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Shipping from USA to India Untangled

Shipping from USA to India Untangled

There are many ways of shipping your goods from India to the United States and here we uncover all of them.

If you are an Indian living in The US and wish to ship goods from India, or an American interested in Indian products, your options have never been better. Also, we have outlined the topic in another article that you can read here. In this, we’ll be breaking down the various methods of shipping in detail, each with their pros and cons.

Retail Stores:

If you’re living in The States, this is most probably how you’ve been getting your hands on Indian spices and snacks. This is the most popular way, solely because of the convenience it offers.

These stores purchase their goods from middlemen who in turn acquire it from Indian manufacturers and sellers. Thus, when it comes to profits these middlemen take the biggest bite of the apple.

These retail stores are for people who either value convenience above all else or are on an extremely short notice. Say, if your boss wants to come over for a full Indian thali spread on the coming weekend, it’ll make more sense to just drive to one of these stores and get the materials, than to ring up your cousin in India to send some quality turmeric.

Pros: They can be extremely convenient as they are nearby and one can just pop into them and get what they want.

There’s no need for waiting for your goods to arrive and so these are perfect for crunch time situations.        

Cons: The products are quite heavily marked up and can cost more than three times of their actual value.

Certain items such as spices can be of questionable quality as they have been stored for a long time.

These are some of the retail stores that specialise in Indian commodities. All of these stores offer home deliveries and some even offer extended deliveries outside the city, at additional charges. We recommend you contact the stores for further information about the variety they offer, the age of goods (nobody wants chillies that were dried sometime before the War) and prices.
  1. Bombay Bazaar:  279 Medford Street, Somerville, MA 02143
  2. Indus Valley: 434 Moody Street, Waltham, MA 02453
  3. Sagar India Market: 3340 Holwyn Road Ste 260, Lexington, KY 40503
  4. Mirch Masala Groceries: 1252 Town Center Drive, Eagan, MN 55123
  5. Taj Emporium: 1400 Fellows Place, Columbia, MO 65201


Online Stores:

If you’re feeling fancy, you can order Indian textiles and other goods online. Ordering goods online gives you the privilege of hassle-free on-the-couch shopping and convenient delivery and payment options. There are two primary ways of buying goods online and they are:

Independent Stores: These online retailers specialise in selling Indian goods and are often a part of brick and mortar stores. These stores offer goods at comparatively reasonable prices and offer multiple payment options.
  • Pros: Better Quality of products due to high movement of the stock.
  • Comparatively reasonable pricing due to high competition in the online marketplace.
  • Cons: Small-scale online stores often lack package tracking facility.
  • Variety of goods may be limited compared to a brick and mortar store.
  • Lack of sound customer support.
Some of the major online retailers for Indian goods are:


Amazon or eBay: You’ll have a hard time naming a product that’s NOT available on Amazon and eBay. This means plenty of options for you as a customer and a better overall experience. But expect to pay a little extra for less common items as there’s no authority to control prices.

  • Pros: As they are global brands they offer excellent customer support.
  • Multiple delivery options ranging from one week to next day.
  • A rich variety of goods from around the globe.
  • Cons: Extremely variable and unpredictable prices.
  • No quality check of products sold due to multiple sellers.
  • The realistic possibility of counterfeit goods.
Shopping Indian products online can be a great option for those who have some time on their hands and are willing to pay a little extra for the convenience of getting the product in a couple days. It offers better value than retail stores eliminate the need to import goods from India.

Conventional Shipping:

Conventional shipping methods can be a great option for those who need to import goods into the US on a short notice. All you need is a friend or relative living in India. They can purchase the goods you want and then ship it to you using shipping companies such as DHL, UPS, etc.

The thing to keep in mind, in this case, is that the shipping companies charge you on the basis of the dimensions and the weight of the package. So if you’re not careful with what you’re shipping and don’t evaluate the cost vs. benefits, you can easily end up paying more for shipping than the actual product.

For assistance, UPS (United Parcel Services) has a quote calculator which can help you calculate the approximate quote for shipping your package from India to USA. All you need to do is specify the weight of the package and the method of delivery. Speaking of methods of delivery, there are a few.

Economy: As the name suggests, Economy is the most cost-effective mode of shipping but it is predictably slower than other methods and does not provide tracking. It is perfect for heavier packages that are not urgent.

Standard: This shipping method is relatively fast and provides tracking facility so you can track as your package reaches you. It is the right balance of speed and cost.

Express: Express is the fast shipping option for urgent deliveries. Say, if there’s a  traditional wedding dress you need on a short notice, this is the method to opt. There are two-day and even one-day delivery options available, for higher prices.
  • Pros: The most reliable way to ship products across borders.
  • Package Tracking Facilities.
  • Time efficient deliveries.
  • Cons: Expensive while shipping single article.

Package Forwarding Services:

Package Forwarding Services ship the packages you order to them at your doorstep. They take care of packaging, shipping and everything in between.

The workings of Package Forwarding Services have been explained in detail in the other article and we strongly suggest you read it. These are some of the services in particular.


Pros: Reliable and Fast, (as conventional shipping)

Cons: Can be quite expensive.

Social Media Groups and Forms

There are various groups on Social Media such as Facebook and Instagram that carry out the same functions as a Package Forwarding Service but not as an established business. Groups such as ‘Shipping From India Club’ and Shop USA-India’ have made their mark on Facebook and boast of many successful deliveries.

The members of the group order products together and then have them shipped to another country. This way they get to save on shipping and packaging costs.

But with everything Social Media, there is always a risk factor associated and one should fully understand it before proceeding with it. And carry out the necessary steps like asking their address, business licence, tracking ID among other things.
  • Pros: Such groups and forums are informal and easy to access.
  • They can offer competitive prices as groups are often shipped in bulk.
  • Cons: There is a real risk of fraud.
  • Business may be unregistered.
There is a way for getting Indian products abroad for every budget and needs. And with a sound knowledge of each of them, you can decide which way is the best for you.

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