“Where is my damn fidget spinner? It’s been 5 weeks and still NOTHING. I want my money back right now or else I’m calling the cops.”
This is the #1 problem newbies have with Shopify dropshipping.
They are terrified that people are gonna rip them to pieces because the shipping times suck.
Someone orders something from their drop shipping site…and it takes foreeeeeeever to arrive. Like Lord of the Rings Extended Edition forever.
This doesn’t work for people in the days of Prime Two-Day shipping. They want it all. They want it now.
Yea it’s true, shipping $5 items from China → USA is not that fast.
There are options for FedEx, DHL, TNT etc. But when shipping costs you $42.99 for a lipstick, you’re not exactly +ROI.
Enter Epacket shipping – the best thing to happen to the postal service in years.
Here’s the why / how of Epacket for Shopify dropshipping.
What is Epacket Shipping?
This is what all the fuss is about?
In 2011, the U.S. Government did something crazy: they made things more efficient.
Long, really boring story, short, the U.S. Postal Service, the Hongkong Post, and eBay China realized that they kinda liked each other and should make their relationship official.
Now, packages from China and Hong Kong can be shipped first class USPS. This means customers can track their packages and not worry about them ending up in some rusty cargo hold.
If mail can’t be delivered, it’s returned for free, meaning that you can issue a refund if something goes wrong and not have your profit margins killed.
It’s also a LOT faster and cheaper, which are the most important things for drop shippers. Your customers want things fast. You don’t want expensive shipping costs pillaging your profits.
Epacket was designed specifically for eCommerce. If you’re a dropshipper, this is DEFINITELY how you should be getting your packages to your customers.
Pros and Cons of Epacket Shipping
There are good and bad sides to Epacket, here’s the 80/20.
It’s relatively cheap. Neither you, nor your customers, want to shell out $40 shipping on a $5 fidget spinner.
It’s also faster than standard methods of shipping from China.
Obviously, it’s going to depend on what you’re shipping, but packages to the United States can arrive in 10-20 days. That’s not Prime fast, but you’re not Amazon. People aren’t price shopping when they see your crazy Facebook video ads and click through to your site.
People don’t mind waiting for your ecom products when it’s difficult to get them somewhere else (which is what your store should be trying to do).
It also offers package tracking. Trust me, you want this. Because these packages take longer than things bought on Amazon or Wal-Mart, customers want to be able to track their purchases.
Faster shipping increases ecommerce conversion rates. Every time.
Not every product can be shipped via Epacket, meaning you’ll need to find some other way to get it to the customer. Or you just don’t sell the product, which is nearly always a better option.
Also, some products only offer Epacket shipping to the United States. If you want to sell David Hasselhoff bobblehead dolls to Germans (who love Hasselhoff for some reason), you may not have the Epacket option.
Not every country is available via ePacket.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Other Shipping Options
I know what you’re thinking. Yeah, yeah, Epacket sounds great, but there are probably other options.
Yeah, there are other options, just like using a Walkman is another option when it comes to using music. The other options suck.
First, they’re expensive.
Do you want to pay $57.93 to ship a $15 item?
Ahhh, no thanks.
Unless you’re using them to smuggle cocaine into the country. Otherwise, bad idea.
Epacket shipping, on the other hand…
It takes half the time of AliExpress Standard shipping and it’s the same price… The next option is 6x higher in price.
Epacket is a no-brainer most of the time.
Occasionally, the shipping options other than Epacket may be faster, but you don’t want to be selling products that aren’t going to have a good margin. Epacket offers the best bang for your buck.
Also, tracking packages with methods other than Epacket can be really bad. Like, you literally have to be a criminal forensics expert to figure out where the packages vanished to.
Because Epacket is part of the USPS, the tracking options are simple and familiar to the customer, which means you get fewer emails that start with, “Hey JACKASS, where’s my package?”
When you run Facebook ecommerce campaigns, the comments section is key. You don’t want it to be filled up with haters.
The Details of Epacket Shipping and Delivery
Cost of Epacket
The cost is going to vary from item to item. Many times it’s “free”, meaning that the supplier has simply built the cost into the price of the item.
Other times, it just costs a few dollars per item.
Occasionally, if you’re selling a really odd item, you may pay more on shipping, but usually it’s either free or a few dollars max per piece.
Epacket Delivery Times
Like prices, delivery times are going to vary per item. It’s almost always somewhere between 10-30 days. Shipping to the US is usually pretty fast. Other countries may take a bit longer.
Sizes Allowed for Epacket Delivery
The maximum length of the package can only be 24” (60cm) and the total length, height and thickness of the package cannot be more than 36” (90cm).
The package can’t weigh more than 4.4 lbs (2 kg) to be eligible for ePacket delivery and the merchandise being shipped cannot exceed $400 in value.
It has to be shipped from China or Hong Kong to qualify for Epacket tracking.
Countries That Will Receive Epacket
Currently, there are 30 countries that work with Epacket. If you can’t make a living dropshipping to ONE of these countries, you need another job, like waxing bowling alleys.
- Great Britain
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- United States
Can I Use Other Epacket Alternatives?
Of course you can. But why would you? It’s like asking if you can use a Palm Pilot when you have the option of an iPhone 8.
Epacket tracking is the gold standard when it comes to price and speed. If the item you sell costs $10 and Epacket is $2.50, the FedEx option might cost you $15-20.
That’s pretty much impossible to profit on.
Your supplier might offer free shipping that Uncle Wong delivers to the US on his friend’s fishing boat, but most of the time these have no tracking, take forever, and give your store a bad rep.
For me it’s Epacket or nothing. The other shipping methods I’ve tried all failed to keep up with Epacket.
Don’t Bother With Other Shipping Options
If you want to make things even easier, you can use platforms like Aftership to handle everything for you and streamline the process. They offer all sorts of features like analytics, SMS notifications, email alerts, and pretty much anything else you need.
They also integrate with Shopify, which makes things easy.
When it comes to running a drop shipping business, I’m all about eliminating friction. I want to make everything as easy and smooth as possible.
Epacket eliminates minimizes emails from angry customers and increases profits. It’s a fine balance and Epacket hits it pretty well.
I know I’ll get a ton of emails from this.
“But Charles, I tried XYZ company and they sent my package faster and cheaper”.
Me and other big ecom guys have tested the shipping options for hundreds of products, and Epacket always comes out the overall winner on average. Sometimes other shipping companies will get the package there faster, but I’m all about systemizing things. Make it easy for yourself.
Don’t waste time with other shipping options. Epacket is the best option for drop shippers. Everyone uses it (including me), so stick with what works.
Further Reading and Resources:
Ecommerce tips from Ezra Firestone
The Best Shopify Dropshipping Apps
The 80/20 on Ecommerce using Shopify and Facebook