26 Essential Shipping Terms for Small Businesses

Starting a smart business is a difficult task, and once you've finished setting everything up and are ready to go, there's one more aspect to consider. Understanding shipping jargon is critical in order to avoid mistakes and misunderstandings.

Mastering some of the most commonly used words in eCommerce and shipping can provide you with the tools you need to grow your company and, more importantly, keep your customers happy. Here's a handy cheat sheet to help you learn some unique shipping terminology.

Bookmark this page and use it at any time as your guide to eCommerce shipping!

Ad valorem

A Latin expression that translates as "according to value." When computing customs duties and taxes, an ad valorem tax imposes a specific proportion of the value of products.

Booking number

A unique number is provided to a scheduled transportation movement in order to allocate assets and space.

Country of Origin

The country where the items in a shipment were produced or manufactured.

Customs Form

Customs forms are like the passports of packages. They serve to show that the package is described properly, is safe for delivery, and that you are complying with the laws of both the origin and the destination countries.

Delivery Duty Paid or DDP

The seller has the main responsibility for the shipment while working under DDP terms. Sellers are in charge of delivering cargo to the customer. Import and export duties, transportation, freight, and insurance will be handled by the seller.

Delivery Duty Unpaid or DDU 

DDU is an international commerce phrase that means the seller is responsible for ensuring products reach safely at a destination; the buyer is liable for import duties. PackageHopper shipping costs do not include customs or taxes, and shipments are delivered duty unpaid (DDU).

Drop-off location 

A designated place where you can leave your package to be prepared for shipping. Find a drop-off location closest to you here.


Drop-shipping is a kind of supply chain in which the merchant does not own or stock the products for sale. Someone else instead stores and ships the items to the customer. This might be the manufacturer, a wholesaler, or a retailer. 

Free Trade Agreement (FTA)

A trade agreement between two or more countries that offers member countries lower customs taxes if they import items from another member country.

Harmonized System Code 

Harmonized System (HS) Codes are widely used in the export of products. It is a standardized numerical approach for categorizing traded goods. The HS Code system is based on a 6-digit number that is used to define countries internationally and is commonly written as 'XXXX.XX'. 


An eCommerce platform that allows merchants to sell their items to a bigger audience. Amazon, eBay, Shopify, and Etsy are examples of marketplaces.! 

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

A trade agreement between Canada, Mexico, and the United States/Puerto Rico that reduces customs taxes for countries importing items from a member country.

Omnichannel Selling

A simplified selling procedure that provides your clients with a tailored and easy purchasing experience by integrating marketplaces and establishing the same ambiance in both online and physical stores. 


Provides reliable, cheap shipping from and throughout the United States to millions of clients worldwide. PackageHopper offers the best pricing and a selection of speedy, dependable delivery solutions thanks to their long-term partnership with global carriers. 

PackageHopper Protect

Covers your package if it is lost or stolen, up to the time of delivery. The cost is $2.99 per $100 of merchandise value, with a maximum value of $500. 


A parcel is a packed, individual cargo weighing less than 150 pounds. Parcels can be transported in a variety of ways, including normal carrier envelope and box packing or self-packaging by the shipper.

Physical Address

A physical address is a physical street address that can be used for commercial or personal purposes. 


A post office box is a uniquely addressable lockable box located on the premises of a post office. 

Postal Holidays

Days when mail is not delivered by carriers. 

Prohibited and Restricted Items

Certain items cannot legally ship from the US. Please review our restricted and prohibited items list before creating your shipment to be sure your package can be delivered to its destination. 

Shipping Label

Shipping labels are found on shipment boxes and they carry the most important information about the item(s) that you’re shipping. Without a shipping label, your package will have no destination, no recipient, and no way out of the country!

Sustainable Packaging

Packaging that, reduces its environmental footprint. It’s made of recycled or raw materials, produced by minimal supply chain and carbon footprint and creates a circular economy around the packaging, extending its life cycle and usability. 

Thermal Printers

A printer that does not need ink and instead prints on a specific type of paper that changes color when heated.

Tracking Number

A unique number assigned to a shipment by a carrier for use in shipment tracking and identification. If you book a shipment with PackageHopper, both you and your customers will be able to track the package while it’s in transit. This will help you stay on top of any exceptions that might come into play. 

USPS International Priority

A commonly used USPS service that provides shipment tracking information, can be used for shipments up to 70 pounds, and usually delivers shipments within 6-10 business days. 

VAT (Value Added Tax)

All items transported to the EU or the UK have a tax value applied to them. The quantity is determined by the product's price.

PackageHopper Can Work With Your Small Business!

While this may sound like a lot - you may not have to stress about some of these terms. With PackageHopper powered by MyUS, we'll take care of the complicated stuff for you! All you have to do is enter the package's location, intended destination, dimensions, and weight of your product into our Shipping calculator, we'll provide you with the best shipping rates available. Once you select the best options available, print your shipping label to secure your package and drop it off at your nearest drop-off location. If you're using PackageHopper Express, your package will be forwarded to our facility where our trained customer service professionals will verify your package and prepare it for international transit (export documentation and so on)! We'll provide you with a tracking number so you can watch your package as it is going through its delivery journey.

PackageHopper was created to help members find the best shipping options for sending packages anywhere around the globe. Have you used our PackageHopper services to send items to loved ones overseas? Let us know how you brightened someone's day using PackageHopper Express on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter