DHL eCommerce Review

With its incredible global fulfillment network, DHL eCommerce is perfect for businesses with a large shipping volume. Here’s what you need to know about shipping lots of orders around the world with DHL.
Best for global fulfillment
D H L Logo
DHL eCommerce
3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9
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    Global shipping
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    Centralized order management and tracking
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    Integrates with over a dozen ecommerce systems
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    Price only available upon request

DHL eCommerce is focused on a global world. As consumers are pushing for more options, global ecommerce spending rose 38% in the first quarter of 2021 to $876 billion.1 These customers are buying global products from local businesses, which means you need to be ready to procure goods and ship them around the world. We’re seeing that businesses today need to have a worldwide supply chain and appeal to customers by shipping everywhere.

The big question moving forward is: can your business reach customers and suppliers globally and fulfill their product needs? DHL eCommerce can do that, making it one of the best options on the market for shipping, tracking, and logistics.

DHL eCommerce is best for global shipping

Headquartered in Germany, and with offices in the US, Singapore, and India, DHL is tailor-made for global fulfillment and logistics. Unlike other major shipping providers, like UPS and FedEx, DHL eCommerce (formerly DHL Global Mail) is built for business. As a business customer, you’ll work with DHL on parcel shipment, tracking, delivery, and return solutions for domestic and international shipments.

DHL eCommerce is not only for shipping. Its logistics and fulfillment services connect shipping back to your ecommerce site so that orders are synched and automated. With DHL eCommerce, you don’t have to worry about sending orders to DHL— its flexible order management system helps generate shipping labels and merchandise fulfillment from warehouses across the country and the globe.

Around the world, over a billion parcels make the trek from warehouses to front doors each year. To ensure each customer receives their package, DHL eCommerce works with certified specialists in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. This is a service that works for sole proprietors and entrepreneurs, small businesses, and large corporations alike. With an emphasis on aiding supply chain logistics and maintaining your business’s level of customer service, DHL eCommerce partners with you for global fulfillment and parcel delivery.

DHL eCommerce plans and pricing

DHL is not for the “regular” small business. Businesses will be asked to prove that they have shipped 100 packages per day for at least 3 months, and all businesses must meet the minimum shipping requirement.

There are eight different plans—three for international shipping and five for domestic shipments. Prices for all plans are available upon request and after submitting an application with DHL eCommerce.

DHL eCommerce plans for 2021

Shipping option
Shipping details
Transit time
Tracking and delivery features
Learn more
DHL Packet InternationalLightweight shipping up to 4.4 lbs.4–8 daysReliable transit times and simplified postal customs clearance
DHL Parcel International StandardPackage shipments up to 44 lbs.4–14 days*End-to-end tracking using DHL’s global postal network
DHL Parcel International DirectShip up to 44 lbs.3–10 daysDHL customs clearance option makes this ideal for cross-border ecommerce
DHL SmartMail ParcelB2C shipping for packages under 1 lb.2–3 days§
2–5 days^
3–8 daysº
End-to-end tracking with carbon-neutral shipments
DHL SmartMail Parcel PlusB2C shipping for packages up to 25 lbs. 2–3 days§
2–5 days^
3–8 daysº
Free Saturday delivery with flexible pick-up times
DHL SmartMail Parcel ReturnShipping returns for packages up to 70 lbs.1–4 days^
3–8 daysº
6 customer label delivery options with insurance
DHL SmartMail Bound Printed MatterShipping for Bound Printed Matter parcels, up to 15 lbs.2–5 days^
3–8 daysº
Perfect for marketing materials, pamphlets, and publications
DHL SmartMail FlatsShipping for flat parcel mailings up to 16 oz.3–8 daysºNo postal prep and includes in-depth reporting

Data effective 6/16/21. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.
* Canada & Europe: 4–8 transit days; rest of world 8–14 days
§ Expedited max
^ Expedited
º Ground

Flexible pick-up times, electronic invoicing, and online shipping tools make DHL the best partner for international shipping. The customer web portal allows you to manage and track shipments through an integrated platform, while DHL’s global group of experts make it easy to ship to over 220 countries and territories.

In the US, DHL partners with the US Postal Service (USPS) for expedited shipping, allowing your business to reach more than 154 million addresses 6 days a week. These eight plan options offer flexibility for different customers and orders, empowering your business to expand its reach and find new customers worldwide.

DHL eCommerce pros and cons

There’s a lot to like about DHL eCommerce, but it's important to know whether it's the best shipping option for you. Examining the company’s strengths and weaknesses can help you figure that out!

Strengths
Pro Bullet Global shipping and fulfillment with delivery to over 220 countries
Pro Bullet Shipment tracking
Pro Bullet Easy-to-use web portal
Weaknesses
Con Bullet Price available on request
Con Bullet Need to be a high-volume shipper
Con Bullet Extra costs based on weight, fuel, and peak season

DHL eCommerce pros

As a global shipping provider, DHL excels with parcel delivery and shipping solutions. Its global shipping and fulfillment network helps you send packages domestically and around the world via DHL shipping. And with hubs in Europe, Asia, and North America, DHL has supply chain logistics figured out so that every delivery reaches your customer. DHL ensures your package’s international shipment to over 220 countries, while its final delivery partnership with the USPS ensures your DHL package can reach 154 million US addresses.

