Last checked: 04/08/2022

Deliveries and fulfilment for online sales

Delivery services

When you choose a delivery solution, you should consider the size of your company, your product characteristics, whether you operate only domestically or cross-border, your business model and your customers' needs and preferences.

Make sure, also, that you are familiar with national and EU requirements on the rights of your customers and the rules that apply to specific categories of products you'll be shipping across Europe.

Online shoppers expect to be able to choose from multiple flexible delivery options. Important features include:


 Take into consideration that there may be national variations in customers' preferred delivery options and acceptable transit times. Contact the e-commerce associationOpen as an external link in your own country or the destination country to check local practice.

 You can propose different delivery options to your customers. You should indicate precisely the costs of each delivery service. Do not forget to indicate clearly if delivery costs are included in any quote you make.

 Make sure you inform your customers before they place the order about the delivery conditions (including return procedure and cost of returning the goods). You will bear the cost of returning the goods if you don't properly inform your customers about the return procedure.

Depending on the weight, size, volumes (individually and in number) and destination of the packages you ship, you can find the suitable operator for your needs:

Specialised delivery service operators can offer you better prices, a broader range of services and higher quality, as well as reliability of delivery services:

Find out more about parcel services in the EU, including a tool to help you find a suitable service and price for your cross-border shipments.

Additional services to a delivery

You are required to offer a delivery timeframe that is no longer than 30 days after the purchase unless otherwise specified. You are responsible for any delays and damaged items in transit. To find out more about what your customers can expect here.

Complying with product delivery requirements

Depending on the type of goods and services that you sell online, EU regulations apply in many different areas:

Delivery obligations towards your customers

Other than meeting the agreed delivery timeframe, you are also responsible for any losses and damages of the goods before they physically reach your customers.

Additionally, you are directly responsible for any complaints from customers, including those related to the delivery of the items.

You normally settle delivery-related complaints with the delivery operator with whom you have a contractual agreement (no matter how many subcontractors the operator has worked with) to find a satisfactory solution for your customer.

If your delivery operator cannot offer a satisfactory solution, it can be useful to use out-of-court dispute resolution mechanisms or other European judicial procedures.

If you have used a universal service provider, you can also contact the relevant national public complaints authorityOpen as an external link for additional assistance and guidance. 

Need support from assistance services?

Get in touch with specialised assistance services

Do you have questions on operating a business cross-border, for example exporting or expanding to another EU country? If so, the Enterprise Europe Network can give you free advice.

You can also use the assistance service finder to find the right help for you.

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