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Common Mistakes with International Shipping

Updated: Apr 10

We know that international shipping can feel overwhelming but it is also a great business opportunity for small businesses so this month we are focusing on order fulfillment tips and tricks for the customs process.


You can check out tips and tricks for completing the customs paperwork on our last blog.


Today we are going to look at some of the common mistakes small businesses make when shipping internationally. Here are our top 5:


  1. The number one most common mistake we see is leaving sections of the customs forms blank. It is critical to complete the entire form and gather any information you don’t already have! Packages will get held up and sometimes lost or returned if the forms are incomplete.

  2. Underestimating the value of your product is tempting given the cost of duties. However, it is critical to provide accurate information. The value is the price your customers paid for the item; not the cost to produce the item.

  3. Finding the right HS Code (Harmonized System Code) can be tricky. There are so many codes and they are so specific! For example, you can’t just look up the code for a hat. You have to know what it is made of. There are different codes for fur hats and hats made of textiles and still a whole different code for felt hats. Who knew there were felt hats!? You can search HS Codes here.

  4. Some items require you to label your package as hazardous. Each country has its own standard and some of them may surprise you. For example, did you know that the US Postal Service considers perfume to be hazardous?

  5. Including accurate phone numbers for yourself and the recipient is critical. Shipping carriers will contact you if they have a question. If they don’t hear back after a certain number of days, some carriers destroy your package.


We hope these tips helped you prepare to start shipping internationally but if you still need help with international order fulfillment, we are here to help. You can contact us at or (720)486-2101.

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