Ultimate Guide to ePacket Delivery, Tracking, and Shipping
There was once a time you had to wait weeks or even over a month for a package to arrive from China. This was a shame considering China leads the manufacturing sector, accounting for over 28% of the global production—almost 12% more than the second place country, the United States, according to Statista.
With consumer patience getting thinner and thinner, it is becoming increasingly difficult for you to compete if you sell products from China.
What you might not have known, however, is in 2011 the United States Postal Service (USPS) launched a new delivery service to reduce shipping times from Hong Kong and China.
The service is called ePacket, and through this service, packages from Hong Kong and China can be delivered first class to 44 countries via USPS.
Countries that Offer ePacket Delivery
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
- New Zealand
- Saudi Arabia
- United Kingdom
- United States
Now merchants selling in these countries can offer delivery times much faster than before the introduction of this service. In the US, consumers can expect a delivery time of 10–20 days.
How Long Does ePacket Take to Deliver?
Average ePacket Shipping Times:
- Shipping to Brazil takes the longest amount of time at 20–30 business days.
- Mexico is next in line with a shipping time of 20 business days.
- Vietnam takes 5–7 business days.
- In parts of Eastern Europe and the Middle East: Russia, Ukraine, and Saudi Arabia, shipping takes 7–15 business days.
- For all other supported countries, the shipping time is between 7–10 business days.
Half of the delivery time is spent being shipped to the country destination. The other half of the delivery time occurs within the country as the packages are taken through customs and sent to the distribution centers to be delivered to the customer.
As with all delivery services, the delivery times can vary depending on national holidays, a country’s individual customs procedures, and the customer’s destination within the country.
You might now be wondering, how can ePacket delivery offer such a fast turnaround?
How ePacket Shipping Works
There are three stages of an ePacket delivery.
The first is moving the package from the manufacturer in China or Hong Kong to the borders of the country.
Then, the international courier takes the package and ships it to the destination country.
Once the package arrives at the destination country, the courier local to that country will deliver the package to the customer.
Eligibility Criteria for ePacket Shipping
Aside from selling in one of the eligible countries, there are some product size and pricing requirements to be able to use the ePacket service, which was designed for small, light packages.
At minimum, the package needs to be 14 cm long and 11 cm wide. For a rolled-up package, the minimum length is 11 cm and for the following calculation, the total cannot equate to over 17cm: diameter of the package x 2 + the length of the package.
Sometimes merchants use a box larger than these dimensions for smaller packages and add in filler material such as bubble wrap to make the package eligible for ePacket delivery!
The length of the package can be no larger than 60 cm, while the sum of the length, width, and height cannot exceed 90 cm.
For rolled-up packages, the maximum length is 90 cm and for the following calculation, the total cannot equate to over 104cm: diameter of the package x 2 + the length of the package.
The total weight of the package, including the package materials and the product, must be no more than 2 kg.
Unless you are shipping to Israel, where the weight limit is 3 kg.
The product cannot be worth more than $400 in any country.
Naturally, when you discover you’re eligible for the ePacket service, you’ll want to understand if it would be profitable.
Costs of ePacket Shipping
Offering expedited shipping does give your online store an edge over your competitors, but if the cost is too high for your customers, then it nullifies that advantage.
Having said that, since this service is intended for smaller products with a lower price range that customers are less patient to wait for compared to a product like a sofa that people rarely need to be delivered overnight, you might want to weigh up the pros and the cons of the costs.
For a 4 lb package, the costs are as follows:
- US = $21.20
- UK = $19.84
- AUS = $18.80
- NZ = $28.30
You should take into account the fees associated with the program when deciding whether to use it for your ecommerce business.
Will Customers Have to Pay Extra?
As with all packages imported from a foreign country, ePacket packages are subject to the same customs procedures.
This means it is possible that customers will have to pay some duties and taxes on the product.
Some of these fees may be owed on arrival, so it’s best to check with your supplier whether there will be any fees for this product.
It’s also good practice to stay on top of duties and taxes you owe on imported products within your local state.
If selling ePacket products looks like a viable option for you, this is how you can implement it into your business.