Shipment tracking ensures that your customer receives your package, no matter where in the world they are located. Every DHL parcel comes with a tracking number for you and the customer to easily track its shipment. If your package is transferred to another courier for final delivery in the destination country, DHL will make sure you have a tracking number. With DHL eCommerce tracking, you will have global end-to-end tracking to follow shipment status as it goes to your customer.

For any business owner, keeping track of orders, shipments, deliveries, and returns is required to process profit and revenue. With an easy-to-use web portal, DHL eCommerce collects all that information for you. The online web portal makes it a breeze to view shipment data and reports, print labels and tracking numbers, access invoices and shipping rates, view shipment delay warnings, and create return labels. All of this is part of the platform, which allows you to focus on running your business while DHL handles the logistics.

DHL eCommerce cons

One of the biggest issues with DHL eCommerce is that its price is only available upon request. You will need a DHL eCommerce account to apply and prove that your business meets the company’s rigid shipping requirements. Unfortunately, we do not know the price upfront, and it could be different based on your shipping volume and location.

DHL eCommerce will only work with high-volume shippers, which means that your business has shipped 100 domestic and/or international packages per day during the past 3 months. You are expected to be shipping regularly and not relying on DHL for urgent shipments. This is not a service meant for once-in-a-while shippers or rush shipments.

Unfortunately, there are extra costs and hidden fees for package delivery. Some of them are dependent on the time of year or international fuel prices, while others are calculated based on the package weight. The three main costs are:

  • Chargeable weight: Based on the greater of the dimensional or actual weight of the package.
  • Fuel surcharge: There is currently a $0.05 per pound surcharge for domestic products and international International Priority Airmail (IPA) service from the USPS, and a $0.12 per pound surcharge for all other international products. These surcharges are subject to change without notice.
  • Peak surcharges: Typically applied during the holiday season—from mid-October to late December—these charges differ depending on the product and service you are using. The costs range from $0.25–$0.40 per package.
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Key features explained

With DHL eCommerce, you get an unparalleled global reach with some fantastic features to make shipping, logistics, and returns as easy as can be. There are six key components to this service that elevate it above the competition. Let’s take a look.

Order management

The flexible order management system allows you to keep track of shipping and returns with the ability to easily integrate your ecommerce orders for simple label generation. Depending on your shipment volume, you are set up with a portal to follow your orders and check costs.

Using the DHL eCommerce web portal also allows you to print labels and create tracking numbers, check invoices and shipment rates, keep an eye on delivery performance and delays, schedule pickups and create return labels, and view shipment data and reports. This feature is hugely important for keeping your shipping logistics organized and staying up to date on all deliveries.

Easy domestic and international shipping

Shipping is where DHL eCommerce excels. With affordable cross-border shipping and easy domestic delivery, your packages will consistently arrive in less than two weeks internationally and eight days domestically. International shipping includes returns and customs clearance along with a network of parcel drop-off and pick-up locations.

DHL delivers six days per week and offers multiple delivery options—including a green option with carbon offsets for your shipments! There are standard plans, but DHL is flexible and will work with your business’s needs, including expedited shipping processes and reduced postage costs.

In the US, DHL eCommerce helps schedule deliveries and offers same or next-day delivery in certain areas. Depending on the package shipment option you choose, parcels can arrive the next day, in two days, or in three days. Combine that with ground shipping across the country in under four days, and you have easy domestic delivery options for your business.

Customer-focused delivery options

DHL moves over a billion parcels around the world each year. And with delivery options six days a week, DHL eCommerce is focused on getting your packages to customers as soon as possible.

It’s able to get these packages to customers on time because it’s focused on delivery options that benefit the consumer. With same-day or next-day delivery, DHL prioritizes your products. B2C customs clearance ensures there aren’t any delays for cross-border shipments, and multiple delivery options help customers choose the best option for them at checkout.

DHL eCommerce integrates with your ecommerce platform so that the shipping options—provided by DHL—are known upfront at customer checkout. These customer-focused options are passed on to you as well. As a DHL eCommerce customer, your business benefits from multiple options for deliveries and a wide range of shipping times.

DHL Fulfillment

DHL also has distribution centers and warehouses to bring merchandise closer to your customers and shorten your delivery times. This option—DHL Fulfillment—is a great shipping solution for high-volume businesses. DHL Fulfillment allows you to ship merchandise to a fulfillment warehouse where it is stored until ordered by a customer. This cuts down the shipment’s transit time and makes it easy for DHL to quickly fulfill orders.

It also allows you to outsource the fulfillment side of things and cuts down on the stock that you have on hand. If you are primarily shipping products to customers, then this is a great option. With warehouses across the US, merchandise moves closer to customers and shortens delivery times providing a great shipping solution that is customer forward.

Tracking

Every international and domestic shipping option comes with end-to-end tracking. This is a key feature for DHL eCommerce. All of your shipments come with a tracking number that you can pass on to the customer. The comprehensive shipment tracking lets you know where the parcel is at every step of its journey.

