Shipping items and parcels can be challenging. There are different ways of sending packages, either domestically or internationally. However, understanding the process can be confusing for amateur shippers. Aside from following the procedure and rates, shippers should also know the difference between domestic and international shipping services. Here is a guide to local and international shipping.
What is domestic shipping?
Domestic shipping is commerce that doesn’t originate overseas. These goods are produced, distributed, and sold domestically. They are considered “in-country.” All items shipped within the country are regarded as domestic shipping.
What are the different domestic shipping methods?
Domestic shipping is a preferred shipping method. The post office and courier services offer different shipping methods. There are various shipping methods such as full truckload services, but here are the typical ones:
- Media mail – it’s an inexpensive way of sending items domestically. However, it also comes with restrictions. Advertising pages or even magazines are not eligible for media mail. DVDs, CDs, books, and educational materials are allowed. It takes between three to seven business days to deliver media mail.
- First-class – this type of shipping is ideal from smaller items weighing fewer than 13 ounces. Postcards, clothes, jewelry, books, and magazines can be shipped using first class mail. However, some first-class packages don’t include tracking numbers, and this could be a problem for buyers who require proof of delivery. Delivery time can take about three days.
- Priority mail – the majority of online sellers offer priority mail to their customers because of its advantages. Some of these advantages include scheduled pickup by the post office or courier service, a tracking number, items heavier than 13 ounces are allowed, and packaging materials are provided free. It’s one of the more expensive shipping options.
- Flat-rate mail – it offers a pre-set free, and the shipper just has to fill the box or package with items to be shipped. Regardless of the weight of the items, there are no additional charges. Packaging materials are also included. Delivery time is within three business days.
The type of method used depends on how fast the shipper wants the item or items to arrive, its size, and declared value.
What is international shipping?
International shipping is defined as “commerce or items originating from a foreign country.” These goods were not produced, distributed, and sold domestically. Items shipped to and from another country are considered international shipping.
What are the different international shipping methods?
Choosing an international shipping method or service depends on the shipper. He or she can choose the domestic postal service or a courier service. The shipping rates vary between them, and it’s up to the shipper to choose an inexpensive method. Here are some examples:
- International Priority Mail – it offers different flat-rate shipping options, which include shipping packages and supplies. No need to weigh or calculate the item or items for shipping as it’s already pre-paid. Delivery is within five business days.
- International Express Mail – it’s the fastest international shipping option available, but it costs more than priority mail. This type of shipping method is often handled by third-party courier services such as FedEx Express.
Aside from the Postal Service, shippers can choose from other courier services when shipping their items internationally. However, prices might be higher than the domestic post office.
What are the differences between the two shipping services?
The significant difference between the two shipping services is how the goods move from the seller and the buyer. Domestic shipping is a more straightforward process. The sender packs the products, pastes the shipping label, and sends the parcel to the courier.
However, with international shipping, the shipper must fill out the necessary paperwork, declare the legality of the goods, disclose the import duties and charges attached to his or her products. Also, some countries impose restrictions on certain goods. It’s the shipper’s responsibility to research special provisions, licensing, and shipping regulations.
The description of the goods to be shipped internationally also needs to be specified: the materials, country of origin, and what they’re used for. Precision is the key when sending goods abroad. If the items weren’t declared properly, the shipment could be held and delayed by the country’s customs. It can lead to seizure of the items due to discrepancies in the documents.
Shipping items domestically or internationally shouldn’t be difficult. It’s a natural process, and the key is understanding the difference between domestic and international shipping. Know the limitations and pay attention to the different methods when sending your next package.