Costs to Ship to France from USA: What You Need to Know

Costs to Ship to France from USA: What You Need to Know

France: The beautiful city of lights known for its historical architecture and exquisite fine dining is also a lucrative destination for international deliveries. Ranking just behind Germany, the French eCommerce market holds a top spot as a premier destination of opportunity for U.S. retailers. But how much does it cost to ship there? The cost to ship to France from USA destinations will vary based on the nature of the goods you are shipping, the weight and dimensions of your packages, your shipping provider, and many other factors. 

This blog will explore the initial cost considerations when shipping to France from the USA, the regulatory frameworks to adhere to, and how to find an experienced partner with international knowledge to avoid extra surcharges when shipping to this gainful destination. 

Ship to France from USA: Cost considerations 

If you’ve selected France as your destination country, you might be wondering the cheapest way to get your items there. But unfortunately, there is no single answer. The cost to ship to France from the USA will vary based on several factors, including the following,

  1. Contents of shipment: The nature of your goods will determine if additional costs are required. 
  2. Shipping speed: Faster shipping times cost more, and longer transit times cost less. 
  3. Expectations: Consumers expect delivery within 3-5 business days or sooner. 
  4. Weight and dimensions of your parcel: Larger and heavier international shipments cost more to ship. 
  5. Your chosen shipping provider: Different carriers offer different prices and plans when shipping internationally. 
  6. Upgrades: Shipping insurance or extra care costs extra. 

Let’s explore in more detail the cost considerations when shipping to Europe. 

Nature of Goods 

The cost to ship to France from USA destinations will vary based on the contents of your shipment. For example, shipping packages containing household items or items of lower value will not require excess documentation or packaging to ship. However, sensitive items or items requiring additional certificates or permits will cost more to ship and require special handling. These items will have to go through special procedures with French customs agents. For example, any animal-based products are subject to a mandatory health inspection upon the first entry point on EU territory. And live animals or animal-based products must travel with a Common Veterinary Entry Document (CVED) to cross EU borders. 

Other items like cultural goods, weapons, and live plants will also require special certificates or permits to travel. 

Failure to provide the specific documentation needed for travel could result in customs penalties or delays that could raise the cost when shipping to France. But more often than not, eCommerce businesses are sending other hot commodities like beauty and fashion items.

France’s eCommerce market has seen considerable growth in recent years with fashion as a leading category in international trade. While other goods such as mineral fuels, technological equipment, and pharmaceuticals are desirable, fashion and beauty products are highly sought after by French consumers shopping from online US stores. The upside is that fashion is fairly easy and cost-efficient to ship; but the downside is that clothing items have a high return rate. It’s essential to factor in additional costs for items that must be returned and have concrete procedures in place to get items back to the United States efficiently. 

Further, beauty products can be very sensitive items to ship. Liquids, glass bottles, and fragile items like eyeshadows and powders may require additional packing material to avoid damaged products when traveling across the globe. Consider wrapping items individually and use extra bubble wrap or packing peanuts to secure your products to prevent return costs. Label your package “fragile” to ensure safe handling and properly label your package with the recipient’s name, address, and phone number to avoid delays. 

Shipping Speed 

Determining how fast you want your items to arrive in France will factor into the final shipping cost. Longer transit times like a standard or economy shipping option will be cheaper, but consumers today expect fast shipping. A recent Statista report found that French consumers value free delivery, and 43% expect fast delivery with expectations of arrival between 3 to 5 days after shopping online. 

To succeed in the French market, US-based eCommerce companies must prioritize consumer needs to ensure success when breaking into a new market. With France located over 4,000 miles away, it’s crucial to offer swift delivery options like an express service or priority mail with tracking and delivery confirmation to allow customers to see where their package is located and exactly how long it will take to arrive. 

Other variables, such as customs clearance, weather delays, and postal service holiday closures, are other factors to consider that could affect travel times when shipping internationally. Weather conditions like snow, ice, rain, or fog can cause travel delays, negatively impacting delivery speed and resulting in carriers having to reroute a shipment or reschedule it altogether. 

Package Weight and Dimensions 

To save costs when sending packages to France, the weight and dimensions of your packages are essential considerations. Generally, the heavier the package, the more expensive it is to ship. Shipping companies have different requirements and pricing models for items of varying weight and sizes, with some carriers considering the dimensional weight of the shipment. Dimensional weight accounts for the package’s weight and size/volume. This means that larger packages may incur higher shipping costs than small boxes, even if they weigh less. Before expanding operations overseas, look into your current packaging operations and see where you can optimize costs. For example, it may be more cost-efficient to use smaller-sized packages with less space for items to move around and invest in higher-quality packing materials to keep your items safe. 

Shipping Insurance

Adding shipping insurance is an elected additional cost but is a worthwhile investment in the long run. Retailers can benefit greatly from this upgrade, as shipping insurance will cover the value of the goods being shipped and will protect lost, damaged, or stolen items traveling from one country to another. In some cases, shipping providers will include shipping insurance as part of their total fee based on a certain percentage of the item’s value. However, this will vary by provider, and in many cases, shipping insurance is not applicable to sensitive items like perishable or prohibited items. 

