Back to All posts
Beginner's handbook Marketing tips

Everything You Need to Know About Selling Internationally

By Reading Time: 4 minutes

When you run an online store, you’re not limited by location. Almost anybody can find you from anywhere – it doesn’t matter that they’re not located where you are. You can reach potential customers around the world, which is great for expanding your audience and fans.

But selling to customers in a different country comes with some extra responsibilities. There are things you have to consider when selling internationally that don’t apply to more local customers.

We’ll cover all of that here, so you can seamlessly sell to all of your customers, near and far. Learn about the information your international customers need to know, international shipping prices and speeds, and how currency works.

Your Target Market

The first thing you should do is understand your current customers and your target market. Do you already have a lot of orders coming in from customers abroad? Do you want to target more people abroad? Or maybe you’re located in a different country and want to tackle a new market?

If you have a limited amount of international orders or aren’t very interested in breaking into international markets, then the amount of time you should dedicate to accommodate international customers should be more limited.

Fulfillment Times

When you’re calculating how much time it’ll take for customers to receive their orders, there are two elements you need to consider: Printful’s fulfillment time, and shipping speed.

It can take anywhere between 2-7 business days for Printful to print apparel products, and 2-5 business days for non-apparel products. Most of our products are printed in 3 business days.

Then you have to calculate shipping speed on top of that. International orders have further to travel. So it may take longer for the order to get to your customer, depending on the carriers you offer and the method they choose.

In the age of Amazon 2-hour delivery, people expect they’ll get their products quickly. Savvy internet shoppers may already know they’ll have to wait a little longer to get their products ordered from far away. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to manage your customers’ expectations and be upfront with how long it’ll take.

Currency and Exchange Rate

You can set your store’s default currency to whatever you like. If most of your customers are located in Europe, then you can charge them in EUR.

However, Printful will always charge you in USD. So you’ll have to keep the exchange rate in mind. When setting prices, you should make sure they’re comparable for your home country’s market, but you should also be able to cover the conversion in USD.

If you use the push generator to add new products to your store, the price you enter will automatically convert 1:1. So if you set your retail price at 25.00 USD it’ll convert to 25.00 EUR, which isn’t a correct conversion. When you add the price in the push generator, add the converted amount in your currency. (Note: this is going to change soon, so expect an update).

Currency 1This is how you see the price on the push generator

Currency 2This is what you see in your store

If you sell products in a currency other than USD, Printful is required by law to list the total retail value on the package. So your packing slip will show the price in USD (unlike orders going to the US).

International Shipping

I already mentioned that international shipping takes longer, which impacts the time it takes for your customers to receive their orders. Here are a few more details you should know about international shipping.

Price

An unexpectedly high shipping price is a big reason for shopping cart abandonment. According to Statista, 56% of shoppers say that unexpected costs are the main reason they don’t go through with their purchase.

Worldwide shipping rates can be more expensive than domestic rates. This depends on whether you offer flat rates or live rates, what carriers you offer, and what method your customer chooses.

Flat rates remain fixed depending on the product category, quantity, and destination. You can find more detailed information here. If you’d like to learn the cost of flat rates for a specific product, then go to its product page and click on the “Shipping” tab.

If you offer live rates, shipping could be cheaper. Live rates calculate the shipping price for the carriers you choose based on the weight and destination. They’re only available for manual orders, Shopify Advanced plan users, WooCommerce Printful plugin users, and API users.

Tracking

If you use flat rates for your store, then we’ll automatically send your orders with the cheapest carrier available at the time of the order. For international orders, this will most likely be a slower, untracked shipping option. So if an order gets lost, there is no way to trace it.

Printful will reship orders that get lost in transit free of charge, but keep in mind this will delay the time it takes for customers to receive their orders.

If you offer live shipping rates, your customers will be able to choose which method they want to use. Here they’ll have the option of selecting a carrier with tracking. However, you should note that some carriers only offer tracking until the order reaches the destination country. Once it’s been accepted at the border, it doesn’t tell you exactly where it is in the country.

Take a look at this blog post, 5 Printful Policies Your Store Should Copy, to learn how to handle international orders with tracking that were lost in transit.

Address Formatting

It’s critical that the address on each order is correct and properly formatted. Otherwise the order might not make it. For example, postal codes for Canadian addresses must be uppercase, and there should be a space between the first three digits and the last three. Addresses must also be formatted in the Latin alphabet.

Customs Fees

Your international customers might have to pay customs fees when they receive their orders. This depends entirely on the destination country and it’s beyond Printful’s control. We can’t mark orders as gifts or undeclare the actual value.

The amount customers have to pay depends entirely on the destination country and their laws. Some countries wave customs fees on orders valued at less than a certain price. Some may charge extra handling fees. It all depends on your customer’s location.

Customers ordering from Canada can now ship with Int’l Economy Duties Paid. This carrier already covers the customs cost, it comes with tracking, and it’s an average of 2 days faster.

It’s a good idea to let your customers know that they may have to pay customs fees so there aren’t any bad surprises. You could write a disclaimer on the check-out page that this order may incur customs fees.

