Potential customers need to have confidence they’ll receive good customer service, especially when dealing with a seller in a different country. Just as you would with your domestic customers, the first step to great customer service is to proactively address the main concerns international customers might have. Make sure that your policies on international shipping, delivery, returns, and payment are clear and easy to find on your site – if possible in the customer’s local language.


Be sure to make it easy for customers to contact you, whether by telephone or by email. Specify if you offer a telephone helpline and whether help is available in a local language. If you can afford it, a 24-hour local-language customer helpline is ideal.

Shipping services

Choosing the right global shipping service can make international selling much easier for you. Most of the large shipping companies offer service packages that include handling, customs and excise documentation, and shipping calculators. Other companies offer complete cross-border solutions that go beyond shipping services – such as integrating in-country taxes, duties, and international shipping prices – so buyers know the total cost of their purchase before completing their check out. Some services also help you customize your website for international markets.

Additional Resources

Calculate how much you might pay for international shipping:

Delivery policy

No matter the shipping solution you choose, customers need to know what to expect for delivery and returns. Make sure that your delivery policy is clear and easy to find on your website. Include all charges and remind your customers they will be responsible for paying duties.

Make sure you state the estimated delivery times for each country you sell to. If your delivery service offers customers online shipment tracking, remember to mention this as it gives added comfort to your customers.

Finally, consider offering free delivery once a customer order reaches a certain threshold to encourage additional sales.

Returns policy

Offering free delivery can help boost customer confidence, but you should also set out a clear policy for returns. At a minimum, your returns policy should cover the following:

  • Refunds: Set out the circumstances under which a refund would occur, and what the nature of the refund will be, e.g. full money back or shop credit. Ensure your policy complies with applicable laws.
  • Time limit: Set out the period within which returns will be accepted, e.g. within 28 days of the item being delivered.
  • Restocking, return delivery, or other fees: If there are restocking fees or return delivery charges, this should be specified clearly.

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The contents of this site are provided for informational purposes only. You should always obtain independent, professional accounting, financial, and legal advice before making any business decision.