Shipping Concepts Explained

Important Shipping and eCommerce Terms Explained

14th July 2022, 9:09am in Business by Amy Newham

Are you new to eCommerce? It's overwhelming entering the digital world, especially as a small business. With phrases like SEO and POS thrown around, there's a lot of eCommerce jargon, terminology and concepts to get your head around.

Fortunately, we've put together a list of 20 shipping concepts every eCommerce business owner should know about to help get you started.

20 Shipping and eCommerce Terms Explained

1. API

API is the acronym for Application Program Interfaces. It allows two different systems to communicate with each other using requests and responses and act as one flawlessly. Our Restful JSON API can be used to connect Interparcel to your website or application. Please drop us a request for more information.

2. Automation

Automation tools can boost productivity and help resolve the demands of a growing eCommerce business by using software tools to complete various tasks for you. e.g. welcome sign-ups, review requests and tracking information.

3. Branded Tracking

Set up Branded Tracking

Interparcel Branded Tracking allows you to design a tailored tracking page, complete with a unique subdomain, so customers will see your logo and brand identity when tracking their parcel delivery status.

4. Commercial Invoice

A Commercial Invoice (Customs Invoice) is an essential document you must fill in for all international deliveries. You must fill out the information correctly because Customs will use the information provided to determine the taxes and duties that may apply to the items you're shipping.

5. CSV

A CSV is a comma-separated values text file. It includes a list of data or information in a tabular format. If you don't sell via an eCommerce store, you can upload your order data with us by dragging and dropping your CSV file into our Shipping Manager.

6. Dimensional/volumetric weight

Dimension/volumetric weight refers to the overall size of a parcel. To calculate dimensional weight, you need to multiply the length, width and height of a parcel. Our Smart Boxing feature can be used to define your regular shipping box sizes and help pack your items into as few boxes as possible.

7. EORI number

An Economic Operator Registration and Identification number (EORI) is a unique reference number required for any company shipping to the EU. It allows Customs authorities to identify the company/individual exporting and importing goods. An EORI number is required for any company shipping to the European Union, or any individual selling an item to the EU.

8. HS Code

HS Code Lookup

Harmonised System (HS) codes are international product naming numbers designed to speed up the Customs clearing process. It's mandatory for anyone sending goods internationally. We've simplified the process and included an 'HS Lookup Tool' to help you select the correct code for your item.

9. Integration

When you integrate software, applications or plugins with your online store, you combine them so they can work seamlessly together. Our Interparcel shipping integrations enable you to connect your store or website with us to make parcel sending easier.

10. Live Rates

Enabling live shipping rates allows your customer to see the live costs of shipping from your selected couriers at checkout. They can choose the best service for them and provide an accurate, up-to-date shipping cost.

11. Marketplace

An online marketplace is a shopping platform where customers can browse multiple vendors. There are many platforms available online where you can sell your products, including Amazon, eBay, and Etsy, to name a few. Selling on an online marketplace has many perks, but it's essential to do your research before you set up shop. You can then integrate your eCommerce store with us and benefit from many helpful features.

12. Multicarrier

A multicarrier solution means having the choice of several courier companies to send your parcels. It can help strengthen your supply chain because you're not relying on just one supplier.

13. Next-Day vs. Express Delivery

Popular shipping methods for domestic and international delivery, Next Day refers to fast, overnight UK delivery. In comparison, Express delivery refers to fast delivery to countries outside the UK.

14. Pallet

Pallet Delivery

A pallet is designed for shipping multiple boxes to one destination on a flat transport structure.

15. Parcel

The term parcel refers to an item or collection of items packaged in cardboard in order to be sent to an individual address.

16. Platform

You might already be using an eCommerce platform such as Shopify or WooCommerce but many others are available. They allow online businesses to manage their website and sales.

17. PrePay

PrePay is a free Interparcel account feature. It will allow you to add credit to your account from a stored card meaning you don't need to worry about entering your card details for every order. With this feature, you can see an overview of your average spending and manage your shipping budget.

18. Shipping Label

Every delivery you book with us requires a shipping label. It should describe and identify the contents of a package and contain essential delivery information like name, address, weight and tracking barcodes that is attached to the parcel.

19. Shipping Notifications

Shipping notifications

Shipping notifications keep the sender or the receiver up-to-date on the status of their parcel throughout the fulfilment journey. You can choose between email or SMS shipping notifications when you book with us.

20. Smart Boxing

When Smart Boxing is enabled inside Interparcel Shipping Manager, it will automatically package your imported orders into as few boxes as possible. You can define your regular shipping box sizes in seconds.

Connect your store with us

When you set up a free Interparcel account, you can access a range of shipping solutions to streamline parcel delivery. With an Interparcel account, you can benefit from:


At Interparcel, we offer a wide range of courier services and some of the best prices around. We have developed a strong relationship with reputable courier companies to provide our customers with the best range of service options through the years. If you need any further help with shipping please contact our excellent parcel experts.

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