What questions should you ask international parcel companies as well as getting prices?

06 August, 2021


Research is key when you’re outsourcing any part of your eCommerce business to a third-party provider, and it’s even more so when choosing who will deliver your products to your customers.

Find out more about Asendia's international parcel services


You already know that customers want their purchases to arrive safe and sound (and quickly) but what about cost, insurance, experience and proven track record?

It’s not enough to simply hand over the shipping of your customers’ purchases to someone else and keep your fingers crossed, you need to know that you’ll get the service you need and will be protected if things go wrong.

So, what should you be looking for? Here are, what we think, are the top questions to ask when researching an international shipping company.

What international parcel services do they provide?
While they may be experts in local deliveries within your home market, are they international delivery experts, do they offer a choice of services, can they help you navigate Customs, and what about returns? You need your package to get from A to B without delay and unexpected costs, and with international parcel services shoppers are familiar with.

What’s the cost of their international parcel services?
Once you’ve ascertained they can give you what you need, you can then find out what the damage will be. Cost is a massive factor with international parcel shipping, especially if you need to pass some of the cost on to your customers. Remember they will not want to pay any more than they have to, and you shouldn’t either.

Ensure the costs you get include any surcharges that may apply, such as fuel surcharges or extra costs for parcels that are over-sized or if they are not sorted correctly.

Are there any discounts for volume?
It may seem cheeky asking if a company can offer discounts but there’s always money to be saved somewhere. Do they offer bulk shipping pricing, do they offer cheaper alternatives for slower deliveries? While there will be standard reduced pricing for somethings, feel free to ask about reductions that might be specific to your sector, you never know what they might be able to offer.

Can they store your stock in locations overseas?
If you’re doing well in a particular market, if may be cheaper to use a fulfilment centre in that location. Asendia, for example, has warehouse in strategic places across the globe, meaning you can ship stock over in bulk and then all that’s needed is a local parcel service at the other end. This gives your customers better options for quicker and cheaper deliveries, making your eCommerce business more attractive than your competitors.

Are they any good?
Hopefully before you’ve called them you already looked at public online reviews. But, once you’re talking to them, ask if they have clients similar to you and how long they’ve been using them. Take a look at their website too and see if there are any testimonials so you can get a picture of their track record.

Are there any restrictions?
There may be weight and size restrictions as standard but if you’re in a niche market, supplying hazardous or perishable goods, will they be able to help? This will hopefully have come up in your first question about their services but make a point of asking what they can provide if you need specialist shipping.

Do they have partners in territories they don’t operate in?
Large companies like Asendia do have a large network and infrastructure of their own, but where they may not have a direct presence there are trusted partners who will deliver your goods as if you were delivering them yourself.

What insurance/liability do they offer?
Even with the most rehearsed processes things can sadly go wrong, so how will you be protected if they do? Make sure the insurance they provide will cover the cost of any damage to your customers’ orders and if it’s included in the price.be sure to also check if you have to follow any requirements to make sure it remains valid, e.g. you may have to use a certain type of packaging.

Can you and your customers track their package?
“Where’s my order?” is a common question and one that can be easily answered if the shipping company tracks parcels for you. If the customer has regular notifications via email or text at each point their package is processed, this gives them peace of mind and leaves you alone to get on with more important things.

What customer services do they offer?
It’s Friday evening, you’re about to go home and you’ve just seen on the news there are strikes at an airport you know a large order is due to pass through. Who can you talk to and find out if you’re affected and what is being done to mitigate the delay? Make sure the shipping company has a customer service team available to help with all issues, from changing your package to rerouting parcels to another destination.

With these questions you’ll have a lot of information to base your decision upon. Remember though, you’ll be their customer and if your business is important to them, they’ll be more than happy to answer any of the above. You could even have a practice run with Asendia, just drop us a line and ask away..



Asendia's international parcel services for online stores large and small

We handle the fulfilment and shipping of international orders for some of the biggest etail brands in the world and hundreds of smaller online stores too. 

Find out more about our international order fulfilment services

See details about our international parcel services


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