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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 covers all things ecommerce for the Printful blog. She appreciates good dad jokes, new books, freshly baked cookies, and evening jogs.

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  1. Ron

    If I am outside the US and want to sell products to the US market, can I limit my customers to US only? Can I have shopify pay printful direct or will each purchase have 2 international transactions?

  2. Agata Zaborowski

    I want to setup my shopify page to U.S dollars not Canadian. It seems to be preset to Canadian but we want to target U.S customers. How can we adjust this?

  3. Fernando

    Hi! I am stablishing a company in estonia to create an ecomerce with Printful. Since you are both in US and Europe, I would like to know what are my future obligations/requirements to sell on both places? I mean, for inside Europe’s VAT world, I’m working on it. But I want to know if, since you are also on US (my suplier), what are the taxes and procedures to sell for US costumers too. Sorry to bother.
    Thank you!
    Best Regards, Fernando Jones

  4. Cheyvonne Bower

    When will the currency process be changing? It is ridiculous that it is showing the price in USD as the same in GBP or any other currency. How are we supposed to work out profits? I signed up thinking that the prices were pretty good as they were in dollars. Once converted to GBP it works out about right, but not at a rate of 1:1 !

    1. Edward Zarins

      Hey,
      We’re working to add more currencies to Printful. 🙂
      For now, we don’t accept payments in GBP but you can set your own store currency as you prefer.

  5. Nick

    The push generator thing still isn’t working I believe. My location is in Malaysia, but i wish to have a store currency in USD, which I have no problem doing on shopify. But on printful app, it seems like the push generator limits me to set my retail price in MYR (Malaysia Ringgit) only. And then when I go back to my store, the retail price will be shown in USD. For example, I typed in 189 for my retail price on the push generator in MYR (by default and cannot be changed). And on my online store it would show 189 USD.

    Any comment guys?

  6. hani

    I live in United Arab Emirates. i want to know approximately how long it will take to deliver the products to United Arab Emirates?

    1. Giedre Kronberga

      Hi Hani.

      Most of our orders are shipped within 5 business days. On top of that, you have to add shipping time that depends on the shipping method you choose (express standard, economy, no rush). More about delivery times here: https://www.printful.com/shipping

    1. Giedre Kronberga

      Hi Yuki,

      Printful is available everywhere in the world except Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Antilles, Crimea, Syria, and North Korea.

      We have no subscription fees, you’re only paying for a product, priting, and shipping.

  7. Susan Williams

    I run an online store through shopify out of Canada. There do not seem to be any comparable Canadian print-on-demand/drop shipping options. I would like to know if I can set my site so that any orders that are outside of Canada go to Printful for processing but if in Canada they would not. The reason I ask this is because I did a trial of one of our sweatshirts and had it sent to myself. I was quite happy with the quality, it did take a long time to arrive but then I was charge $15.26 cdn on top of the $33.60 usd for the sweater…I do not want my Canadian customers paying basically half of what the sweater cost in duty charges!

    1. Jess

      Hi Susan,

      I was just wondering what print on demand company you partnered within Canada. I am trying to start my own store in Canada and am running into the same problem.

      Thank you!

  8. Ari

    I’m a little confused about how the shipping pricing works. Since the products are printed in the US or Europe, does the Printful app automatically add the shipping fees in the cart; or is the shipping price already factored into the final product price that I determine when creating the product; or do I take care of the shipping costs manually through my shopify settings? This isn’t really clear to me.
    Help please.
    Thanks!

  9. Michael Garas

    Hello there,
    When you say “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.”, is that referring to the Flat Charge shipping option? I setup Prtinful Flat rates so my Canadian customers will only get one option at checkout. Will Printful by default pick that new Int’l Economy Duties Paid Carrier? Or does that only apply to live rates? If it does not apply to live rates, does that mean that my customers will have to pay for duties? Please advise. Thank you

    1. Madara Zute

      Hi there,
      Printful isn’t available in and doesn’t ship to Cuba, Iran, Crimea, Syria, and North Korea. This list may change periodically.
      We’re available to all other countries and ship internationally!

  10. MotorManiac

    Can I choose which fulfilment centre I use my customers are mostly U.K. And US based can I have all purchased items fulfilled in the US even for the U.K. as Latvia has not been reliable enough to use for my U.K. customers

  11. Maria

    Hi,

    I want to send products printed on demand with you to Europe. As I liked the US t-shirt colors better than the ones in the European warehouse, I chose the US warehouse.

    1- Now, when I pretend to buy something from Spain to see the shipping cost, it is the same one as when I choose the European warehouse… Why is this?
    2- Moreover, I want to know if after the purchase my customers will have to pay any duty on the product purchased and printed by printful? Say customers from Europe that buy products from your warehouse in the US.

    1. Alise Zindiga

      Hi! We have flat shipping rates in order to simplify this process both for us and our customers, however, you have to keep in mind that most probably your customers will face additional custom fees if you chose to disable EU facilities.

  12. Jason

    Where can I find clear information on duty calculations, so I can understand the total cost to customers before I set up a store. I have been talking with online staff and they only say it is “calculated at check out”.

    I am glad it is calculated at the check out, but I understand the entire cost to customers is pretty necessary

    Thanks

    1. Alise Zindiga

      Hey, thanks for your comment! Unfortunately, duty calculation can be done only with the address available, therefore, it’s done at the check-out.

  13. Samuel Payne

    Me and my wife have a huge YouTube audience and I know we could crush it with the Etsy Printful integration. Sadly, international shipping cost is realistically out of range for our YouTube community which is in Brazil. The dollar is like 1-5 right now… hopefully later in the future we can grow an audience in America too! I hope you all keep doing well! Godbless, Jeremiah 29:11!

    1. Daniela Bergmane

      Hey there! We’d love to add you to our growing community of customers, and hopefully, it all works out in the future. All the best and stay safe!

  14. Anthony

    Hi,

    Could you technically mark the retail price as $1 (since that is what customs calculates) to keep the custom fees low? Or is this not allowed?

    Thanks,
    Anthony

    1. Alise Zindiga

      Hey! While technically it is possible, you have to understand that such actions are illegal and might end up with penalty fees.

  15. Ahmad Rejo

    Hi,
    My shop will be based in EU, so if i pick the EU printful section, every order that needs to go to Europe comes from u guys based in the EU right.
    But what happens when i get an order from outside the eu, ex. From USA will it automaticly get made and shipped from the USA printful location or still the from the EU?

    1. Alise Zindiga

      Hi! Yes, we route orders to fulfillment facilities automatically according to the delivery address as well as stock availability.

  16. Ella

    Hi, i’m just starting out is there a way i can be assigned to someone that can explain about the procedures. I stay in Nigeria and i really love printful products and would love to start selling in my college. How much does it cost per sweatshirt?

    1. Daniela Bergmane

      Hey there! Well, it’s completely understandable that kicking off your online business may be quite difficult, challenging, and overwhelming. We have many different resources that you might find useful and that are specifically aimed at those who are just starting out:

      1. First, you may read more on our products, services, and integrations on our website;
      2. Our blog, which you already have found. Check out Beginner’s Handbook there;
      3. Generally, our social media (Facebook, Instagram and Youtube, particularly) is also great way on how to see what we do and how to get started. Additionally, if any questions arise, you can easily drop us a DM of your question and we’ll do our best to help.

  17. 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?

  18. 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! 🙂

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