There are any number of obstacles that keep small businesses from extending their reach outside the United States, and confusion over shipping options ranks high among them. It is Endicia's job to make things simpler, which could help retailers, manufacturers and e-commerce sites find potential new customes for their products and services.
Endicia is a shipping and logistics company that complements commerce sites, making it easier to select the best way to ship a package and simplifying all the customs forms that go along with the process. The service can be integrated directly into many e-commerce platforms, so that shipping costs can be calculated more easily as the purchase is happening. The service can even support local currency. Customers pay a monthly subscription to access the shipping templates and labels; those plans start at $15.95 per month for the Premium subscription that integrates with your e-commerce or Web site, depending on the amount of volume being shipped.
In 2012, Endicia's customers used the service to ship approximately 408 million packages, representing about $1.75 billion in postage, according to statistics that the company shared with me. Of those, 22.26 million were sent to destinations outside the United States (for about $365.6 million in postage).
"We had already been using Endicia for our domestic packages, so it made sense to consider them when we were trying to figure out a better way of handling our international orders," said Kevin Stecko, founder and owner of 80sTees.com, a site that specializes in retro tee-shirt designs celebrating the culture of the 80s (you, too, can glorify The Power Rangers!)
The Pittsburgh-based tee-shirt company has been shipping to locations outside the United States almost since its inception, but the percentage has crept up to between 20 percent and 30 percent annually, in part because 80s cultural references figure prominently on the set of popular television shows such as The Big Bang Theory.
Stecko said Endicia helps his team keep in synchronization with international shipping policies. What's more, he doesn't have to worry about the maintenance or update implications associated with his previous solution. "What we're trying to do is make the path to the purchase as simple as possible," he said.
The largest markets for Endicia's customers are Canada, Australia and Great Britain. (But Endicia's analytics reports point to the Republic of Korea as a fast-growing destination.)
Updated June 17 to clarify pricing information and clarify policy regarding landed costs.