UK E-commerce Business Tips for Sending Packages to the USA
International shipping can be a significant expense for UK e-commerce businesses, especially when sending packages to the USA.
However, there are several strategies that businesses can employ to reduce their shipping costs and improve their bottom line.
Here are some practical tips for saving on international shipping when sending packages from the UK to the USA.
1. Partner with a Trusted Shipping Specialist
Working with a reliable and experienced shipping specialist can significantly streamline your shipping process and optimise costs.
They can provide expert guidance on selecting the most cost-effective shipping options, consolidating shipments, and navigating customs regulations.
Our customer service team are embedded within all operations, they are integral to your shipping process.
They can answer questions or resolve problems within any stage of your e-commerce parcel to the USA by e-mail, phone or in person if required.
2. Negotiate Bulk Shipping Discounts
If your business regularly ships a high volume of packages to the USA, consider negotiating bulk shipping discounts with your preferred carrier or shipping specialist.
Carriers often offer reduced rates for businesses that consistently ship a certain number of packages per month or quarter.
By securing bulk shipping discounts, you can significantly reduce your overall shipping costs.
3. Optimise Packaging for Weight and Size
Shipping costs are often calculated based on the dimensional weight of the package, rather than the deadweight.
Carriers use dimensional weight pricing to account for the space a package occupies in their transportation network.
Therefore, optimising your packaging to minimise both weight and size can significantly reduce your shipping costs.
Here are some specific tips for optimising packaging:
- Use lightweight packaging materials: Choose lightweight materials for boxes, envelopes, and void fill. Consider using recycled cardboard, bubble wrap, or air pillows instead of heavier options.
- Choose appropriately sized boxes or envelopes: Don’t use oversized boxes for small items. Select boxes or envelopes that snugly fit the products, minimising empty space.
- Consider custom packaging: For frequently shipped items, consider investing in custom-designed packaging that fits the product perfectly, reducing unnecessary bulk.
- Employ efficient packing techniques: Pack items securely to prevent movement and damage during transit, but avoid overpacking, which can increase dimensional weight.
- Use dunnage strategically: Use void fill materials like packing peanuts or air pillows to fill empty spaces and prevent shifting, but avoid using excessive amounts.
By optimising packaging, you can reduce the dimensional weight of your packages, which directly translates to lower shipping costs. This can have a significant impact on your overall shipping expenses, especially when sending large volumes of packages.
4. Choose Cost-Effective Shipping Services
Not all shipping services are created equal.
When sending e-commerce packages to the USA, carefully evaluate the different shipping options available and choose the most cost-effective service for your needs.
Consider factors such as delivery speed, tracking options, and insurance coverage to find the best balance between cost and service level.
5. Utilise Freight Forwarders for Expertise and Consolidation
Freight forwarders can be valuable partners for businesses shipping internationally.
They have expertise in navigating customs regulations, consolidating shipments, and negotiating rates with carriers.
By partnering with a freight forwarder, you can streamline your shipping process and potentially save on costs.
6. Accurately Declare Customs Value to Avoid Delays and Fees
Accurately declaring the value of your goods on customs forms is crucial to avoid delays and additional fees.
Undervaluing your goods can lead to penalties, while overvaluing may result in unnecessary customs duties.
Ensure that the declared value accurately reflects the true value of the items being shipped.
7. Be Aware of Import Duties and Taxes
- When shipping to the USA, be aware of any applicable import duties or taxes that may apply to your products.
These additional charges can impact your overall shipping costs, so it’s essential to factor them into your pricing and shipping strategy.
The main import duties and taxes that may be charged on e-commerce parcels sent from the UK to the USA are:
- Customs duty: This is a tax imposed on imported goods by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The rate of duty varies depending on the type of goods being imported and the country of origin. You can use the CBP’s Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) to find the duty rate for your goods.
- Merchandise processing fee (MPF): This is a fee charged by the CBP for processing imported goods. The MPF is set at 0.3464% of the value of the goods, with a minimum fee of $2.50.
