How Much Does International Shipping Cost For Sellers?

Posted on 14 January 2022

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One of the main reasons businesses limit themselves to domestic orders is the complexity of shipping internationally. However, if you do your research and have the correct support systems in place, it doesn’t have to be impossible or exorbitantly expensive.

So, how much is it to ship internationally exactly?

Below, we’ve created a roadmap for how to ship overseas successfully and the variables you’ll need to account for before you go global.

Factors To Account For When Shipping Internationally

It’s not hard to understand why crafting an efficient shipping strategy is critical to doing business overseas. There’s a lot to wrap your head around, but, to begin, we’ve listed the three principal expenses you’ll run into as an international seller.

#1. Tariffs, Duties, And Fees

The first answer you’ll get when asking, “How much does it cost to ship to another country?” is: 

Check your destination nation’s duty and tax rates.

No matter what sort of item you’re shipping, entering a foreign marketplace means you’ll be footing the bill for import fees, payable to the customs authorities at the border. Some routine expenses you’ll need to cover are:

Every country has its ordinances determining the taxes and duties imposed on imports, and they’re constantly in flux. Furthermore, every type of product is assigned its rate of taxation, and product types—classified by Harmonized System (HS) codes—can be staggeringly specific.

In light of this variability concerning GST vs VAT, it’s essential you know what fees your specific product will incur ahead of time and that you factor this expense into your overall shipping strategy.

#2. Carrier Services

Carrier services, also referred to as Freight Forwarders and Couriers, are the businesses that shuttle your shipments from one place to another. Weight and volume have the most impact on the fees they charge, though the specific calculus for international shipment varies from carrier to carrier.

There are several types of freight used to get cargo from point A to point B:

Among them, air freight is the most timely mode of transport. While air freight can be pricier, remember that lengthy delivery wait times are among the most common reasons for lapsed purchases online. The global trend is to give preference to delivery experiences that are both timely and cost-effective for your business.

#3. Insurance Costs

Whether you’re sticking to domestic markets for now or are paving the way to bring your business global, shipping anywhere comes with inherent risks.

Purchasing insurance is the best way to cushion the blow from any lost, missing, or stolen goods—which, given the amount of ground (or air) they’ll be covering, is a common mishap to make when it comes to international shipments. What’s more, your insurance certificate is one of many key customs documents to have handy to help ensure customs compliance.

Most companies purchase insurance through the freight forwarder or courier they use to move your goods, which generally builds insurance into the overall shipping cost below a predetermined weight limit.

How To Charge Customers For International Shipping

Aside from providing a cost-effective protocol for delivering your product, establishing a streamlined strategy that also evaluates international shipping restrictions is critical to the success of your business. 

Remember, your customers are asking the very same question—how much does international shipping cost?—before they check out with their order, with high shipping fees accounting for 63% of abandoned carts in the e-marketplace.1

These are the three most popular delivery experiences to offer your customers:

Free shipping – Few words have more suasion in the e-commerce world than “FREE.” Needless to say, extending this courtesy to customers can be financially demanding. To make this solution workable, you can either pay for shipping yourself or build the cost into your price point. In the latter case, this requires calculating how much product you can reliably expect to move, and how quickly, so as not to incur extra storage expenses.

Flat-rate shipping – Another option is to provide flat-rate shipping fees, no matter how many units of stock you are shipping. 2If you’re an international seller, be sure to charge separate flat-rate fees for different countries. Charging a fixed fee is a solution favored by many medium-sized merchants, but this method may not be complex enough to account for larger companies’ shipping expenses.

Calculated shipping – Lastly, calculated shipping refers to charging customers roughly the same amount it costs you to ship your product to them. It will require you to weigh and measure each sale you ship, and calculate the costs associated with the package’s destination. Unless you’re a very small business making limited sales, this method may demand more labor and time than you’re willing to give.

Whichever approach to customer shipping fees you choose, the most common way to earn back your shipping expenses is to build estimated costs into your price point.

Remember, you have two priorities as an international seller:

How to juggle these two necessities? Well, that’s where we come in.

Keep Costs Low With Zee

There are quite a few dimensions—literally—when it comes to determining international shipment expenses. To keep prices low, stock in motion, delivery time down, and customers satisfied, your first order of business is to link up with a shipping partner who can take care of:

These are just a few of the services Zee offers to keep shipping costs low and streamline your shipping process, wherever in the world your products are headed. So, how much does it cost to ship internationally? With Zee, a lot less in cost, time, and energy than you think.


  1. Statista. Primary reason for digital shoppers in the United States to abandon their carts as of November 2018.
  2. Acowebs. How Shipping Costs Affect E-Commerce Conversion Rates.