If your company is considering offering international shipping to Germany, you’ve likely begun exploring the most cost-efficient way to get your items there. But to your surprise, you may find that the cheapest way to ship to Germany is not always the best way to transport your items to new territories. Shipping internationally is complex, requiring many considerations, including clearing customs, adhering to packaging requirements, and ensuring your package arrives safely and on time. Further, there are various factors that affect the final shipping cost, like distance, the weight and dimensions of the packages, and the delivery service chosen.
This blog will help eCommerce businesses weigh all costs when shipping to Germany to find the most cost-efficient option while offering valuable insights and strategies when shipping to Central Europe.
Understanding initial costs when shipping to Germany
When shipping packages to any destination, there are many initial costs to consider. For example, the size and weight of your shipment, route, speed, shipping software, and labeling all contribute to the price. When shipping internationally, however, the costs are significantly higher.
The following factors contribute to shipping costs when importing goods to Germany.
Distance plays a major role in the initial cost of shipping from one country to another. Inevitably, longer shipping routes mean higher transportation costs. Germany is nearly 5,000 miles away from the U.S. with various routes and transportation options to consider that could also affect shipping costs. For example, air transportation is a faster shipping method, but is significantly more expensive than surface/ocean freight. Your means of transportation will also vary based on the nature of your goods. Certain items are not permitted for air travel, like weapons, aerosol sprays, and matches, and may require special attention when crossing into German territory.
Weight and dimensions of packaging
The size, volume, and nature of goods can all affect shipping costs, meaning that packages of varying sizes and weights will not all cost the same to ship. Small packages typically cost less to ship and more significant, heavier shipments may cost more, with maximum weights to consider. However, some courier services offer flat rate box options, allowing you to pay one set price regardless of the weight or dimensions of your package. Working with a professional shipping carrier can help you account for the permitted weight and dimensions and proper shipping label requirements accepted when shipping to Germany to avoid additional costs.
Customs duties and taxes
Customs duties are fees imposed on goods imported or exported into a country. In Germany, any commercial consignments are subject to an import tax, whereas non-commercial consignments worth more than 45 euros are subject to an import tax. Customs duties and a value-added tax (VAT) are applied to imported goods, and excise duties are applied to items like tobacco and alcohol. The amount of import charges depends on the value of the goods and their nature and characteristics. It’s vital to understand which fees apply to your shipment when transporting goods to Germany to account for each cost before shipping.
When first exploring how to ship to Germany, you may find yourself considering a variety of delivery options available for shipping to the EU, however, not all worldwide saver or economy options are best. To start, your shipment is likely going to take longer to arrive, with little room left to account for delays from weather conditions, supply chain delays, or other factors that affect delivery times.
Shipping from the USA to Germany can take anywhere from 5-10 business days with standard or international economy delivery options, and faster with priority or express options, but ultimately, the true length and cost of shipping to Germany will vary based on the shipping carrier chosen and the diverse shipping options along with the value and goods. Finding the cheapest way to ship to Germany may seem like an enticing approach to save on costs; however, it cannot compensate for a poor customer experience. Consider working with a provider that offers enhanced tracking capabilities, so your customers can receive a tracking number and monitor each stage of progress, gaining a real-time view of where their package is on the map.
Further, while it may be tempting to use an international shipping calculator to find the cheapest shipping service option, exploring the above details can help you receive accurate numbers and information that a calculator would not account for.
How to save costs when shipping to Germany
Reducing shipping costs brings numerous benefits for eCommerce businesses. Lower shipping expenses directly contribute to improved profit margins and cost efficiency, allowing you to allocate resources to other areas of business growth.
There are several tips and strategies to utilize to save costs when shipping to Germany.
1. Bulk shipments and optimize packaging
When shipping internationally, a key way to save on costs is to limit the amount of packages being shipped out. Consider packaging items in bulk and optimize your packaging to avoid damaged items. Certain mailing providers offer discounted rates for less packages. Amazon, an eCommerce online store, found success by offering packages in bulk shipments to customers to not only save on shipping costs, but also to allow customers to receive their packages together instead of separately, preventing lost or delayed packages.
