[Shopify ePacket] Everything You Need to Know
Information about delivery seems to be flooding the Internet, with new and improved methods of
delivery popping as if from out of nowhere. The terminology of the logistics industry is ever
expanding, with each new term bringing with it a flood of new information.
ePacket delivery has been around since 2011. If you haven’t heard about it, read on to uncover the mystery of why China and Hong Kong sellers can offer their customers ridiculously cheap shipping rates, and how you might be able to hop on their cheap shipping wagon.
What Is ePacket Delivery
ePacket delivery is an end-to-end shipping service that relies on an agreement between postalservices of the US, Hong Kong, and China. The agreement, which was signed in 2011, grants Hong Kong and China subsidized USPS rates for the purpose of increasing e-commerce sales from Hong Kong and China.
If you were wondering how these countries were able to offer free or cheap shipping rates, here’s your answer—the US government is paying the shipping fees of China and Hong Kong. Fortunately, the agreement is beneficial to global e-commerce and especially to drop shippers and e-shop owners that make their money selling products from these countries.
ePacket delivery offers fast shipping of small packages that weigh up to 2 kg (4.4 lbs), provided the orders are valued under $400 (USD). ePacket delivery can be offered to almost any merchant interested in selling products from China or Hong Kong. Read on to find out if your products, business, and country qualify for ePacket delivery.
How ePacket Delivery Works
ePacket delivery is made up of the following stages of international shipping:
- Order pick-up from the manufacturer—handled by the local postal service (China EMS)
- International shipping—handled by the USPS
- Last mile delivery—handled by the country’s local postal service
This means ePacket delivery isn’t handled by one company and is subject to restrictions and changes by any of the participating services and countries.
Below, you’ll find information about the restrictions and benefits of ePacket delivery.
Restriction #1—What Orders Qualify for ePacket Delivery
As part of the agreement, the USPS has placed restrictions on the weight, value, and package size of the order, as follows:
- Maximum package weight = 2 kg (4.4l bs). The following materials count into the package weight:
- Product weight
- Filler material
- Shipping box
- Any packaging material around and inside the package
*Weight exception for packages bound for Israel = up to 3 kg (6.6 lbs).
- Max order value = $400 (US Dollars).
- Minimum package size:
- Regular packages = 14 centimeters long and 11 centimeters wide.
- Rolled packages = Length (a minimum of 11 centimeters) + diameter X2 = a minimum of 17 centimeters.
- Maximum package size:
- Regular packages = Length (max. 60 centimeters) + Width + Thickness = a minimum of 90 centimeters.
- Rolled packages = Length(max. 90 centimeters) + diameter X2 = a maximum of 104 centimeters.
Don’t be discouraged by all the numbers. If your product is smaller than the minimum package size, you can use a bigger package and add filler materials. You can also opt for shipping objects separately rather than consolidating everything into one package.
Restriction #2—Which Countries Qualify for ePacket Delivery
ePacket delivery was originally signed between the US, China, and Hong Kong. Since its inception in 2011, ePacket delivery has expanded and is now available in over 35 countries throughout the world.
Check out the following list to find out if ePacket ships to your target audience:
- Countries in Europe:
- United Kingdom
- Countries in The Americas:
- United States
- Countries in Asia:
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
- Saudi Arabia
- Countries in Oceania:
- New Zealand
How ePacket Delivery Can Help Your Business
If the two restrictions don’t apply to you, you can enjoy the benefits of ePacket delivery. The ePacket delivery agreement was created with e-commerce in mind and can help you increase the sales of products originating from China and Hong Kong.
The following list reviews the benefits of ePacket delivery:
- 10-20 days shipping from China and Hong Kong—before the ePacket delivery agreement, the average delivery time of orders from China was approximately 45 days. That’s 45 days until the customers received the order. In today’s e-commerce market, two-days and same-day shipping have become the norm. 45 days can hardly compete, but cheap or free 10-20 days shipping might do the trick.
- Cheap shipping rates—shipping rates vary for different countries and shipping service providers but maintain a significantly lower range than offered by any other shipping service. Be sure to check out the rates as they apply to China, Japan, and any manufacturer or business partner. The safest way to verify the ePacket delivery rate for each product is to contact the seller and ask for the information.
- Door-to-door China ePacket tracking—ePacket delivery eliminates the need to collect information from the different companies involved in the shipping cycle. Instead of hunting for information from China EMS and USPS for the sole purpose of tracking one order, you get first mile tracking. With no additional cost, you and your customers can track the order’s journey throughout the world until it reaches the customer’s door.
- Free returns on undeliverable items—returns can be a negative problem for companies and consumers alike. According to Statista, return deliveries will cost U.S sellers $550 billion by 2020. A 2015 research found that most consumers value easy returns more than free shipping. ePacket delivery prevents returns from turning into a negative experience for the customer and a negative bottom line for the e-shop.
- No customs fees for the e-seller—ePacket delivery ships the order directly from its origin to the customer, thus passing the responsibility of paying customs fees, duties, and any applicable taxes to the recipient. Keep in mind that it’s considered good service to inform your customers of the fact they’re responsible for paying these fees. You don’t have to provide customs and tax information during checkout, but find a visible place to ensure a positive purchase experience.
Is ePacket Delivery Right for You?
In business, as in life, there are no sure ways to guarantee success. You can, however, consider all the information at your disposal and take calculated risks.
If your business relies on selling products from China and Hong Kong, your packages qualify for ePacket delivery, and the average orders from your e-shop aren’t over $400 (USD)—you can get the cheap ePacket shipping rates with tracking and improved delivery time.
You can offer ePacket delivery as an additional delivery method to your customers, rather than using ePacket delivery exclusively. Giving customers flexible and convenient delivery options often translate into a positive delivery experience.
The good thing about ePacket delivery is that it eliminates many of the risks associated with delivery costs and maintenance. For qualified sellers, ePacket delivery can be a valuable method of growing at scale and limiting shipping costs and risks.
If you decide to integrate ePacket delivery into your delivery strategy, be sure to follow the news and get informed about any updates regarding the ePacket delivery.