Author Topic: International Shipping Rates for my Widget.  (Read 864 times)

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Offline David Chamberlain

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International Shipping Rates for my Widget.
« on: May 14, 2018, 05:21:39 am »
I'm looking to sell a 'widget' online so have been looking over all the costs to see if it is viable or not. The one I'm getting stuck on is shipping.

I must not be in on the secret because when I look at DHL, Startrack, UPS and so on the online quotes for my <100 gram tiny package start at around AU$80 to get from Australia to the UK. At the same time I see cheap <$20 products on ebay out of china with free shipping anywhere in the world, clearly they are building the shipping costs in to the sale price but then how much profit does that leave them, not much?

Also lots of products on have a US$5 shipping anywhere (United States Postal), but don't the sellers do all the shipping themselves? I didn't think Tindie did distribution.

Do I need to register as company, or provide guaranteed volumes to get decent rates? The target RRP for my widget is AU$40 so It feels like a bit of a kick in the teeth to the customer if they have to pay double that in shipping.

The other option is change the product form-factor to Christmas card :) and I'm guessing that's how a lot of PCBA kits or board only products are done.

Mine is not far off that, will be 20x10mm with SMD parts only so we're talking no more then 3.6mm height, Given that it might survive transit without any ridged packaging, or perhaps a cut cardboard book.. Anyway I digress.

The cheapest Australia Post offering is untracked 8 business days air for AU$20 for 0.1kg so that's a little more in the ball park, so then I would just risk non-delivery and things getting lost and if so hope that only a small minority of people will just says they never received and ask for a second.

If anyone knows how this all works I would be grateful to learn. It's a pretty Australia specific question in terms of cost but any general advice would be welcome. Perhaps the answer to the higher costs is simply geography and their is no way around that, Unless I ship lots of units to the US/UK for distribution in advance.

[also if their is a more appropriate group on the forum to post this I'll move it]

Online sleemanj

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Re: International Shipping Rates for my Widget.
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2018, 05:37:33 am »
You can not compare shipping prices ex-China with anywhere else in the world, the short story is "it's complicated", but suffice to say that for small parcels out of China where time is not an issue, the costs are very very VERY low, partly down to how mail works, partly down to volumes, partly down to subsidies, partly down to special agreements between mail carriers... it's complicated.

Now if you have a decent volume, you certainly can get better prices and services, and hopefully Dave would chime in here since he certainly has experience international shipping in bulk from AU.

But for ad-hoc, low volume, a bit here and a bit there, I doubt you'll get much better than your local postal carrier.

EEVBlog Members - get yourself 10% discount off all my electronic components for sale just use the Buy Direct links and use Coupon Code "eevblog" during checkout.  Shipping from New Zealand, international orders welcome :-)

Online rdl

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Re: International Shipping Rates for my Widget.
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2018, 05:49:59 am »
Here in the US, the cheapest way to ship packages, and usually the fastest for the cost, is by USPS (mail). I'm pretty sure that holds true even for international shipping.

Offline xaxaxa

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Re: International Shipping Rates for my Widget.
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2018, 03:25:56 pm »
DHL ecommerce has far better rates than regular DHL express (on the order of $10 for a small package), but you have to contact them for a quote and there is a huge one time fee (last quote i got was ~$1000 usd).

If you sell your product on crowdsupply, I think they have a fulfillment service where you first ship a batch to their warehouse, and they will distribute the units to customers. The rates are USPS rates plus $3.75 per shipment. I think the main drawback of this is it's impossible to change the declared value for customs.

If you have contacts in china you can distribute the units from there using epacket (note: confusing and bureaucratic process for opening an account); rates are around $3 base cost + $0.013 per gram depending on destination. End to end tracking is supported to most places.

Most solutions will involve shipping in batches to an intermediate location, since national post is inefficient in most countries (US being the exception), and DHL et al generally only offer their ecommerce solutions in a very few select places (even in china they can only ship from two locations, shenzhen and shanghai).
« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 04:29:39 pm by xaxaxa »

Offline Brumby

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Re: International Shipping Rates for my Widget.
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2018, 02:29:03 am »
The options are going to depend on the volume you will be shipping - and I'm sure there will be people here that can help.  Unfortunately, I'm not one.

However, for a single package you can start with Australia Post at $28.32 for up to 500g to the UK.  Just walk in and do it over the counter.

Offline Blinkenlights

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Re: International Shipping Rates for my Widget.
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2018, 04:33:32 am »
I am interested to read the responses myself - the suggestions here sound good.

"Skippy post" is another trans-shipper that you could look at.  I haven't used them myself, but I have seen good prices from them for what I hoped to sell.

Offline tycz

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Re: International Shipping Rates for my Widget.
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2018, 08:22:33 am »
David Chamberlain,

Put it in a padded envelope with a $3 international stamp. Attach a green customs form and drop it off at the post office (don't post it in a street post box). Max height 20mm, max weight 50g. Takes 2-4 weeks to most countries.

Offline David Chamberlain

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Re: International Shipping Rates for my Widget.
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2018, 08:42:38 am »
@sleemanj: Yes I suppose it is not realistic to expect those sorts of prices.

@xaxaxa : Thanks lots of good ideas, I think as I'm just starting out I want to avoid registering a business or paying a large up-front before I get a feel of how popular the Widget might be.

@Blinkenlights : Skippy post is cheap but up to 24 days to the UK.

@tycz : A padded envelope is not a bad idea considering the small dimensions of my devices. I've been thinking on this today and I'm going to make a 'book' of hard card that it can sit in as that should offer a little more protection.

I think in the short terms it's going to come down to offering customers the option. Cheap and slow or expensive and fast.

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