The following information is for international customers (outside of the US/Canada). This change won’t affect Canadian customers…
Ever since I launched sarah + abraham in 2008 I’ve struggled with international shipping (as most small retail businesses probably do). The US Postal Service offers reasonable rates, and most packages arrive within 1-2 weeks. But the few packages that don’t arrive in that time frame cause a great deal of stress for me as well as the customers who are waiting for their packages to arrive.
UPS provides more reliable tracking information, and they offer reasonable rates to Canada. But I’ve found UPS to be cost prohibitive for a company of my size when shipping packages outside of North America (the cost for me to ship a 1 – 3 pound package outside of North America is $80 – $150).
At the end of each year I debate whether or not to continue offering international shipping. During the 2010 holiday season I experienced some significant delays on shipments to Australia which almost caused me to discontinue international shipping. Instead, I added a longer explanation about the risks associated with international shipping to my Policies page and on the shopping cart page.
That helped somewhat, but on November 12th a customer from Australia placed an order for 10 plates. The package was shipped on November 18th, and as of today (about 10 weeks later) it has yet to arrive. It was shipped via UPS Mail Innovations, which means that UPS delivered the package to the USPS in California, and then the USPS shipped it overseas. Unfortunately, the customs declaration number that UPS Mail Innovations provided me with has proved to be useless in locating the package, and UPS Mail Innovations has not been able to provide any additional information.
If it had been a large stationery order it would have been easy for me to reprint and re-ship the order. However, there are much higher costs associated with reprinting and re-shipping non-paper items. As a result of this experience, I’ve decided to no longer ship the following items outside of the US/Canada:
- water bottles
I’ll continue to offer $12.75 flat rate shipping for all paper goods outside of the US/Canada. This includes the following:
- note cards
- calling cards
- art prints
- cupcake toppers
I know that this decision will disappoint many international customers – please accept my sincere apologies.
3/7/12 UPDATE: The package that was shipped on November 18th was finally returned – almost 4 months later. It turns out I accidentally left off the apartment number.