Shipping with DHL Express: the complete guide for e-commerce retailers (2022)

Shipping with DHL Express – DHL is a great courier for both local and international delivery. With the UK being Europe’s largest e-commerce market, and online sales growing every year, offering an express delivery option is a great way to get the upper hand on your competitors. But deciding which of the UK couriers to choose for this can be overwhelming.

So before we start, if you’d like to take a look at more couriers than just DHL Express, feel free to download our complete Courier Comparison Guide 2021. Compare shipping services, costs, pros, cons, and more for; Royal Mail, Hermes, FedEx, DPD, DHL Parcel, DHL Express, UPS, and Pacelforce.

If you’re considering adding DHL Express’s delivery service to your shop’s checkout options – and want to know how it stacks up against other couriers – this complete guide gives you a quick overview of everything you need to know before deciding to use DHL Express.

We’ll take a look at:

  • What is DHL Express
  • DHL Express vs DHL Parcel
  • Shipping with DHL: services
    • Shipping with DHL Express UK
    • Shipping with DHL Express International
  • Benefits of shipping with DHL Express for your e-commerce store
  • Shipping with DHL on-demand delivery
  • Shipping with DHL Express – costs
    • DHL Express UK shipping price
    • DHL Express international shipping price
    • DHL volume weight
  • Why shipping with DHL?
  • How to integrate DHL?
    • Start shipping with DHL Express
  • Is shipping with DHL the best choice?

What is DHL Express?

DHL Express is a premium shipping option operated by the major international courier DHL. It offers both domestic and international shipping for UK customers. Here are some key facts:

  • DHL Express has been offering fast delivery services for over 50 years.
  • Its global workforce of 100,000 employees serves 2.6 million customers each year.
  • As part of the DHL Group, it operates in over 220 countries globally and offers guaranteed next-business-day shipping from the UK to 84 countries.
  • It is the global market leader in express shipping, which means that you can rely on it for fast delivery that is guaranteed within a specific time frame.

DHL and its various other brands, including DHL Express and DHL Parcel, are popular among UK online shoppers because of their strong brand recognition and reputation for fast delivery in general. Because DHL Express offers specific tracking information, customers know what time they need to be at home to receive their package. This ensures a smooth delivery process and cuts down on failed delivery attempts.

DHL Express is the fastest delivery service that DHL offers. But how does it compare with DHL’s standard service, DHL Parcel? Find out below.

DHL Express versus DHL Parcel

DHL Express and DHL Parcel are two different brands within the global DHL Group. They each offer a range of international express services with flexible, reliable delivery options. DHL Express offers faster delivery services, which generally means a high service level than DHL Parcel. DHL Parcel offers more flexibility when it comes to shipping pallets within Europe, but DHL Express Worldwide is ideal if you need to ship pallets outside Europe.

Here’s a quick look at the main differences between how these two DHL services work for UK e-commerce retailers:

DHL ExpressDHL Parcel
Guaranteed next-morning domestic deliveries for UK shipmentsGuaranteed next-day delivery for UK shipments (before the end of the day)
Ship from the UK to anywhere in the world (220+ countries); guaranteed express delivery options available for 84 countriesShip from the UK to anywhere in Europe
Fast, reliable solution for urgent domestic and global shippingGreat for domestic and European shipping when delivery is less urgent
Maximum individual parcel weight allowed: 70 kgMaximum individual parcel weight allowed: 25 kg
Maximum individual parcel dimensions allowed: 120 x 80 x 80 cmMaximum individual parcel dimensions allowed: 70 x 70 x 70 cm
Pallet shipments are possible under DHL Express Worldwide and DHL Economy Select servicesPallet shipments are possible within Europe
Maximum pallet weight allowed: 300 kg (DHL Express Worldwide) and 1,000 kg (DHL Economy Select)Maximum pallet weight allowed: customisable options available

Shipping with DHL: services

How fast does DHL Express deliver? What are your service options when using DHL Express as an e-commerce retailer?

There are plenty of choices and, the good news is: they’re all super-fast compared to nearly any other courier in the market.

Shipping with DHL Express UK

For shipments within the UK, DHL Express offers three delivery time options under its Time Definite Domestic shipping services:

  • Before 9 a.m. on the next business day.
  • Between 9 a.m. and noon on the next business day.
  • By the end of the next business day.