Reach Customers Near and Far

With an online store, the world is your oyster. Your customers can come from all around the globe. You just have to know what to do to make sure sales go smoothly.

How many of you get orders from international customers?

Nora has been part of the Printful team since 2015. She has spent the last several years writing content, coordinating communications projects, and helping customers learn about ecommerce. Now as Printful's Brand Manager, she gets to use her experience and knowledge in new and challenging ways.

If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to updates

Get actionable drop shipping advice in your inbox

  1. Sebastian Widjaja

    Hi,

    I have set my Shopify store and Printful price in USD and I have added a product from Printful to my store. In my Shopify store, it shows that the price of the product is $50USD as an example. But when I open the product using the Printful App, it says that the retail price is in $50 CAD. I tried to change the retail price currency but it seems there is no way to do so.

    As I was reading this article, it mentions that for international shipping the package slips will have to show the product price. My question is, if I have a customer who doesn’t live in the US, would the price on the package slips shows $50CAD or $50USD or just $50?

  2. Sheri

    Hi,

    My store and printful price are set in USD, but would like to reset to CAD since my store is based in Canada. How do I do this, and make sure that my products are set in CAD.

    Thanks

    1. Daniela Bergmane

      Hey, you can change the currency in your Printful dashboard, go to Billing > Billing methods > Store billing methods. However, please note that changing your currency in your Printful account doesn’t change it on your storefront. For that, go to your ecommerce platform’s settings. You can read more about it here. Hope that helps! 🙂

  3. Sandra Madsø

    Yeah, I can’t afford to use Printful anymore. The item price is fair, but the shipping costs to EFTA states and then the customs fee added on is just insanely expensive. Marketing is hard enough without having to ask customers to pay nearly 100 dollars for a hoodie. I hope my country will stop the insane customs and import fees and that shipping here will become cheaper.

    1. Edward Zarins

      Hey, Sandra! I’m sorry to hear this. We try to offer as low as possible shipping pricing from our side but to some countries/regions the rates are higher. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

    1. Alise Zindiga

      Hey, Nat, we strongly recommend using street address—there are some carriers that don’t deliver to PO boxes and some products don’t even fit the box, so regular address is preferred.

  4. Doreen Lambert

    Maybe this will help others, as I was having the same issue. I am in Canada, just changed Shopify website to USD to adjust easier for costs and it wouldn’t change in Printful. Was given this by the help chat person…..Thanks for reaching out to us.

    If you have changed your prices to USD in your store, then you have to go to Printful dashboard>Stores>View>Refresh data at the right corner. This should display the currency you have in your store.

    If you have any additional questions, feel free to reach out and I’ll be happy to assist.

    Have a great day!

  5. Yves B.

    Hey! My question is, will my customer see the price of Printful on the package he gets, or can I do anything to make him see the price the customer paid me?

    1. Alise Zindiga

      We don’t include the price on our packing slips and suggest that you send electronic invoices to your customers whenever needed.

  6. Cameron Clay

    I’m not sure I really understand how it all works. Throughout the pricing the printful website states the “profit” for a £26 item would be £7.40, excluding tax and postage. Once an order was made through Etsy, it charged my account £29.26 from a £30.67 total order. Is this hows its meant to happen or have I done something wrong here?

    1. Daniela Bergmane

      Hey, Cameron, without any further looking into this, it’s difficult to tell straight-away what the reason could have been here. One thing I’d suggest taking into consideration when pricing your products and deciding on the profit is expenses that differ from platform to platform. Etsy, for example, charges a 5% fee on every transaction and shipping that takes place on the platform, so this might be the reason here. Here’s more information if you’d like to have a look.

    1. Daniela Bergmane

      They shouldn’t see your own address, but the return address will be displayed there. By default, it’s our address, but if you wish, you can change it to your own in the Settings on your Printful Dashboard. If you’d like to have a look, here’s what our packaging slips look like.

  7. Angad Singh Sekhon

    Hi,

    I will be starting my store soon. I just wanted to check few points:
    1. I created some products with printing facility in Europe and USA. I wanted to ask if USA customer places an order and the product is not available in USA, will it automatically go to Europe printing facility? This will increase shipping time and there can be custom charges also on customers. Please help me on this. If this is the case then how can I remove Europe printing facility from that product.

    2. I wanted to start my store for selling only in USA and buy also from USA. What if I want to sell same products to Europe also. How to set same products to sell in Europe. And how to make sure Europe customers orders are printed in Europe only and USA customers orders are printed in USA only? I want if the product is not available in USA facility for US customer then customer should now be able to place the order.

    1. Alise Zindiga

      Hey, thanks for reaching out! We’re automatically routing orders that aren’t available for fulfillment in the US. If some product is out of stock it might be routed as well, especially if we’re expecting that re-stocking won’t happen that soon. To avoid shipping from the EU as much as possible, select products that are available for fulfillment in the US. The same suggestion applies the other way around if you want to sell in Europe only. You can create different shipping profiles for various listings or host 2 different stores for each location.

1 2 3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published



Back to All posts

Ready to try Printful?

Connect to an ecommerce platform or make an order

Get started