One of the main concerns in dropshipping products from China is the ePacket shipping times. It will take a long time for the products to reach the customers as they are located outside the country. For a drop shipper looking for a faster shipping method, ePacket shipping times will be a big problem. Buying products in bulk and storing them in a warehouse near the customers’ locations is the best solution yet may not be feasible for those who are dropshipping with a limited fund. So how do you resolve this issue? Read on because I’ll discuss them later in this article.
What is ePacket and how does it work?
ePacket is a popular shipping option that China and Hongkong suppliers use to send their products within and outside their countries. By using ePacket they can provide quick and affordable shipping option to dropshipping businesses worldwide particularly the United States. Since 2011, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has been providing First-Class Mail service with Delivery Confirmation service to lightweight goods and merchandise (two kilograms or 4.4 pounds maximum) sent through Hongkong Post. Since then, ePacket has expanded its operation to ship packages to a total of 39 countries.
Packages sent through ePacket are easily monitored via the EMS, USPS, or China Post. You can also use third-party tracking services such as 17TRACK, AfterShip, and Package Mapping. With ePacket, any undelivered packages are returned for free to the sender which is why merchants can easily issue a refund to customers who never receive their purchased items.
However, there are specific requirements for shipping packages through ePacket. These include:
- The maximum weight allowable should not be more than 2 kg or 4.4 lbs.
- The maximum length should not exceed 60 cm and the total height, thickness, and length should be 90 cm or lower.
- The price of the items being shipped should not exceed $400.
- The merchandise must be shipped to eligible countries from either China or Hongkong.
You can learn more on ePacket package sizing by reading the China Post ePacket Fees and Regulations.
What are the Pros and Cons of ePacket Shipping?
ePacket is an ideal shipping method when dropshipping products from China and Hongkong. Yet, it has the following pros and cons that you should be aware of.
ePacket is faster.
It is faster than other standard shipping methods being used in China. Shipment can reach customers in an average of 7 – 20 business days from the date of purchase. Most ePacket supported countries including the US, Canada, and Australia the shipping times are 7-10 business days except for the following countries where delivery will take longer:
Brazil: Shipping ranges from 20 – 30 business days.
Mexico: Delivery mostly takes 20 business days.
Russia, Ukraine, and Saudi Arabia: Packages arrive in destination within 10 -15 business days.
However, shipping from China can go longer during the holiday season or if there are issues in the customs or the shipping details provided by the customers. ePacket is still the faster option than other economical shipping methods in China considering the bulk of packages being sent daily plus the number of stops a package undergoes before it reaches the customer.
You have to be clear about the shipping times that you put in your shipping policy though. If it takes the supplier 10 to 30 days to deliver the product to the customer, might as well set it to 20 to 30 days instead. This way the customers know when is the latest they can receive their purchases. If the package arrives earlier, the more satisfied they will be with your business.
Cheaper than other shipping/delivery service.
Standard shipping from China is $50 for smaller and low-cost products but costs cheaper with ePacket.
Shipment delivery confirmation and tracking number are provided.
You and your customers will be able to track the progress of the shipment using the tracking number that ePacket provides. Once they received their purchases, delivery confirmation details are added in the tracking system for your information as well as the supplier.
There is a limitation as to the size and weight of packages.
If the product does not meet the ePacket requirements, you need to use other shipping methods which might be more expensive or will take longer shipping times.
ePacket delivery of certain items is exclusive to specific countries only.
Some dropshipping products are only available for ePacket shipping in a specific country. When this happens, you need to use other shipping methods to get the product shipped to where the customer is located.
ePacket is not available worldwide.
As of September 2019, ePacket supports only 39 countries out of the 195 countries in the world. You are limited to using the service when shipping to customers in the following countries only:
- Hong Kong
- Indonesia (currently in a trial run)
- Kazakhstan (currently in a trial run)
- New Zealand
- Saudi Arabia
- Thailand (currently in a trial run)
- United Kingdom
- United States
- Vietnam (currently in a trial run)
Who will pay the customs duties and taxes with ePacket shipping?
ePacket delivery goes through customs clearances just like other shipping/delivery services. As this is an international shipping issue, the customers might be required to pay the applicable duties and taxes upon arrival of the packages. You can ask the supplier directly to learn if there are duties and taxes for customers to pay so you can include these in your shipping policy.
If you plan to dropship products from China suppliers in AliExpress or Alibaba, ePacket shipping provides several advantages over standard shipping. ePacket shipping times are faster and more reliable compared to other low-price shipping methods when sourcing products overseas. If you don’t have the means to buy products in bulk and ship them yourself for a faster delivery time, ePacket is the best choice for dropshipping products from China.
You just have to be transparent with your shipping policy and set attainable shipping times. Don’t provide shipping times that are shorter than what your supplier can accomplish because it will be disastrous for your dropshipping business. Shipping delays happen and cannot be avoided. Just make sure that you provide a great customer service to handle disgruntled customers so you’ll have a higher chance of retaining their business.
ePacket shipping is a tried and tested shipping method with minimal risk. By partnering with suppliers using the service will give you the confidence that purchased products will reach their destinations and the issuance of refunds will not be a problem for undelivered items.
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