- Value-added tax (VAT): This is a consumption tax that is charged on most goods and services in the USA.
Several other taxes and fees may apply to imported goods, such as excise taxes, agricultural inspection fees, and brokerage fees.
Whether or not you are charged these additional taxes and fees will depend on the type of goods you are importing and the value of the shipment. These are:
De minimis value: The de minimis value for imports into the USA is $800.
This means that goods valued at less than $800 are generally exempt from import duties and taxes. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, such as alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.
Commercial shipments: Commercial shipments of goods valued at $800 or more are subject to import duties and taxes. The importer is responsible for paying these duties and taxes.
How to pay import duties and taxes: If your parcel is subject to import duties and taxes, you will be notified by the CBP. You can pay these duties and taxes online, by phone, or by mail.
For more information:
- US Customs and Border Protection website: https://www.cbp.gov/
- US International Trade Commission website: https://www.usitc.gov
Our full distribution service for sending ecommerce parcels to the USA will cover all these complications for you.
8. Consider Shipping Insurance for Valuable Goods
Shipping insurance can provide peace of mind when sending valuable or fragile items.
While insurance adds to the shipping cost, it can protect you against financial loss in case of damage or loss during transit.
Evaluate the value of your goods and consider insurance for items that would be costly to replace.
9. Track Shipments and Resolve Issues Promptly
Actively track your shipments to ensure they are moving through the delivery process as expected.
If any issues arise, such as delays or customs holdups, address them promptly to minimise disruptions and potential additional costs.
10. Explore Alternative Delivery Options
Consider offering alternative delivery options to your customers, such as slower but more affordable shipping methods.
This can be particularly attractive for customers who are not in a rush to receive their orders.
By providing a range of delivery options, you can cater to different customer preferences and potentially reduce shipping costs.
11. Consolidate Shipments When Possible
If you have multiple orders going to the same destination, consider consolidating them into a single shipment.
This can reduce the overall shipping cost compared to sending multiple individual packages.
However, ensure that consolidating shipments doesn’t compromise the integrity of the items being shipped.
12. Review Shipping Costs Regularly
Shipping rates and regulations can change over time.
Regularly review your shipping costs and compare rates from different carriers to ensure you are getting the most cost-effective options.
Be aware of any changes in customs regulations or import duties that may affect your shipping costs.
13. Utilise Technology for Efficiency
Leverage technology to streamline your shipping process and reduce costs.
Use shipping software to automate label generation, track shipments, and optimise packaging.
Explore online shipping platforms that offer discounted rates and convenient label printing.
Logistics partners should use modern technology from Final Mile Label creation to Delivery.
Using API and EDI these can both be automated.
Modern warehouses have automation systems for the efficient routing and sorting of your shipments.
Liberty Express Ltd is pioneering and uses both API for shipment creation and EDI for Invoicing.
Webhooks can be set up for transferring large amounts of data including tracking information.
We also send our customers Daily and weekly reports with examples being:
- Average Transit times by State
- Undeliverable Shipments
- Shipments received and processed the previous day
- Shipments expected but not received at our facility.
Liberty Expresses own bespoke software works in conjunction with the automation system set in its London facility that also takes the weight and dimensions of each parcel to ensure the correct service is applied to each consignment.
This is secure e-commerce shipping to the USA.
14. Educate Customers on Shipping Options
Provide clear and transparent information to your customers about shipping options and costs.
Educate them on the factors that affect shipping costs, such as delivery speed, package weight, and destination. This transparency can help.
We Write the Tips For Sending e-commerce parcels to the USA
We are proud to be a family run business that continually re-invests to ensure that the company is able to be a market leader in the services it offers.
Being the preferred partner to multiple large e-commerce sellers in the UK distributing their goods to the USA.
With a ‘can do attitude’ and a philosophy of ‘nothings to much’, our services get our customers five-star reviews for deliveries on sites like Amazon.