France customs regulations, duties, and taxes: Avoiding additional fees 

Items shipped to France from outside the EU, such as the United States, are subject to obtaining customs clearance before entering. As a country lying within the European Union (EU), many of France’s shipping regulations must adhere to EU regulations as well as other French policies for international deliveries. This means US retailers have to consider the cost of shipping and packaging items, in addition to the taxes and tariffs that may apply when looking to ship to France from USA destinations. 

When shipping to France, businesses must declare goods and pay a value-added tax (VAT) on all items shipped to the EU. The seller registered with the IOSS will be responsible for collecting and declaring the corresponding taxes for items up to €150.  IOSS is a system introduced by the European Union (EU) designed for handling VAT on cross-border eCommerce transactions. The system helps eCommerce businesses by allowing a taxable person to register in a single Member State to declare and pay EU import taxes. 

Further, specific documentation may be required for goods to enter France. While any international delivery will require standard documents like a commercial invoice, customs declaration, and certificate of origin, the EU may require a Harmonized System Code (HS code) as well as an EU-specific code known as the Combined Nomenclature (CN), which is a classification system that is used in the EU to identify goods in trade. Certain goods may also be subject to tariffs – additional taxes on certain goods from countries outside of the EU. 

Other charges may include brokerage fees, which are additional costs charged by customs brokers for submitting documentation, and other services like obtaining customs clearance. Disbursement fees are also additional charges to consider. These are established by the carrier and will vary based on the provider. 

Understanding customs duties, taxes, and additional fees can be complex and challenging to understand alone. Working with an experienced shipping provider who understands the complexities of shipping to France from the United States is essential in achieving a compliant and smooth shipping experience. 

Vetting shipping providers: How to find the right partner 

Vetting shipping providers is a critical step to determine the most cost-efficient option to ship to France and ensure your items arrive safely and compliantly. When shipping to France from the USA, you might be tempted to use a shipping calculator to determine initial costs or wean out expensive providers. But shipping internationally is complicated. The process of sending packages across international borders should not be in the hands of AI or an algorithm-based system. International shipping calculators can only provide the answers they are programmed with and may not be updated with current regulations. Further, they can only answer the questions you ask and do not account for unforeseen costs like tariffs, customs penalties or delays. 

When shipping to unfamiliar territory, it’s best to work with a partner with years of international experience and knowledge of updated regulatory changes to reduce the risk of customs delays or costly mistakes. While widely used eCommerce shipping providers like FedEx, DHL, and UPS offer shipping to France, it’s important to work with a provider that provides customized shipping services that suit your business needs and can offer personalized shipping rates based on your budget. 

When vetting providers, consider asking the following questions: 

  1. Are you a licensed shipping provider? 
  2. How many years of experience do you have? 
  3. How often do you ship internationally? 
  4. How many countries do you ship to? 
  5. Do you have a thorough understanding of EU regulations and policies? 

Asking these questions can help you determine the level of experience a provider has and if they have extensive global knowledge. You can also check reviews, ask for references, and verify they are licensed with the proper credentials. Upon determining these initial details, you can then get into other questions like the delivery options, if shipping insurance is included, and if they offer tracking for shipments heading overseas. 

Evaluating their offerings, years of experience, trustworthiness, and infrastructure can help you see the big picture and that the cheapest option may not be the best option for your eCommerce business to succeed year over year. You need a partner you can build a trusting relationship with over time to create a sustainable shipping structure that can grow as your company expands. 

Ship to France from the USA with ePost Global 

Shipping to France from the USA can be complex, but you can find success at an affordable price with the right partner without sacrificing quality and deliverability. At ePost Global, we offer customized services tailored to your unique needs with the best rates unmatched by other shipping companies. 

As a full-service company, our shipping process involves everything from gathering customs forms to handling applicable duties and fees to ensuring compliance with French regulations, so you don’t have to worry about the customs clearance process. We also provide enhanced tracking solutions, so you can monitor the status of your packages from the moment they leave your warehouse until the final drop-off at their destination, with reliable delivery times and unparalleled customer support from our knowledgeable representatives in the process. 

Further, we’ve established trusted partnerships with courier services beyond traditional shipping carriers. Our esteemed alliances allow us to consolidate shipments from multiple businesses, making more efficient use of transportation services when shipping to France, resulting in more environmentally-friendly processes. 

Want to learn more about our shipping options?

Through our trusted partnerships and customized services, we offer many international shipping options to get your packages safely and compliantly to France. Our USPS Priority Mail International option is a fast and cost-effective way to send mail and packages weighing up to 70 pounds to France or any other of our over 200 destinations worldwide. In addition to enhanced door-to-door tracking capabilities, we offer $100 USD of shipping insurance for all trackable parcels, and free returns through USPS. We also offer express shipping options so you can choose from an array of fast delivery services that best suit your needs. 

Our transparent shipping charges and upfront pricing make it easy to understand the costs associated with your shipments so you can trust you’re working with a company you can rely on. Staying within your realm of costs benefits your business’s bottom line and ensures customer satisfaction, securing long-term business for the future. 

When shipping to France or any international destination, it’s important to remember that there is no “one size fits all” solution. Each destination will vary in costs and require adherence to specific regulations pertaining to that country. Partnering with ePost Global gives you a cost-efficient, seamless experience with delivery reliability, accuracy, and consistency. Whether you are shipping to Paris, Australia, Canada, or beyond, we are your trusted allies to achieve excellence. 

Contact us today to start shipping with confidence.

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