The holidays are a time known for being filled with friends, family, food, and... frustrated customers?

The holidays are one of the most stressful parts of the year, with consumers eager to find the perfect gifts to give to their loved ones. In order to find better prices and higher quality products, many consumers opt to do their holiday shopping with international retailers.

While this may seem beneficial for both ecommerce merchants and international consumers, miscommunication about shipping fees and taxes can end up causing more harm than good, leading to frustrated customers and a loss of future business.

While it is obvious that no ecommerce business actively wants to disappoint their customers during the holiday season, this inevitably happens year after year for many international merchants who do not use Delivered Duty Paid shipping solutions.

What is Delivered Duty Paid shipping?

When businesses ship their products to other countries, there are certain taxes and duties applied to these imported goods that must be paid in order for the parcel to clear customs and land at a customer’s front door.

Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) shipping is a shipping solution that makes sure ecommerce businesses are responsible for paying any of these required taxes and duties. Instead of requiring the customer to pay these fees upon delivery, international ecommerce businesses are able to provide the total costs at checkout for their customers to pay in advance.

While this may not seem like a big deal, it can make the difference between a loyal lifetime customer and an upset customer, especially during the holidays when consumers are visiting international ecommerce merchants to purchase gifts for the people they most hold dear.

If you ship your products internationally, especially to consumers in Europe who will have a Value Added Tax on all of their imported goods after 2021, you need to work with a DDP shipping provider.

Why you need a DDP shipping solution for the holidays

DDP shipping methods are important for any ecommerce business owner who ships internationally during the holidays. Every consumer wants to buy gifts that will make their loved ones happy for Christmas and other occasions, so they rely on cross-border merchants to send their parcels quickly and at reasonable prices.

While every ecommerce business owner wants to help their customers have a great holiday, those that do not use DDP shipping methods run the risk of major problems: delivery delays and surprise costs.

Here are two reasons why you need to use a DDP shipping solution for the holidays:

1. DDP shipping prevents parcel delays

Christmas only comes once a year, and customers rely on their parcels to arrive in a timely manner so they can be wrapped and placed under the tree.

Imagine how disappointed and upset a customer would be if they found the perfect gift, but it did not arrive in time for them to give it to their loved one at Christmas. The last thing any person wants to say on any holiday is “I ordered your gift, but it's stuck in customs” to a friend or family member, but this is exactly what can happen when ecommerce businesses do not use DDP shipping methods to fulfill international orders.

When ecommerce businesses use Delivered Duty Unpaid (DDU) shipping methods, customers are responsible for paying taxes and duties. This means that if a customer is unable to pay or did not expect that these additional costs would be so high, their package will be stuck in customs – sometimes indefinitely – and will not make it to their intended recipient in time.

You can avoid this situation by using a DDP shipping provider. With DDP shipping, all taxes and duties are precalculated, and customers are able to pay these costs at checkout. This means that their parcels will not get held up at customs, and they will receive their orders in a timely fashion.

Help your consumers avoid parcel delays by altering your existing shipping methods and using DDP shipping solutions.

2. DDP shipping prevents unexpected costs

After weeks of searching, your customer has finally found an incredible gift for their significant other. He had a tight budget, but the price was right, and everything seems on track for a smooth delivery. He is thrilled.

When the time arrives for him to receive his parcel, his happiness fades into surprise and then frustration as he realizes that he still owes money before he can have the gift he ordered. Upset at this turn of events, he vows never to shop with your business again.

While this might seem farfetched, it is actually a common scenario that affects consumers who make cross-border purchases around the holidays. When businesses do not use DDP shipping, customers have to pay any taxes or fees upon delivery of their parcel, and this can often be more than they expected to pay, causing disappointment or even leading to customers relinquishing their products.

If you want to help your international customers avoid surprise shipping fees, you should use DDP shipping. DDP shipping is more transparent than other shipping methods because the customers can see and pay for all taxes and duties upfront. Not only will this help their packages clear customs with ease, but it will also ensure that your customers will not have to pay any additional costs in order to receive their parcel.

When you use a DDP shipping solution, you can help make sure your customers have a happy holiday by guaranteeing that their orders will arrive on time and without any surprise costs.

How Zenda can help

If you ship your products to Europe, Zenda is the top DDP shipping solution for your ecommerce business.

Zenda will integrate a real-time, accurate taxes and duties calculator into your checkout page so that your customers will know their exact total landed costs right at checkout. Thanks to Zenda, your customers will not even have to worry about fuel surcharges or residential delivery fees for their orders. No more surprise fees or hidden costs this year!

With commodity mapping and prepaid taxes and duties for automatic customs clearance, Zenda also makes sure that your customers will not receive any customs delays or hold-ups. With smooth customs clearance, daily flights from the USA to 28 European countries, and shipping times as short as 4 to 8 business days, Zenda makes sure your customers’ gifts will arrive on time.

This holiday season, let Zenda give your customers the gifts they really want: quick delivery at affordable prices.