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Navigating International Shipping Expansion

Let us answer your questions about the best international shipping solutions for small business

International Shipping for Small Business

If you are looking to expand your customer base internationally, we're here to help you understand how to approach the complexity of worldwide shipping for small business. From clearing customs to navigating returns, our team of experts will break down:

  • Top 5 factors when exploring international shipping
  • Comparing shipping costs
  • Partnering with DHL

Top 5 Factors When Exploring International Shipping

Whether you’re selling on a marketplace or exploring adding international shipping through your e-commerce website or platform like Shopify or Adobe Commerce, here are five things to consider when selecting an international shipping partner. 


You know from your domestic shipping that a delivery partner is an extension of your brand. Make sure your provider has ample experience and personnel on the ground in the country or countries you are exploring. 

Delivery Speed

Whether you are handling shipping yourself or dropshipping, the length of time it takes to receive an international shipment can be a barrier for your customers. We recommend offering multiple service levels to your customers. 

Delivery Options

Depending on the market, international customers might have different expectations for delivery options. In high-density cities in Europe, for example, locker pickup has grown in popularity. Make sure you offer the most popular options in your new markets. 

Fully Landed Cost

Fully landed cost is the total price of a product once it has arrived at a buyer's doorstep. Buyers want to know that price includes the shipping cost and any customs fees. Make sure to include any additional fees your customers will have to pay in your price. 


International returns can be costly and complicated for a small business. In some international markets, drop off centers help facilitate e-commerce returns.  You’ll want to understand your partner's physical presence in your market.  

For more information about what online shoppers are looking for and how that impacts your shipping, check out our 2023 Online Shopper Surveys.

Comparing Shipping Costs

Comparing apples to apples between your potential shipping providers can be challenging. You’ll want to be sure to explore the tracking and shipment visibility capabilities, shipment value protections, and customer service options when you are looking at the cost for the best international shipping for small business. Sometimes the least expensive option includes many add-ons or leaves you with information gaps you’ll regret later.

Origin, destination and volume are the biggest factors in cost. Make sure you are comparing prices taking into account any volume discounts your provider might offer. 

Contact Our Shipping Experts

We know costs and service level questions are probably top of mind. Our shipping experts are ready to answer any of your questions. Tell us a little bit more about your shipping needs, so we can connect you with the right expert. 

Partnering with DHL

Let’s dive into the industry-leading capabilities DHL offers customers looking for international shipping for small business.


DHL is the only shipping and logistics brand to rank in Infegy’s list of Top 20 Most Trusted Brands – a ranking based on analyzing what people are saying about brands across social media platforms. 

We operate in more than 220 countries and territories – with a team of more than 600,000 shipping and logistics specialists, no other provider knows the world like we do. 

Learn more about our Partnering with DHL

Delivery Speed

For parcel and document shippers we have two divisions offering international shipping services for small and medium-sized businesses.  

DHL Express

DHL Express offers door-to-door expedited international shipping to more than 220 countries and territories with next possible business day delivery.

DHL eCommerce

In the United States, DHL eCommerce provides international and domestic parcel delivery for businesses shipping more than 5,000 shipments a month. In other parts of the world, our service offering is tailored to the region. 

For our freight shipping customers, we also offer a variety of speed options through our two freight divisions. 

DHL Global Forwarding

DHL Global Forwarding offers a range of services including:  air freight, ocean freight, rail freight, multimodal solutions, SameDay services, customer brokerage and customs consulting. 

DHL Freight

Available in Europe, DHL Freight offers reliable road, intermodal and rail freight services on our own dedicated network, connecting Europe's business centers every day. A range of speed and cost options are available, as well as additional features like high value, cold chain or customs brokerage.

Parcel and Document Business Shipping Options

Our products and services vary by country. If you’re looking for service from another country, change the country edition at the top of the site. For service from the United States, explore our parcel and document service details. 

Price Transparency

To help you provide the highest level of price transparency to your customers, DHL has developed the DHL Duties and Taxes Calculator. Businesses can leverage this tool in several ways. This tool allows you to calculate international duties and taxes accurately at checkout. As a result, international customers have full visibility of total costs, and a frictionless shopping experience. 

This tool can be used with any DHL division or with any other carrier.

Customs Options

For business account holders in the United States, DHL Express and DHL eCommerce offer options for duties including – DDP (Delivered Duty Paid) and taxes paid in advance and DDU (Delivered Duty Unpaid) and taxes paid upon delivery. For DHL Express customers, customs brokerage is included in the door-to-door price. Because customs and duties options are localized by shipment origin and destination, our highly-trained local shipping experts can best help you navigate this complicated process.

In the United States, DHL eCommerce offers options for duties including – DDP (Delivered Duty Paid) and taxes paid in advance and DDU (Delivered Duty Unpaid) and taxes paid upon delivery. In other regions, our customs solutions vary based on the international service offering in a country.

Delivery Options and Returns

DHL has been on the forefront of exploring new document and parcel delivery options to our customers. From pioneering locker distribution in Europe, to drone delivery experiments in rural areas of Africa, we know our customers are looking for flexibility and convenience.

DHL Express

DHL Express offers their On Demand Delivery Tool to let your customers manage their delivery options in real time from their phone without needing a password or login.

DHL eCommerce

In Europe and Asia, DHL eCommerce has developed a service point and locker network for easy delivery and returns.

Starting with International Scale?

If you’re already managing a significant volume of domestic shipment and you’re expecting to hit a new market with some significant scale, you may want to consider working with local shippers and house your products in fulfillment centers near your new market. A distributed inventory strategy shortens shipping times and lowers shipping costs. We offer the DHL Fulfillment Network in Europe and selected countries around the world. 

Real World Examples

Let’s hear from some customers who have recently expanded internationally with some of our divisions.