How to calculate the actual costs for international deliveries of your product

For e-commerce businesses, calculating and offering competitive shipping costs can feel like a constant tightrope walk. On one hand, customers increasingly expect fast and affordable deliveries, with many even considering free shipping as a standard, especially for larger orders. On the other hand, you need to ensure your shipping strategy doesn’t “eat” into your profits.

The delicate balance requires careful consideration of several factors. Accurately calculating shipping costs is crucial for multiple reasons. 

Firstly, it will allow you to determine your true profit margin on each sale. It’s impossible to get a clear picture of the business’s financial health without knowing how much you’re paying to ship an item. Secondly, accurate shipping quotes build trust with customers. Imagine the frustration of finding out the actual cost is higher than what was displayed at checkout. This can damage your brand’s reputation and lead to lost sales.

Furthermore, understanding shipping costs is essential for crafting a free shipping strategy. By factoring in margins, you can determine the minimum order value that qualifies for free shipping, incentivising larger purchases and potentially increasing revenue.

Transparency is key throughout the buying process, and shipping costs are no exception. Customers appreciate knowing exactly what they’ll pay upfront, including shipping fees. This reduces the risk of cart abandonment at the final step and fosters trust and loyalty. 


Several factors influence shipping costs, and understanding these variables empowers businesses to make informed decisions.

The package size plays a significant role, with larger dimensions often incurring higher costs due to a concept called “dimensional weight” used by many carriers. This is calculated by multiplying the package’s length, height, and width; depending on the carrier, the higher value between the dimensional weight and the actual weight is used to determine the cost.

Weight also plays a straightforward role, with heavier packages generally costing more to ship. The destination of the package is another thing to take into account. Shipping carriers divide geographical areas into zones, with the distance between the origin and the destination zone influencing the cost. For example, a package shipped from the same origin to two different destinations within the same country might incur different costs depending on their respective zones. You can see an example here.

For valuable items, insurance becomes an essential factor to consider. While it adds to the overall shipping cost, it protects businesses from financial losses in case of damage or loss during transit. 

Finally, the speed of delivery is another cost-influencing factor. While faster delivery options like those offered by giants like Amazon are enticing to customers, they come at a premium for businesses, requiring careful consideration of the trade-off between customer satisfaction and financial implications.

By understanding these various factors and implementing transparent pricing practices, you can navigate the complexities of shipping costs. This not only helps you maintain healthy profit margins but also fosters stronger customer relationships built on trust and clear communication.


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