Additionally, remember that cheaper materials do not translate to cheaper shipping costs. Often, it leads to more costs in the long run due to returned products and import fees from items returned to their country of origin. Just as there are fees for items going across borders, there are also fees for items that must be sent back. Consider using durable boxes with appropriate packaging materials like packing peanuts or bubble wrap to protect your items during transit.
2. Research providers and receive multiple quotes
Shipping internationally to Germany is complex, requiring multiple steps to ensure your shipment arrives safely and on time with minimal errors. It’s critical to have the best shipping partner possible when expanding your operations to avoid mistakes that cost your company more in the long run. Consider researching multiple mailing providers and postal services to find the best shipping options that work with your budget and timeline. Receiving multiple quotes can help you weigh your options. But remember, the cheapest option may lack the essential qualities you need to cross borders compliantly and successfully. Working with a provider with years of international expertise can limit shipping violations or delays, as these professionals know the ins and outs of German customs and shipping requirements.
3. Understand customs regulations and restrictions
Obtaining customs clearance is a pinnacle step in the international shipping process that, more often than not, results in delays or added fees for your shipment due to lack of care or preparation. It’s essential to research all applicable customs forms required for shipping and understand German customs restricted items to avoid items being held with customs agents or seized for not following German regulations.
Before shipping to Germany, ensure you have the following documentation:
Customs Declaration: A formal document declaring the nature of goods required by customs officers.
Commercial Invoice: An itemized list of the cost of your goods. It’s important to define your items specifically on this list to avoid violating German shipping restrictions.
Harmonized Systems Code: HS code accurately defines your goods according to a numeric code recognized by the European Union.
Further, exporters must classify, label, and package hazardous substances or sensitive goods according to German requirements, and provide certificates for certain items like plants or food before importing.
By looking internally at your shipping processes, you can find innovative ways to save on expenses, so you can explore all shipping options for your goods in the most cost-effective way possible.
Working with a qualified shipping partner: Avoiding costly delays and fees
Shipping rates will vary depending on your destination country and mailing provider chosen, but it’s important to remember that you get what you pay for. The cheapest way to ship to Germany may save your company costs initially, but sacrificing quality for speed could land your business with a host of complications in the shipping process.
Finding the perfect balance between proper care, packaging, and overall cost is essential in sustaining a profitable business. Shipping locally or internationally requires consistency to avoid delays and accrued costs from unplanned fees.
Working with a professional shipping provider can help you account for all costs from the start while developing a structured shipping plan to avoid timely delays or additional costs when shipping to Germany from the USA, Canada, Australia, or beyond.
Ship to Germany with ePost Global
At ePost Global, we combine our years of global knowledge with customized shipping services to help your business ship to Germany with ease while helping you determine a realistic budget. When you partner with us, you can choose from a variety of delivery options like priority mail international, priority mail express international, air first-class, as well as other options to suit your needs and budget.
We offer the following shipping options and so much more available for viewing here.
Priority Parcel (Untracked): A reliable, non-tracked, first class delivery option for small packages and parcels worldwide.
Priority Parcel with Delivery Confirmation: Parcel delivery service which optimizes transit times and costs to offer delivery confirmation for dutiable or printed matter shipments.
Priority Packet Tracked: Economical eCommerce postal service with door to door tracking to 48 key countries and registered to all other destinations.
USPS Priority Mail Express International: USPS Priority Mail Express International is an expedited way to send packages up to 70 lbs. to 193 countries.
USPS Priority Mail International: Offers a fast and cost-effective way to send mail and packages weighing up to 70 pounds to 213 destinations around the world.
USPS ePacket: A low cost end-to-end tracking service to 26 key countries. Ideal for lighter weight and lower value eCommerce shipments.
Our Parcel services include:
- Enhanced Tracking
- Online Visibility
- Customized Returns
- Customs Management
When researching the most cost-efficient and reliable options to ship to Germany, consider ePost. Our worldwide network, technology-backed support model, and extensive knowledge of international shipping requirements provide a seamless shipping experience with delivery reliability, accuracy, and consistency unmatched by other shipping companies.
Get in touch with ePost Global today to ship packages to Germany with confidence and at a price you can feel comfortable with for your business.