You are also able to integrate your shipping features with email and receive text tracking updates, allowing you to stay up to date until the shipment arrives at your customer’s doorstep. In today’s globally connected and online world, tracking is important for your business and to build customer trust.

Integrations

DHL eCommerce integrates with over a dozen ecommerce IT systems, including Shopify and WooCommerce. These plug-ins, extensions, and integrations—also known as third-party vendor or 3PV solutions—help your business run by pulling order information and organizing label information for shipping.

For example, these integrations allow you to pull order information from Amazon and eBay, giving you a centralized view of the information in the DHL app so that you know what has been ordered and can be shipped.

There is also a barcoding option and label generation to make shipment as seamless as possible. The integrations make your life easier so that you can focus on your business without worrying about falling behind.

Sell products your way

Ordoro offers everything you need to sell your products online or in person.

  • Get total control over your inventory
  • Align your business strategy with your stock management
  • Maintain vendor and customer relationships

DHL eCommerce FAQ

What is DHL?

DHL is an international package delivery service founded in San Francisco and now based out of Bonn, Germany. It is a division of Deutsche Post (DP DHL) and delivers over 1.6 billion parcels per year. DHL has headquarters in Germany, the US, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and China. It operates with the USPS but is a direct competitor of FedEx, UPS, and the Royal Mail. The company ships to over 220 countries and has begun using electric vehicles along with offsetting the carbon emissions from its deliveries to reach zero emissions by 2050.

Does DHL have delivery restrictions?

DHL delivers almost everything! But there are some restrictions, including live animals, hunting trophies, illegal substances, cash, precious stones, illegal goods, counterfeit goods, guns, and explosives, which cannot be shipped. Dangerous goods and lithium batteries have certain restrictions placed on them, but otherwise, you can ship them.

DHL will help with customs clearances for international packages, but it is important to remember that shipping requirements may vary from destination to destination. However you are planning to send retail goods from your business, then DHL will make sure it gets there.

How long does DHL eCommerce take to deliver?

Using DHL eCommerce to deliver your packages ensures that all your international shipments will take no more than 14 days of transit and domestic shipments only need 8 days of transit or less.

It all depends on what plan you are using to ship your products. Expedited Max is the fastest available domestic shipment option from DHL, while Expedited gets your domestic shipments there in five days or less. Ground shipping is the slowest method of domestic delivery. Internationally, most parcels are in transit for eight days or less.  If shipping outside of Canada or Europe, it may take up to two weeks.

Who delivers for DHL eCommerce?

DHL delivers all of its own .

In the US, DHL works with the USPS for . The company still has distribution centers around the country, which makes shipping easy around the country.

Looking internationally, Deutsche Post and DHL Aviation own eight airlines to deliver to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Central America, and South America. They also have stakes in or contracts with seven other airlines, which are in Germany, Canada, Australia, the US, and South Africa. A leading courier and parcel delivery company, DHL aviation has 189 aircrafts in its fleet and works with 50 international airline operators.

DHL is the only provider allowed to ship for DHL eCommerce with the USPS completing final-mile delivery for many US shipments. Outside of the US, DHL does all of its own deliveries.

Does DHL eCommerce use USPS?

Yes! For domestic shipments, DHL has partnered with the United States Postal Service (USPS) as the exclusive carrier of packages to the last mile. What this means is that in certain locations, DHL will hand off a package to the USPS for final delivery.

On a regular basis, the Postal Service delivers packages to over 161 million addresses in every state, city, and town of the United States. By partnering with the USPS, DHL is leveraging that expertise to ensure packages get delivered to the right place and on time.

The takeaway

DHL eCommerce excels at using its international supply chain logistics to ship and track your packages from your business or warehouse to the customer’s door. Its order management system syncs to your ecommerce orders to ensure every package is shipping, and an easy-to-use web portal helps you find tracking numbers and follow delivery.

DHL uses its network to move packages internationally in under 14 days and domestically under 8 days, and works with you for customs clearance for international packages. DHL eCommerce utilizes its global reach and expertise to help your business expand internationally and domestically.

If your business has high-volume shipping—globally or domestically—then DHL eCommerce is the right move for you. It will help you expand your reach while ensuring packages get delivered on time. It’s a great international parcel delivery service that has fantastic reach and a great domestic partnership with the USPS. If you meet the delivery requirements, then you can’t go wrong with DHL eCommerce.

If DHL eCommerce doesn’t seem like the right fit, and you’re looking for something different, be sure to check out our top order fulfillment picks.

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Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Sources

  1. Forbes, “Global E-Commerce Sales To Hit $4.2 Trillion As Online Surge Continues,” Apr. 27, 2021. Accessed June 3, 2021.
Alex Kerai
Written by
Alex Kerai
Alex covers e-commerce and inventory management for Business.org.  Alex has spent the last five years as a writer and a multimedia creator working with businesses, non-profits, and educational institutions. He has been focused on helping businesses find ways to survive and thrive while facing challenges and is passionate about helping small businesses succeed (especially in a post-pandemic world). Utilizing his experience working a variety of jobs across the country, Alex writes for businesses today.
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