How to Dropship Using ePacket Shipping
Order fulfillment is everything in ecommerce. You’re heavily reliant on your suppliers’ packaging and shipping products in a timely fashion to get the product in the customer’s hands as fast as possible.
Offering ePacket products is a simple process.
The most popular product sites, eBay and AliExpress, both offer ePacket products.
To find ePacket products quickly on AliExpress, you can use the Chrome extension Oberlo, which allows you to add ePacket products to your Shopify store directly.
How to Add ePacket Products to Your Store
The first step is to download the Oberlo Chrome extension.
Once you’ve created your free account, you can connect your Shopify store.
To do this, you simply enter your store URL and install Oberlo in your Shopify store.
When searching through AliExpress for products, the Chrome extension will highlight ePacket products in green.
When you find products you want to sell, you add them to your product list in Oberlo (when you hover over products you’ll be given an option to add the product to Oberlo), you can import your product list to your Shopify store.
That’s all it takes to add ePacket products to your ecommerce store!
When you’re selling these products, you can track their delivery progress too.
How to Track an ePacket Delivery
Tracking an ePacket delivery is very straightforward and not dissimilar to regular product tracking.
While AliExpress has its own built-in tracking system, you can get the tracking code of any product directly from the supplier and track your order’s progress on the supplier’s website.
Alternatively, there are third-party tracking tools like Aftership and 17track.
As mentioned previously, there are three stages of the delivery of your products.
To track the progress in China, you can use the tracking site of their official delivery service, ems.com.
To track the progress in the US, you can use the tracking tool on the USPS website.
You have a few options, but tracking through AliExpress is probably the easiest option.
We’ve covered how the ePacket program works. Now, let’s consider the benefits it offers and some of the drawbacks.
Benefits of ePacket Shipping for Dropshippers
The ePacket program offers dropshippers opportunities that weren’t previously available.
Faster Deliveries From China
A large portion of dropshippers source their products from China. The main setback of this was delivery times if you’re selling in a different country.
With the ePacket program, you can get products into your customer’s hands in just 10–20 days. When you consider how much you can undercut sellers with local suppliers, it makes it worth the wait for customers. Especially since it used to take weeks or even over a month to receive a product from China or Hong Kong.
Another drawback of sourcing from China used to be the high shipping costs for customers. However, ePacket products have lower costs for shipping.
Having cheaper shipping rates for your products is great for your brand for obvious reasons, but if you’re able to offset costs to offer free shipping, then that is the gold standard in ecommerce.
If you’re able to offer a free delivery option, then that is a huge selling point for your business.
You can promote this fact as a reason for customers to choose you over your competitors.
With speedier delivery, you may also see an increase in orders as customers want products faster.
Easy to Synchronize
As previously mentioned, with tools like the Chrome extension Oberlo and third-party tracking tools, it’s easy to find ePacket products, download them to your store, and set up a tracking system.
Allowing customers to track their orders improves their experience with your brand. It also gives you the opportunity to push order updates to your customers to keep them engaged with your brand.
While the ePacket program has benefits that could be game-changing for your business, it is limited in its capabilities.
Limitations of ePacket
There are 195 countries in the world, and ePacket supplies just 44 of them.
While they are the countries most active in the ecommerce market, if you sell in one of the other 151 countries, you won’t be eligible for this program.
Also, regarding eligibility, there are limitations set on the size and value of products you can sell with the program.
More than that, not all products that would qualify for ePacket are associated with the program. It might take you some time to find ePacket products on the AliExpress or eBay marketplaces.
However, if the product you sell does qualify, then you might very well find that this program makes a big difference to your business.
Expanding into ePacket can not only improve your business, it also increases its value.
When your business earns more profits, it becomes worth more to business investors. Especially when you add to your product range and diversify its earnings.
Selling your dropshipping business might not have been something you’ve considered before, but imagine what you could do with 30–50x of your monthly net profits in one transaction—the average sale price of ecommerce businesses in our marketplace.
If you’re curious as to what your dropshipping business could be worth, try out our free valuation tool to get a ballpark figure today.