Shipping with DHL Express International

Shipping with DHL Express: the complete guide for e-commerce retailers (1)

If you are shipping from the UK to customers overseas, DHL Express offers a range of options:

  • DHL Express Worldwide: Delivery on the next possible business day to 220+ countries around the world. This service does not offer a money-back guarantee in case of delays in delivery. Pallet shipment is possible.
  • DHL Express 12:00: Delivery before noon on the next possible business day to 84 countries, with a money-back guarantee in case of delays (subject to terms and conditions). Pallet shipment is not possible.
  • DHL Express 9:00 (10:30 to the USA): Delivery​ before​ 9:00​ a.m. to 34 countries (or 10:30 a.m. to the USA) on the next possible business day, including cash-back guarantee in case of delays (subject to terms and conditions). Pallet shipment is not available with this service either.
  • DHL Economy Select: Delivery to 32 countries within a predefined number of days. No money-back guarantee. Pallet shipping is possible.

Benefits of shipping with DHL Express for your e-commerce store

With all DHL Express services, whether domestic or international, you and your customer benefit from many premium options, such as:

Detailed tracking information

DHL, including DHL Express, is beloved for its detailed, real-time tracking information, which can be accessed easily online using the shipment’s tracking number.

A large network of pick-up locations

DHL operates 3,500 pick-up locations within the UK and tens of thousands around the world, giving your customers plenty of local options for receiving packages in case they miss the doorstep delivery.

DHL’s extremely customer-friendly On-Demand Delivery option

We’ll discuss this in more detail below.

Prepaying duties and taxes on international shipments

For an extra fee, DHL Express can arrange for you or another third party to be billed for any import duties and taxes owed on your shipment. This saves your customer from having to pay those fees. By avoiding this unpleasant surprise, you keep your customer happy and help ensure they will accept the delivery when it arrives.

Free pickup, including dedicated pick-up service from your location

You can request a speedy, non-routine collection of shipments from your location and DHL will send a driver to collect your parcel(s) from you.

Support with preparing shipments

DHL Express offers help with preparing goods for shipment, including irregular-sized or bulky items. You can pay DHL to manage the entire shipping process, including packaging and preparing customs documentation.

Saturday delivery

For an extra fee, DHL Express delivers on Saturdays in 70​ countries, including the UK.

Shipment insurance

You can purchase additional, flexible insurance coverage through DHL Express to protect your shipment in case of loss or destruction.

Paperless Trade

This service, which is fully automated via Sendcloud, saves time, effort and paper. It automatically transfers shipping documentation to DHL Express online once you’ve entered the customs information into the software and created a shipping label.

Direct Signature Delivery option

If you are shipping high-value items and want to guarantee they are delivered only to the customer, DHL Express offers Direct Signature Delivery. This prevents the parcel from being redirected or delivered to an alternative address.

Reducing your company’s carbon footprint with GoGreen Climate Neutral shipping

Keep track of your company’s annual shipping carbon emissions level and offset them by participating in UN-certified environmental protection programmes.

Change invoice details

Unlike with some other couriers, DHL Express will issue updated/modified invoices to you on request; for example, in case your company changes bank accounts.

Neutral delivery

If you need to obscure the value of the product, then DHL offers ‘neutral’ delivery by removing the commercial invoice prior to delivering the merchandise to the customer.

Super-fast delivery

Your international customers will enjoy the fastest possible express delivery worldwide. At the same time, you get next-morning delivery for your customers within the UK.

Fully automated shipping through Sendcloud

From creating a shipping label, to shipping, to returns, take care of the entire DHL Express shipping process through Sendcloud.

The option to add Sendcloud Insurance

Get affordable coverage for your DHL Express shipments in case of loss or destruction.

Shipping with DHL on-demand delivery

DHL On-Demand Delivery is a good option for offering flexible delivery to your customers. It gives them control over the delivery once the package has been shipped. Here’s how it works:

  • You hand over the shipment to DHL Express.
  • Your customer receives an SMS and/or email with a link to the On-Demand Delivery system.
  • Within this system, your customer can customise the delivery, by choosing exactly when and where they want to package to be delivered.

Using DHL On-Demand Deliver, your customers can choose to schedule the delivery at a specific time, have it delivered to a specific neighbour or alternative address, ship it to a nearby DHL Service Point or require for the parcel to be signed for upon delivery.

