What Is DHL eCommerce & Is It A Good Fit For Your Business In 2022?
DHL eCommerce offers services aimed at high-volume domestic and international shippers. Services include pickup, delivery, and return.
DHL is an alternative shipping carrier specializing in international shipping. Along with their regular services, DHL includes a specific set of services for online sellers: DHL eCommerce.
Keep reading for a quick breakdown of what DHL eCommerce could offer your business.
Table of Contents
What Is DHL eCommerce?
DHL eCommerce offers domestic and international parcel delivery shipping for high-volume shippers at affordable prices. Services are available to business customers in North America, India, Europe, and Asia.
- Great international shipping plans and tools
- Accurate package tracking
- Easy to use
- Integrates with popular eCommerce software
- Fulfillment services available
- Low-volume shippers are not qualified
- Not transparent about pricing
- No weekend shipping within the US
Why We Like DHL
DHL is one of the fastest, most trustworthy global shipping carriers. DHL’s eCommerce offering is a cost-effective option for businesses that sell lightweight products (i.e. less than five pounds) in large volumes.
It’s also easy to integrate DHL eCommerce with most eCommerce platforms and shipping management software.
DHL May Not Be A Good Fit If…
DHL eCommerce is not a good fit for businesses that ship irregularly, have a low shipping volume, or sell very heavy items.
DHL is also a better option for international sellers when compared to other services in the US. If you rarely ship outside of the US, consider a delivery service like USPS, UPS, or FedEx.
How Does DHL eCommerce Work?
DHL offers services aimed at high-volume domestic and international shippers. Services include pickup, delivery, and return.
With a portal interface that requires no upfront costs and is easy to use, you can:
- Pull orders from your online marketplaces
- Create shipping labels
- Track your packages
- Receive email/SMS notifications about package whereabouts
- Handle returns as needed
DHL eCommerce offers delivery times within 2-14 business days, although some deliveries may take longer depending on geographic locations.
For online businesses with high sales volumes, there’s also a DHL Fulfillment option that helps you get orders out to your customers faster.
With DHL Fulfillment, you ship merchandise to a DHL fulfillment warehouse, where your products are stored until a customer orders something. Then, the order is picked and delivered for you.
On the DHL eCommerce plan, DHL makes domestic deliveries Monday through Friday, from 8 AM-6 PM. DHL does not typically deliver on Saturdays unless you make special arrangements and are willing to pay extra.
Some countries outside of the US may get deliveries on Saturdays and/or Sundays.
DHL also observes most bank and federal holidays, as well as international holidays, so plan for minor delivery delays during those times.
Note: If you need your packages delivered faster, we discuss DHL Express options later on in this article.
DHL eCommerce Integrates With These Platforms
- Adobe Commerce
- XPS Shipping
- Starship IT
- Desktop Shipper
- Best Manifesting
- Descartes Shiprush
- Logistyx Technology
- Malvern Systems
If you’re not sure which shipping software fits your business’s needs, or why you should have shipping software in the first place, read our post, Top Shipping Software Platforms For Small Business In 2022.
Who Can Use DHL Shipping?
To use DHL eCommerce, you must actively ship 200 pieces daily/1,000 pieces weekly.
Each DHL service pickup should total at least $200 in charges.
DHL Delivery Times
From the US to Canada and countries within Europe, packages are delivered between four and eight business days. From the US to all other countries, delivery usually takes 8-14 business days.
However, depending on geographical distance, customers may have to wait up to 20 business days for their package.
Once your shipment arrives in its destination country, it will probably be delivered by that country’s local postal service. This helps cut down delivery times since your packages bypass fulfillment/distribution center dropoffs and pickups.
With DHL eCommerce, domestic delivery times range from 1-8 days.
DHL eCommerce Shipping & Tools
DHL eCommerce lets you take advantage of a few valuable shipping tools and services. Here’s what you can expect as an online seller:
International Shipping Offerings
- Affordable cross-border shipping and returns
- Choose your service level and features
- Duty and tax calculator
- B2C single customs clearance entry
- Start-to-finish delivery and returns
- Network of package drop-off and pick-up locations
- Global B2C and B2B fulfillment network
Domestic Delivery Offerings
- Connect to domestic delivery networks for faster shipping
- Cash on delivery (COD) option
- Deliver to a pickup location, to a customer’s door, an authorized neighbor’s home, or to a guarded location
- Six delivery days per week
- Green delivery options
- Integration options via API, web portal, eCommerce platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce, Magneto
- Take payments via digital wallets such as PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, and Alipay
- Automatically generate single or bulk tracking numbers
- Email/SMS package tracking updates
- Customers can manage package delivery through their own DHL customer portal
- Show transparent shipping fees to customers at checkout
- Automatically create shipping & return labels
- Option to offer customers additional services such as shipping insurance
DHL Shipping Rates
DHL breaks services into two main categories: International and Domestic.
Your shipping rate, should you qualify for DHL eCommerce shipping, will depend on many variables, such as volume, size of packages, distance shipped, and speed of shipping. International shipping typically comes with more fees than domestic shipping.
To get a concrete shipping rate, you must submit a quote request, talk to a DHL rep, and verify your high-volume seller status.
Take a look below at the services that DHL offers within each category.
