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Choosing a carrier

In the U.S., there are two types of carrier services: trackable and delivery confirmation. Trackable services, such as FedEx, UPS and the US Postal Service’s Express service, all include door-to-door tracking. Typically a trackable service costs more than a “delivery confirmation” service, such as the US Postal Service’s Priority and First Class package services. These services can also be viewed as International Carriers (UPS, FedEx and DHL), Regional Carriers (OnTrac, Lone Star Overnight) and Postal Consolidators (FedEx Smartpost, UPS Surepost, DHL Global Mail) or Postal Solutions (Canada Post, USPS).

What is delivery confirmation?

Delivery confirmation is confirmation of delivery, and sometimes pickup, by the carrier, but shows no visibility between those points. The US Postal Service (USPS) typically offers this with its base services.

How reliable are tracking and delivery confirmation?

Neither service is reliable 100 percent of the time. We find that even the higher end services occasionally miss a package, forgetting to scan it. Delivery confirmation is the least reliable, with a high frequency of packages showing no scan, or just a pickup scan, even though the package has been safely delivered.

What if the carrier website only says “billing information received” or “electronic shipping info received”?

This is the closest the carriers get to saying “we know we’re supposed to have this package, but we don’t know where it is.” If the carrier website is missing the tracking information, wait a day or two and see if the problem resolves itself. Often times the carrier website is simply missing the most up-to-date information.

What about international shipments?

FedEx, UPS and DHL offer tracking on all services internationally. The US Postal Service offers tracking on Express International shipments. No other USPS services offer reliable tracking or delivery confirmation internationally. You will often only see a “pickup” scan for services such as Priority Mail International, but no “delivery” scan.

Also consider that cross-border shipments must go through Customs. Customs of every country has the right to stop any shipment, and charge a fee. In our experience, if your product is getting “caught” by Customs, simply switching the carrier can alleviate this problem. For example, if you find that one of your customers is surprised by a DHL Customs fee upon delivery, switching over to USPS Priority Mail International may be better (and safer) for your particular product.

What should I do if there is a problem?

If you are reasonably certain there is a real problem with the order, simply sign into your account, find the order, and click Report a Problem on the order summary page. From there you can instantly submit an insurance claim for loss or damage, or get an erroneous shipment resolved without lifting a finger.

Do all shipments come with insurance?

No, not all shipments come with insurance. All FedEx, UPS and DHL shipments come with $100 insurance included, as do US Postal Service Express shipments.

To add the first $100 insurance to US Postal Service, simply sign into your account, click Account Settings, and adjust your shipping preferences.

If you want more than $100 insurance, you can add this in the same manner. We will automatically calculate the appropriate insurance for each order.

How do I set my store?

We recommend you only offer 1 Day, 2 Day and Ground options to your customers. This keeps things plain and simple for the customer. Your store then only sends 1D, 2D or GD to Shipwire. Then in the shipping preferences of your account, you can select how you want Shipwire to handle the multitude of complex corner cases, such as different countries, PO Boxes, military bases, box sizes, backorders, etc. Your customers never see the complexity, you spend less than 5 minutes setting it up, and Shipwire takes care of all the hassles for you.

How do I ship with my own carrier? (3rd party carrier)

The 3rd party carrier feature allows you to use your own carrier (freight or parcel) for your orders. To learn more about the 3rd party carrier feature please refer to our support article Using a 3rd party carrier.

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