With this level of flexibility and freedom, you can be sure that your customers are getting the best possible delivery experience. You’ll also save money by virtually eliminating the possibility of undeliverable shipments.

Shipping with DHL Express – costs

DHL Express offers personalised contracts for e-commerce retailers, based on your shipping volume. This includes discounted rates and other benefits, such as the ones discussed above.

To give you an idea of the normal price range for DHL Express shipping, consider the following:

DHL Express UK shipping price

For domestic shipping within the UK, DHL Express offers only next-day delivery, with options starting as low as £7 for door-to-door shipping for a 2 kg package.

DHL Express international shipping price

Like most international couriers, DHL Express uses a zone system to categorise the various countries that it delivers to around the world. The zones are used to determine the price when shipping from the UK.

Depending on the zone, shipping prices range from around £50 to around £70 to ship a 2 kg package using DHL’s Economy Select service. This is the least expensive of the DHL Express international shipping options.

On the higher end of the international shipping range: for DHL Express Worldwide shipping, prices for a 2 kg package range from around £53 to around £106, depending on the destination zone.

DHL volume weight

Shipping with DHL Express: the complete guide for e-commerce retailers (2)

Yes. As with some other couriers, DHL Express uses ‘volumetric weight’ (also known as ‘volume weight’ or ‘dimensional weight’) to determine the price of shipping a parcel. This weight is calculated by measuring not only the weight, but also adding up the dimensions of the parcel.

This prevents overloading and helps keep the shipping chain moving as smoothly as possible. Always compare the volume weight to the actual weight of your shipment. The price will be based on the heavier of the two.

Why shipping with DHL?

Are you not sure whether an express shipping option like DHL Express makes sense for your business? Think about it this way: like with many aspects of e-commerce, flexibility and customer focus are the keys to success when it comes to shipping. To keep your UK and international customers satisfied, we strongly recommend offering multiple shipping options.

One smart approach is to:

  • Offer a standard (free) delivery option for customers who spend above a certain threshold on their order.
  • On top of that, offer an express delivery option for a fixed price that you charge the customer.

Many customers are more than happy to pay a premium fee, as long as they know they will receive their order quickly and within the specified delivery time.

That’s what makes DHL Express such a good choice for premium, fast delivery services. They guarantee delivery within a specific timeframe to many of the most common destinations. Plus, they offer excellent tracking options to keep you customers (and you) informed of the shipping status along the way.

How to integrate DHL?

You can start using DHL Express in Sendcloud in the following way:

  • Use your own contract: If you already have a contract with DHL Express, then simply activate DHL Express as a courier option in Sendcloud with a single click and your own price agreements and other conditions will apply. Activate your current DHL Express credentials under ‘My contracts’ in Sendcloud and you’re good to go.

Do you use smart shipping rules in Sendcloud? Then avoid errors by setting the conditions in which you want to automatically choose DHL Express.

Once you know which DHL Express option you want to work with, print your labels in one click. Then you’re ready to ship.

Start shipping with DHL Express

Once you’ve created a DHL Express shipment using Sendcloud, you’re ready to quickly send your parcel to your customer. You have different options for how to hand over the parcel to DHL Express:

  • Set a time frame (within a range of two hours) for DHL Express to pick up the parcel from your location.
  • Drop off your parcels at a DHL Express Service Point near you. NOTE: Not all regular DHL points are also DHL Express points, so be sure to check in advance.

After your parcels have been handed over to DHL Express, you and your customer will start receiving tracking notifications that enable you to track the status. If you’ve chosen to use DHL On-Demand Delivery, your customer will also have access to an online DHL tool where they can adjust the delivery conditions as they wish.

Is shipping with DHL the best choice?

Considering the speed of delivery and range of services, many e-retailers in the UK feel that DHL Express is worth the higher price. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with transferring higher express shipping costs onto your customers, as long as you also offer a cheap or free standard delivery option too.

Need help deciding?

If you’re in the market for a UK-based shipping partner to grow your online retail business, then Hermes is one of many options you can consider. But if you’re still not sure which courier is the best fit for you and your customers, then try checking out our other useful guides to UK couriers. Here you have the links:

  • Shipping with DPD
  • Shipping with Hermes
  • Royal Mail shipping
  • Shipping with FedEx
  • Shipping with UPS
  • Royal Mail vs Hermes
  • FedEx vs UPS

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