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E‐Commerce » Tips & Facts, Best Practice | 27.08.2015

Three tips for dealing with international addresses

Sales from global e-commerce are expected to surpass $2 trillion by 2015, and major growth has occurred in Western Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America. Such market developments mean that getting international addresses right is becoming a crucial element of e-commerce. Below are three key tips for improving your international mailing: 


1. Get a handle on the different alphabets

Perhaps the biggest barrier to handling international addresses is tackling the differing alphabets of item destinations. The eight major alphabets for international delivery are Roman/Latin (e.g. A, B, C…), Greek (e.g. Α α, Β β, Γ γ…), Cyrillic (e.g. А, Ђ, В…), Hebrew (e.g. ג, ב, א…), Japanese (e.g. Romaji: E, O, Ka…), Chinese (e.g. 诶 比西 ), Korean (e.g. 가게에), and Arabic (e.g. ذضظغ). When the destination country uses an alphabet that is not Roman/Latin, then the English equivalent must also be written. If the English equivalent of the foreign address is not known then the native alphabet's words must also appear in Roman/Latin characters.

2. Get addressee conventions right

In terms of the addressee, there are several key points that e-commerce businesses must get right. First, items cannot be addressed to a person in one country in the care of a person in another country. Second, unless the addressee has provided a trade name, the name of either the addressee or the sender cannot be in initial form. Third, items usually cannot be addressed to the 'Occupant,' Householder,' or 'Boxholder.' With that said, such addressee titles can be given alongside an actual named recipient (for example: 'Mr Roger W. Clark or Occupant.').

3. Don't neglect basic formatting procedures


When allocating space on the postal article, at least half of the right hand side of one face of the item's packaging should be dedicated to postage labels (e.g. stamps, tracking numbers etc.) and the destination addressee details. Make sure that such details are either given in handwritten or typed ink to ensure durability. Details written by pencil may become illegible in transit. Lastly, remember to capitalise all written elements and include the house number, street address, box number (if required), postal code or delivery zone and country.