How to Ship Subscription Boxes Internationally in 2023

The subscription box business has exploded in popularity in recent years, with millions of consumers worldwide subscribing to a wide range of products and services. From beauty and wellness products to snacks and pet toys. Subscription services offer a convenient and personalized way for consumers to discover new products and enjoy the unboxing experience of recurring deliveries. As a result, many big and small businesses have adopted the subscription box business model to reach new customers and build brand loyalty. With the increasing popularity of ecommerce business and the growth of international markets, the ability to ship subscription boxes internationally has become crucial for businesses seeking to expand their customer base, provide a unique customer experience, and increase revenue.

However, international subscription box shipping comes with its own set of challenges, from customs and regulatory requirements to language barriers and shipping costs. In this blog, we will provide an overview of the challenges and opportunities involved, and offer practical tips for how to navigate them with ePost Global’s help.

International subscription box shipping in 2023

The recent growth in the subscription box industry in the global market is caused in large part by the increasing demand for unique and specialized products from consumers worldwide and the ease of accessing e-commerce platforms. Modern shoppers like the idea of being able to save money by trying out unique products on a regular basis, and subscription boxes are often the cheapest way to do so.

What are some of the challenges and opportunities the e-commerce industry is facing as this new business model continues to rise internationally?


  • Expanding your customer base beyond your home country can increase sales and revenue. By shipping subscription boxes internationally, businesses can tap into new customer bases, increasing sales and revenue potential. In particular, businesses that operate in smaller or niche markets may find that international expansion is essential for growth and sustainability. This is because growth in the US market may be more competitive while internationally the market demand may be greater with less competition.
  • Establishing a global presence can enhance your brand image and reputation. By expanding your reach beyond your home country, you can demonstrate your ability to operate on a global scale and reach customers from different regions and cultures. This can help to enhance the perception of the business and position it as a credible and reputable player in the market. It also helps you build relationships and partnerships with international vendors and suppliers
  • Accessing new markets can provide opportunities for growth and expansion. By expanding their reach beyond their home market, businesses can tap into new customer segments, explore new sales channels, and access new sources of revenue. This can be particularly important for small businesses, which may have limited growth opportunities in their home market.


  • Customs and regulatory requirements are complex and vary from country to country, meaning that businesses must navigate a potentially confusing and time-consuming process to ensure that their subscription boxes can be shipped legally and efficiently across international borders. Some countries may require certain products to be subject to additional inspections or certifications before they can be shipped, while others may impose specific labeling or packaging requirements. Failing to comply with these requirements can lead to delays in delivery, additional costs, or even the seizure of goods.
  • Shipping costs can be high, especially for smaller businesses. The cost of shipping subscription boxes internationally can vary widely depending on the destination country, the size and weight of the boxes, and the shipping method used. Customs duties, taxes, and tariffs can add up quickly and make shipping subscription boxes internationally much more expensive than domestic shipping.
    Businesses must also consider the impact that shipping costs can have on their pricing strategy and profit margins. Higher shipping costs can make subscription boxes less competitive in the global marketplace, and businesses may need to adjust their pricing or shipping methods to stay competitive.
  • Delivery times can be longer due to customs clearance and distance often causing significant delays. You must account for longer transit times, which can be impacted by factors such as customs clearance, border inspections, and other regulatory requirements. These processes can add several days or even weeks to the delivery timeline, which can be frustrating for both the business and its customers.
  • Language barriers and cultural differences can pose challenges when communicating with customers. Communication is essential for ensuring that customers receive their subscription boxes on time and that any issues or concerns are addressed promptly. However, language barriers can make it difficult to communicate effectively, leading to confusion or misunderstandings that can impact customer satisfaction. Additionally, gaps in cultural differences can lead to misunderstandings, which can negatively impact a business’s reputation and customer loyalty.

How to ship subscription boxes internationally

There are several steps to consider in order to successfully execute international subscription box fulfillment and shipping. These steps will also help you navigate the challenges mentioned above. 

1. Choose the right shipping partner

Research and select an experienced,  reliable shipping partner that has a good reputation in the industry. The right shipping partner  can provide valuable guidance and support throughout the shipping process, such as selecting the best shipping routes to your international destinations and using well known carriers who are experts in shipping internationally.  In addition, a reputable shipping partner helps businesses to mitigate risks and avoid potential delays or complications that arise when shipping internationally. Ultimately, choosing the right shipping partner is key to ensuring a successful international process and can help businesses build strong, long-lasting relationships with their international customers.

