Dropshipping products, especially from China, is an excellent way to make profits online. Most of these products come at incredibly low costs, allowing sellers to charge higher markups and still have competitive prices.
However, this way of doing business has been limited by the painfully long shipping times in past years.
All that changed when ePacket came into the picture years ago. Now, you can dropship products from Asia and have them arrive within 10 days on average.
You need a good understanding of the nuances of using ePacket delivery for dropshipping. At the end of this article, you will have a good grip on how the system works and how to use it for your dropshipping store in 2021.
ePacket is a shipping method that allows faster delivery for products sent from China and Hongkong.
It was initially based on a trade agreement between the US and Hongkong postal services. Now, the service is available in dozens of countries.
How does ePacket delivery work?
EPacket delivery requires that your package meets specific requirements. The products must only ship from Hongkong and China to other ePacket eligible countries.
The list of eligible countries has grown over the years. As of 2020, they include:
- France: Excludes foreign territories like St. Pierre, Miquelon, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Corsica, Mayotte.
- Great Britain
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
- United States
*Shipping times vary according to country. Latin American territories usually experience relatively longer times of up to 30 days.
- US/UK: 7-10 business days
- Other parts of Europe and the MiddleEast: 7-15 business days
- South America: 20-30 business days
Weight: EPacket delivery poses a maximum requirement of 2kg or 4.4lbs. The weight covers everything within the package, including the shipping box and fillers.
However, some territories like Israel have lower weight restrictions. Your packages there can go up to 3kg.
Value: Any product shipped through ePacket should not be worth more than $400
Package Size: For a package to be eligible for ePacket delivery, it must not be longer than 60cm. The total of its length, width, and thickness should also not exceed 90cm.
For rolls, it must be over 14cm in length and over 11cm in width. Usually, if it is smaller, the supplier would use additional packaging and fillers.
What are the benefits of using ePacket delivery for dropshipping?
Regular carriers like FedEx and DHL would usually take you months to get your products from China to the US. EPacket, on the other hand, can have your products in the US in 3 weeks at most. It is still significantly slower than Amazon but is still fair considering the distance.
Using ePacket delivery for dropshipping from Asia costs less than other methods. Since it is cheap, you get to charge higher markups for your products and thus earn higher margins.
With ePacket, if a package cannot be delivered, it can be returned at no additional expense to customers. The sense of security with this system fosters better relationships between you and your customers. You can easily send any refunds on undelivered items.
Providing your customers with the option to ship with ePacket helps to increase your conversions and repeat purchases. Speedy and cost-efficient delivery makes for higher customer satisfaction, which encourages recommendations as well.
How you can offer ePacket shipping on your store
Major Chinese eCommerce platforms like AliExpress integrate ePacket shipping facilities.
As such, buyers can opt for ePacket delivery while placing their orders on your site. When they do so, they get a tracking number, which they can use to follow up on the package. Tracking information includes delivery time, current status, etc.
How to Track your ePacket delivery
EPacket tracking features are one of the most attractive benefits of the service. Due to all the technicalities with customs, postal services, etc., it can be tricky to track your package.
With ePacket, you can track your package’s location and route on USPS, ePacket China Post, or other trackers. You can also get an estimated delivery time.
When you post the package, you get a 13-character tracking number that looks like this:
You can input this code into the trackers to check on your package.
Other factors to consider in using ePacket delivery for dropshipping
Due to international trade regulations, ePacket packages have to go through customs and tax. So, your customers will have to pay customs fees for their purchases.
It is best to research the fees applicable to your customers. That way, you can keep them informed if they are not aware. Doing this saves the customer from cost shock. Surprise fees can affect their overall satisfaction, even when it isn’t your fault.
Universal Postal Union Treaty
The US had announced plans to pull out of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) Treaty.
Such an action would ultimately end ePacket delivery as we know it.
However, they reached an agreement for the US to stay but would have the freedom to set their rates. This change took effect in July 2020.
Previously, shipping from China to the US had become cheaper than shipping domestically within the US, thanks to ePacket.
With these policy changes, fees will increase within the next five years. Dropshippers or other eCommerce retailers shipping within the US will have the upper hand.
If you are starting your store in 2021, you might want to consider these factors. Exploring US-based dropshipping suppliers is an excellent way to start.
Epacket and dropshipping
Customers are growing more impatient and often seek instant gratification. Therefore, having fast delivery times at a low cost can be a tremendous competitive advantage.
Within the same territory (e.g., the US), same-day delivery might be a great way to encourage purchases. With overseas shipping, the shorter the customer wait time, the higher the satisfaction levels. Therefore, ePacket delivery is an option you should consider when starting a dropshipping store with suppliers based abroad.
Key considerations for using ePacket delivery for dropshipping
The service has size restrictions. You therefore have to consider that even when choosing your dropshipping product niche. It only allows for small packages. So if you are interested in a niche like furniture, it isn’t possible to use.
Also, the option to use ePacket depends on the territories. So, you are restricted countries that are eligible for ePacket. *Refer to the list above
That means that if you want to dropship to other areas, your customers would encounter the usual high shipping costs.
However, these drawbacks can be countered with appropriate planning prior to starting your store.
For example, the issue of cost: Since the fees vary from country to country, find out how much ePacket costs to the area you are targeting. On average, ePacket shipping costs about $3 to $5.
Epacket delivery for dropshipping is currently the best way to provide speedy and cheap deliveries from China. It has the advantage of low cost, relatively fast delivery, free returns, etc.
However, using ePacket is limited to customers from 44 countries and to small light-weight packages.
Due to uncertainties stemming from the UPU treaty, the future of ePacket lies in the balance. So, it is advisable to prepare alternative ways to manage overseas shipments without significantly affecting your profits.
If you are dropshipping with AliExpress or other China-based suppliers like DHGate, using ePacket can be easier.