Finding the Best and Cheapest International Shipping Options

cheapest international shipping, international shipping rates

While international shipping isn’t cheap, offering it to your customers can greatly increase your sales. Of course, the cost of international shipping can cut significantly into your margins.

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by Dan Allard

Aug 11, 2017

Key Points

  • Ship your parcels far earlier than normal
  • Double-check that the parcel is addressed correctly
  • Request a signature so packages won’t be left alone on porches
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Finding the Best International Shipping Rates

One of the greatest benefits of owning an online store is the ability to sell to customers outside of your local area. Many small business owners that have brought their stores online have expanded their customer base to all parts of the globe. And while international shipping isn’t cheap, offering it to your customers can greatly increase your sales.

But what about profitability, you ask?

Of course, there is no simple answer to that question. The good news is that many business owners have increased sales AND profits by shipping their items internationally. There are a few things you must know in order to reduce costs and make it profitable and we’ll cover those in this article.

It’s important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all cheapest international shipping option. There are too many variables including the types of items you sell, their weight, your sales volume, the destination countries you ship to, and your desired delivery time-frames that affect which courier company you should choose.

What Is The Cheapest Way to Ship Internationally

Let’s assume you made your first cross-border sale and you’re ready to ship your package. You probably want to find the best international shipping rates, however cheaper isn’t always better. In many cases cutting corners or going with the cheapest option means compromising on service.

Let’s take a look at the top courier companies and compare their rates and service:

Canada Post

Canada Post is the largest domestic shipping company in Canada and they also offer competitive international shipping options as well. If price is the most important factor you’re looking for then you’ll want to get a shipping quote from them. However, they do lack features such as real-time tracking updates and their service can be slower than others.


Purolator has a very large network that they can leverage to provide competitive pricing and efficient service. When it comes to international shipping they offer guaranteed delivered-by times such as 9AM, 10:30AM, and 12PM. Their services are very quick and reliable so if you need to guarantee something will be delivered by a certain day and time Purolator will be a great option for you.


FedEx became widely popular because of their overnight shipping service and their tracking update features. Their international shipping services are very reliable and they provide quality tracking information. Because of the higher quality of services and increased reliability, you can expect to pay a bit more for their services.


Delivering over fifteen million packages a day, UPS is the world’s largest package delivery company. They have a massive network throughout the world that they can leverage to provide competitive shipping rates and efficient service. Again if price is the most important factor you’re looking for then this may be a good option for you.

DHL Express

DHL Express is another great option for shipping packages internationally. They offer low rates and are very efficient, especially when you’re shipping to countries in Asia, Europe, or Africa. They are not US based so they can ship to embargoed countries like Iran and Cuba.


You’ll notice that a few of the courier companies listed above have low rates, but which one has the lowest? That depends on a lot of things and often the cheapest option for one delivery may not be the cheapest for the next.

You can save the most when you compare shipping rates on an order to order basis, and that’s exactly what our program Secureship allows you to do.

Simply enter your package details like size, weight, and destination and you’ll receive a quote from multiple shipping providers. You’ll quickly see who has the lowest rate, as well as other features such as estimated delivery time.

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What Are The Best Ways to Ship Internationally

Saving money on international shipping isn’t as easy as picking the courier with the lowest price. There are other things you should do to reduce your expenses.

Use The Smallest Package Possible

This one seems like a no-brainer but it’s worth mentioning. If you have experience sending packages then you probably know that the rates go up when the size of the box goes up. Make sure you purchase the smallest boxes you can for your items. If you send items in boxes that are larger than necessary you’ll be paying more than you need to be.

Prepare Customs Documents

This is actually one of the most important steps when you’re shipping something internationally. Incomplete or missing customs documents can mean serious delays in customs, or worse, your package not being delivered altogether. Always research the rules and regulations of the destination country before sending your package out and make sure you follow all of their rules and include all of the necessary paperwork.

Purchase Shipping Online

Most shipping companies provide discounts for online customers. If you bring your package to their office you’ll likely pay full price for their services because they know you’re not likely to shop around for the best price at that point. Online customers, however, are very likely to search for the best price.

If you usually purchase shipping services at the couriers physical location than making this one change can save you a lot of money throughout the year.

Save and Reuse the Packaging Materials You Receive

If you’re like most business you probably receive just as many packages as you send out. What do you do with all of the incoming packaging materials? If they usually end up in the trash you’re throwing money away. Packaging materials such as packing peanuts, foam, and plastic wrap can be reused. Chances are you could easily reduce your materials cost by 40%.


When shipping packages overseas you have a lot of choices when it comes to the shipping provider. Instead of getting a quote from each company individually, save time and money by using our online service, Secureship. You’ll receive an instant shipping quote from multiple carriers so you can choose the company with the best price and features for your needs.

About the author: Dan Allard

About the author

Dan Allard is a marketing specialist, guitar player, and father living in The Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In his free time he’s usually reading business and marketing blogs, watching Shark Tank, or pretending he’s Iron Man because he has an Amazon Echo. He also enjoys finding great deals online and finding ways to reduce shipping costs.
About Secureship

About Secureship

Secureship® offers an online service that helps businesses and organizations ship more efficiently and affordably.

Providing instant price shopping across multiple carriers, Secureship is the best choice for reduced rate shipping. In addition, Secureship offers benefits such as a consolidated shipping system regardless of the carrier you choose, built-in address book, convenient invoicing and shipment management.

Visit our shipping estimate tool to see how much you can reduce your shipping expenses.