2. Prepare subscription boxes for international shipping

Prepare subscription boxes for international shipping by using sturdy packing materials that can withstand the rigors of international transportation and protect the contents of the boxes. Other factors like choosing the right box sizes, accounting for custom boxes, etc. are part of this step in the process. Accurate shipping labels should also be a priority, as it helps to ensure that the boxes are routed correctly and delivered to the right destination.

3. Check customs and regulatory requirements

Checking and complying with customs and regulatory requirements is a must when shipping subscription boxes internationally. Customs and regulatory requirements can vary significantly from country to country, and failure to comply with them can result in costly delays or even the seizure of goods. It is important to research and understand these requirements in advance to ensure that all necessary documentation is in place, and all relevant fees and taxes are paid.

Outsourcing to an experienced shipping partner that understands the regulations and requirements of different countries is the most efficient way to navigate this challenge.

4. Calculate shipping costs

Carefully calculate shipping costs and factor them into your pricing strategy. Shipping costs can vary significantly depending on a number of factors, including the shipping method chosen, the weight and dimensions of the boxes, and the destination country. Consider all of these factors when calculating shipping costs, as well as any additional fees or taxes that may apply.

Accurately calculating shipping rates and factoring them into your pricing strategy helps your business remain competitive in the international market, while also avoiding any unexpected expenses that may arise during the shipping process. Additionally, offering transparent and predictable pricing can help build customer trust and confidence, leading to increased customer loyalty and repeat business.

5. Communicate with customers

Clear and timely communication with customers is a sign of an efficient and professional subscription box business. Customers want to know when to expect their deliveries and to be kept informed about any potential delays or issues that may arise. As a business owner, it is important to establish a system for communicating with customers.

One way to do that is to provide them with a tracking number and any other necessary tracking information. This allows them to track the progress of their shipment and to provide them with accurate estimates for shipping times, taking into account any potential delays that may occur due to customs clearance or other factors. Finally, always be responsive to customer inquiries and concerns and provide prompt and helpful customer service. By communicating effectively with customers, you can build trust and loyalty.

6. Monitor delivery progress

Not only is it important for the customer to stay informed on the relevant tracking information, but it’s also important for you as a business to be on top of delivery progress. Monitoring the delivery progress is essential to ensure that the subscription boxes are delivered on time and in good condition. Keep track of the shipment through a tracking system and communicate with the shipping carrier to address any issues that may arise during the delivery process. This includes handling customs clearance delays or delivery exceptions, such as damaged packages or missed deliveries.

7. Follow up with customers

Following up with customers after delivery is another crucial part of customer service. This includes sending a confirmation email or message once the subscription box has been delivered and requesting feedback on the delivery process or the products received. Businesses can also use this opportunity to ask customers if they would like to continue their subscription and offer special promotions or discounts to incentivize them to do so.

Make a point to efficiently address any concerns or feedback from customers, as this proactive responsiveness can help improve customer satisfaction and retention rates. By maintaining a positive and responsive relationship with your customers, you can establish a growing and loyal customer base.

8. Evaluate and optimize

Evaluating and optimizing your international subscription box shipping strategy is paramount for long-term success. Industry trends and standards are always evolving, so make sure that your business constantly improves processes to promote continuous growth. 

One way to evaluate is to keep track of shipping costs, delivery times, and customer feedback to identify areas for improvement. For example, if customers are consistently experiencing delays or issues with customs, consult with your shipping partner what changes or adjustments need to be done on your end,  or if necessary consider working with a shipping partner with a variety of delivery options. Regularly analyzing your shipping costs and pricing strategy can also help you stay competitive and profitable. By staying vigilant and making continuous improvements, you can ensure that your international subscription box shipping process is efficient, effective, and customer-focused.

Partner with ePost Global for seamless international subscription box shipping

International subscription box shipping can pose challenges for ecommerce platforms, but it also offers opportunities for growth and expansion. By selecting the right shipping partner and taking the necessary steps for success, you can successfully navigate the complexities of international shipping.

If you’re looking for a reliable shipping partner to help you streamline your international process, ePost Global is here to help. Contact us today to learn more.

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