it’s a good idea to develop a back-up plan, especially when it comes to more affordable products.
If a package is taking much longer than expected to reach its destination, consider ordering another in its place. At all times, communication is the key to maintaining excellent relationships with your customers. Keep on top of tracking packages so that you are proactive in your approach. Even though the customer is able to track their packages online, as the supplier, you might be able to provide more in-depth information about why a package has been delayed.
While ePacket shipping is popular, technically it’s not the only option. Since you’re investigating whether this type of shipping will work for your business, it makes sense to find out what other options exist. One example is eExpress, but shopping sites like AliExpress and Oberlo have their own options as well.
When checking out the alternatives, it’s vital to point out where they are similar and where there are differences. That information will help you come to a decision more easily. In this section we’ll look at how other delivery options stack up to ePacket shipping.
How Other Services May be Similar
How Other Services May be Different
When experts suggest business ideas for first-time entrepreneurs, e-commerce is usually high on the list. The same is true for businesses that are looking to expand or diversify in order to increase their sales. Easy delivery options like ePacket shipping is one of the reasons the online business idea continues to be considered profitable.
Whether you’re an established business owner or just starting out, this delivery service makes it easier for you to satisfy your customers’ needs. Many businesses are able to offer more affordable delivery options and products because they’re using ePacket shipping.
Additionally, having access to products from China and Hong Kong allows you to offer a wider range of products to your customers. Some items even have wholesale prices so it’s a great option if you’re getting significant traction from particular items. This could help to expand your customer base as buyers may be loyal to certain brands.
Another area that’s been appealing to business owners is private labeling. While it’s not for everybody, it’s certainly a great alternative for persons who want to sell products with their own brand. If you find a reputable company in China or Hong Kong, you can move from there. The same rules for ePacket shipping would still apply. The only difference is that you would just be focusing on your own line of products.
This article has covered quite a lot of information so there’s no doubt that you’ll need time to take it all in. If you’re still not 100% sure how ePacket shipping will work for your business, make sure to do your research before you call it quits. Many business owners are using ePacket shipping successfully and so could you.
Remember too that starting something new can be daunting until you get used to it so take things slowly. Always double-check that you’re complying with all the important regulations and use helpful apps or third-party tracking platforms when possible. It’s better to move carefully and accurately so you don’t disappoint your customers. When customers feel they have been ‘burnt’ by a company, it’s very hard to get them to return.
Finally, while there are some limitations to what you can ship using ePacket delivery services, you still have quite a few options. The key might be focusing on the particular items that are available to you and expanding from there. Delivery options and products are constantly being improved so what presents as a limitation now might not be that way a few months from now.
Now, that you have the information you need, you can move forward with starting or expanding your business.