How to Ship Internationally on Shopify: A Step-by-Step Guide

7 minute read

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In today's globalized economy, reaching international customers is crucial for any e-commerce business. Luckily, with Shopify, shipping to customers around the world is simpler than ever. In this step-by-step guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know to successfully ship your products worldwide using Shopify.

Understanding International Shipping on Shopify

Before diving into the specifics of setting up your store for international shipping, it's important to understand the importance of global e-commerce and how Shopify simplifies international shipping.

The Importance of International Shipping for E-commerce

The benefits of international shipping are clear – by reaching customers around the world, you can dramatically increase your sales and grow your business. Selling internationally also helps diversify your customer base and reduces your dependence on domestic sales alone, making your business more resilient to economic changes in any one country.

When you expand your business globally, you also have the opportunity to explore new markets and tap into new customer segments. This can help you stay ahead of the competition and keep your business profitable in the long run.

How Shopify Simplifies International Shipping

Shopify provides a wide range of tools and resources to make international shipping simple and hassle-free. From connecting you with shipping carriers to handling taxes and duties, Shopify takes care of the logistics so you can focus on growing your business.

One of the key features that makes international shipping on Shopify so easy is the ability to set up shipping rates based on location. This means that you can create custom shipping rates for specific regions, countries, or even individual products. This level of customization allows you to offer competitive shipping rates to your customers, no matter where they are in the world.

Shopify also provides automatic tax calculations for international orders, taking the guesswork out of calculating taxes and duties. This means that you can ensure that your customers are paying the correct amount for their orders, without having to manually calculate taxes for each individual order.

Another feature that makes international shipping on Shopify a breeze is the ability to print shipping labels directly from your Shopify account. This saves you time and effort, as you can easily print shipping labels for all of your orders in one place. Plus, Shopify integrates with a wide range of shipping carriers, so you can choose the carrier that works best for your business.

Overall, Shopify's international shipping features make it easy for businesses of all sizes to expand their reach and grow their sales globally. With the right tools and resources, you can tap into new markets and reach customers around the world.

Setting Up Your Shopify Store for International Shipping

Now that you understand the importance of international shipping and how Shopify can help simplify the process, let's dive into the specific steps you need to take to set up your Shopify store for international orders.

Expanding your business globally is an excellent way to increase your customer base and revenue. By offering international shipping, you can reach customers in different parts of the world and provide them with access to your products or services.

Before you start shipping internationally, there are a few things you need to consider. For instance, you need to choose the right shipping carrier, configure your shipping zones and rates, and customize your shipping labels and packaging.

Choosing the Right Shipping Carriers

When it comes to international shipping, it's important to choose the right shipping carriers to ensure your packages arrive safely and on time. Shopify integrates with a wide range of shipping carriers, including USPS, FedEx, and DHL, giving you plenty of options to choose from.

Choosing the right shipping carrier can be challenging, especially if you're new to international shipping. You need to consider factors such as shipping time, cost, and reliability. It's also essential to choose a carrier that offers tracking information so that you and your customers can track the package's progress.

Researching different shipping carriers can help you make an informed decision. You can compare shipping rates, delivery times, and customer reviews to find the best carrier for your business.

Configuring Shipping Zones and Rates

Once you've chosen your shipping carrier, it's time to configure your shipping zones and rates. Shopify allows you to set up shipping rates for different countries or regions, giving you the flexibility to offer free or discounted shipping to specific areas.

When configuring your shipping zones and rates, you need to consider factors such as the package's weight, size, and destination. You can also offer different shipping options, such as standard or express shipping, to give your customers more flexibility.

It's also essential to consider customs and import taxes when shipping internationally. You need to research the customs regulations in different countries to avoid any delays or additional charges.

Customizing Shipping Labels and Packaging

Customizing your shipping labels and packaging is an important step in ensuring your packages arrive safely and look professional. Shopify allows you to customize your shipping labels with your logo and branding, as well as customize your packaging with custom boxes, tape, and more.

Custom packaging can help your brand stand out and make a great first impression on your customers. You can also use custom packaging to protect your products during shipping and reduce the risk of damage.

When customizing your shipping labels, you need to include all the necessary information, such as the recipient's address, tracking number, and customs information. You can also add marketing messages or promotional offers to your shipping labels to encourage repeat business.

In conclusion, setting up your Shopify store for international shipping can help you expand your business and reach new customers. By choosing the right shipping carrier, configuring your shipping zones and rates, and customizing your shipping labels and packaging, you can provide your customers with a seamless and professional international shipping experience.

Navigating Customs and Duties

Customs and duties can be a tricky and confusing aspect of international shipping, but Shopify simplifies the process with a range of helpful tools and resources.

Understanding Customs Regulations

Before shipping internationally, it's important to understand the customs regulations and requirements for each country you'll be shipping to. This can include restrictions on certain products, as well as requirements for labeling and packaging. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in delays or even the seizure of your products.

Shopify provides a range of helpful resources to help you navigate these complexities. This includes detailed guides on customs regulations for different countries, as well as access to a network of customs brokers who can provide expert advice and assistance.

Calculating Duties and Taxes

Calculating duties and taxes for international shipments can be a major headache, but Shopify makes it easy with an integrated duty calculator that helps you quickly and accurately calculate these fees.

The duty calculator takes into account factors such as the value of the goods, the country of origin, and the destination country, and provides you with an estimate of the duties and taxes you can expect to pay. This can help you accurately price your products for international customers, and avoid unexpected fees and charges.

Preparing Accurate Customs Documentation

Accurate customs documentation is crucial for ensuring your packages clear customs smoothly and quickly. This includes documents such as commercial invoices, packing lists, and certificates of origin.

Shopify provides a range of customizable templates to help you prepare accurate and professional-looking customs documentation. These templates include all the necessary information required by customs officials, and can be easily customized to include your own branding and product information.

Additionally, Shopify offers a range of apps and integrations that can help streamline the customs documentation process. This includes tools for automatically generating shipping labels and customs forms, as well as integrations with popular shipping carriers and customs brokers.

By leveraging these tools and resources, you can navigate the complex world of customs and duties with confidence, and ensure that your international shipments arrive at their destination smoothly and on time.

Managing International Returns and Refunds

Dealing with returns and refunds can be complicated enough for domestic orders, but managing international returns and refunds adds an extra layer of complexity. However, with Shopify, it's easy to manage these processes and keep your customers satisfied.

Creating a Clear Return Policy

Creating a clear and easy-to-understand return policy is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid confusion and disputes when it comes to international returns. Shopify allows you to easily create and customize your return policy to meet your specific needs.

Handling Return Shipping Costs

Handling return shipping costs can be a tricky issue, especially when it comes to international returns. However, Shopify makes it easy to customize your return policy so that your customers know exactly what to expect when it comes to return shipping costs.

Processing Refunds and Exchanges

Finally, processing refunds and exchanges is a crucial aspect of managing international orders. With Shopify, you can easily manage refunds and exchanges through your dashboard, ensuring that your customers are satisfied and your business runs smoothly.


Shipping internationally can seem like a daunting challenge, but with Shopify, it's easier than ever. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can successfully expand your reach and grow your business by selling to customers around the world. With Shopify's powerful tools and resources at your disposal, the world is your marketplace.

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