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Help with International Shipping Options

Destination times

10:48 pm on Feb 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Hi all -

We are presenting the following international shipping options to our customers, yet I have failed to find any clear, simple information on the delivery times (even estimates) for each.

Can any of you point me to some cheat sheets for these items? We use UPS and USPS.

Its very frustrating going to the USPS web site and seeing them just say it "varies by destination". Of course it does. And after a hundred years in business I think you might be able to come up with a helpful map, list of zones, etc ...

Regular Speed Shipping (from the USA)

Postal Service - International First Class
Posal Service - International Priority
United Parcel Service (UPS) - Worldwide Saver
United Parcel Service (UPS) - Standard (Canada)

Express Shipping (from the USA)

United Parcel Service (UPS) - Worldwide Expedited
Postal Service International Express

Disclaimer: I am aware that there are other factors like Customs, etc. But you cant offer different shipping options and then not provide information on how they differ...
11:42 pm on Feb 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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The two bottom links under pricing.

2:06 am on Feb 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I can't provide you much help on the actual times but maybe some broad advice.

Are you planning on manually entering the delivery time data for dozens of countries? Yikes- could get messy! There's way too many individual factors by country to give any reliable regional rate map (imagine the difference in shipping something to Pyonyang North Korea compared to Beijing- yet both are very close to one another).

Further more, there's regional differences based on each country. For UPS Canada it can vary from 1 day to 8 days depending where in Canada someone is.

So my advice is give very broad estimates of delivery times (5-15 business days) and don't try to get too exact and even then, do it only for the most popular countries. Of course, each business has individual nuances, but I know for us in my 10 years of doing this, international customers (ignoring Canada) normally are not in a huge rush for things, and if they are, they'll contact you ahead of time. You're also potentially at risk of annoying more people by giving estimates which will frequently be broken moreso than pleasing people by giving estimates.
2:37 am on Feb 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

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All you can do is offer the default of about 10-15 days for Priority mail and so on. Because the thing that controls it is not them, but the customs. Which is why they say that. It might not go through customs at all and get there in ten days on Priority. It might disappear in customs for two weeks. There's no way to know. So best thing is just put up a disclaimer and say that. It's not a disadvantage, because that's the way it is for everybody. It's not like they'll get better service someplace else. If you make hard and fast specific promises, then you're just going to tick people off, because those will probably be broken.
3:46 pm on Feb 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

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These carriers would return estimates for delivery times or give a rough estimate based on the supported methods and request placed. Are you using real time quotes in your store with the carriers or not?