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The International Mail Puzzle – What You Need to Know

Guest feature by Guy Cliffe

Things to Consider when Mailing Overseas

When you’re posting a marketing campaign, or magazine overseas, it’s very easy to choose the cheapest supplier without thinking through the ramifications of your choice – particularly during these crazy Covid times. Some destinations worldwide are harder to reach than others, with delays to countries including popular destinations like Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the US.

Remember there are different service options available depending on how quickly you might want to deliver your items. ‘Direct Entry’ means we might look at using the postal authority of the receiving country and post on a local service. So if you are posting something from the UK to the US, we could use a direct USPS service. But remember the US has different weight and dimension restrictions, so a UK size Letter may need to post as a Large Letter in the US, which could increase your anticipated costs.

Similarly, all countries have different weight breaks and sizing bands, so the rules for posting on a Direct Entry service are different from posting on an International postal service. Alternatively,  we could use Royal Mail, but this is likely to be more expensive and they still have to hand traffic over to be delivered locally in-country, so paying a premium for a Royal Mail service may not solve any potential delivery delays. And we can also post using another international postal authority and this might be cheaper, but take longer (certainly as long as Royal Mail, but possibly longer than a direct service).

There are also a myriad of local country alternatives to the main postal provider (just like we have alternatives here in the UK like Whistl, Citipost Mail, The Delivery Group, etc.). However whilst this may reduce prices, the service may take slightly longer to deliver, depending on the country – unlike the UK where the delivery time is comparable (and on occasion even quicker!)

There’s also the thorny issue of Priority/Non Priority/Standard/Economy; what do they all mean? Most countries don’t have a 1st and 2nd class postal delivery like exists in the UK, they just have a single post service. And whilst a UK 1st class service might take 1-2 working days to deliver domestically, a US 1st class service has a delivery expectation of 1-4 working days and for 2nd class that rises to 4-9 working days! So a UK 2nd class service will likely deliver quicker than a US 1st class service when comparing domestic services, so there is no like for like and it can add to the confusion when you’re managing a campaign that is delivering to multiple countries across multiple continents.

So there are many different options available and I have always found that being completely transparent about all the options means I can provide the best possible advice. There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer!

I’d be happy to discuss and provide the best advice for any future campaigns you might be considering posting and it’s never been more important to make sure you are using the most appropriate service to match your needs/requirements and get the best value for money.

You can reach me here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/guycliffe/

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