DHL International Shipping
To figure out the exact cost of shipping for your packages, you need to get a quote from DHL. There is no simple transparent explanation of rates and additional fees.
These are the international shipping services the company offers:
|DHL Packet International||DHL Parcel International Standard||DHL Parcel International Direct|
|Economical, Low Weight Shipping||Shipping Up To 44 lbs.||Direct Shipping Up To 44 lbs. To 210 Countries|
|Maximum Weight||4.4 lbs.||44 lbs.||44 lbs.|
|Maximum Dimensions||L + W + H ≤ 35.4″||Length + Girth ≤ 118″||Length + Girth ≤ 79″|
|Transit Tracking||4-8 days||Europe 4-8 days; 8-14 for the rest of the world||3-10 days|
|Duty & Taxes Paid By||Receiver||Receiver||Shipper or Receiver|
|Shipment Value Protection|
|Girth = 2 (W + Height)||The maximum weight for Canada is 66 lbs.||N/A||N/A|
International shipping services also include DHL’s ICart Software, which should make processing online shipping expenses a bit easier.
This software integrates with your shopping cart (via APIs) to make shipping calculations simpler. You’ll be able to provide customers with the full cost of delivery in their local currency, including expenses related to taxes, duties, and shipping costs.
DHL Domestic Shipping
DHL partners with local postal services to offer domestic shipping services. In the US, USPS handles the final mile and return pickups, while DHL manages the initial pickup and sorting of the packages.
Take a look at the tables below to view DHL’s domestic shipping options:
|DHL SmartMail Parcel||DHL SmartMail Parcel Plus||DHL SmartMail Parcel Return||DHL SmartMail Bound Printed Matter||DHL SmartMail Flats|
|Cost-Effective, B2C Shipping Solution For Parcels Under 1 lb.||Cost-Effective, B2C Shipping Solution For Parcels Up To 25 lbs.||Cost-Effective Returns Solution||Cost-Effective Shipping Solution For Bound Printed Matter Parcels||Cost-Effective Flats Format Mailing Solution|
|Maximum Weight||16 oz.||25 lbs.||16 oz./25 lbs.||15 lbs.||16 oz.|
|Transit Days: Expedited Max||2-3 days||2-3 days|
|Transit Days: Expedited||2-5 days||2-5 days||2-4 days/1-3 days||2-5 days||2-5 days|
|Transit Days: Ground||3-8 days||3-8 days||3-8 days||3-8 days||3-8 days|
|Shipment Value Protection|
As with DHL’s international shipping options, you’ll need to contact a DHL representative to get a quote for your store’s shipping.
Other DHL Features & Options
For more information on DHL’s additional fees and surcharges, head over to DHL’s site. You’ll find information on DHL eCommerce tracking, calculating chargeable weight (and understanding that pesky dimensional weight), fuel surcharges, and information on what DHL will and will not ship.
You can also view information on shipment insurance, which is available through U-PIC Insurance Services. You can insure up to $100 per package, and additional coverage is available.
Here are a few more services you can take advantage of:
DHL Web Portal To Manage Your Shipments
All DHL customers gain access to DHL’s customer web portal. You can use this web-based admin to manage and monitor a variety of important aspects of your shipping. Here’s a quick list of available features:
- View shipment data and reports
- Print labels and create tracking numbers
- Batch upload feature
- Access to invoice and shipment rates
- Delivery performance rates
- Advanced warning reports
- Package delay reports
- Schedule pickups and create bills of lading
- Create and track return labels
DHL Warehousing & Fulfillment Options
Outsourcing your fulfillment has huge benefits for merchants.
By letting someone else store your products and pick, pack, and ship your orders, you free up loads of time in your day. Storing products in multiple warehouses across the country will also bring your merchandise closer to your customers, shortening delivery times.
DHL currently has 19 warehouses in the United States, with plans to continue expansion as the eCommerce sphere grows.
- Related: Read this post to learn how to safely and cost-effectively prepare packages for eCommerce shipping and fulfillment.
DHL eCommerce VS DHL Express
DHL Express focuses on time-sensitive deliveries. The service offers both same-day and next (business) day deliveries. If you need to make sure a package delivers by a certain time, then DHL Express is the service for you.
The most common uses for DHL Express are for shipping:
- Temperature-specific items like foods and medications
- Important documents to businesses
- Items an individual or business needs to function daily
DHL eCommerce focuses more on offering cost-effective shipping for online merchants. You can’t guarantee delivery by a certain date and time with DHL eCommerce.
The biggest difference between DHL eCommerce and DHL Express is that you have to get approved for DHL eCommerce.
You can register for a company DHL Express account immediately. If your company ships regularly, you might get perks such as preferred shipping rates.
If you get a shipping aggregator tool such as Shippo or ShipEasy, you can usually see delivery rates and times for both types of DHL shipping.
Final Verdict On DHL eCommerce
If you regularly ship high volumes of lightweight products both domestically and internationally, DHL may be the way to go.
However, as you consider DHL, keep in mind that UPS and FedEx also offer start-to-finish domestic and international shipping options. Take a look at our comparison of USPS, UPS, and FedEx to learn more about each of these services.
No matter what, you’ll need to contact DHL to get a quote for your business’s shipping needs. Having a dollar estimate in mind will help you as you compare shipping carriers to choose the one that most closely matches your needs and your budget.