Why are product description used for and how do a best describe a product for customs?

A critical element to ensure smooth shipping of your goods is providing clear and accurate information on every shipping document. FlavorCloud uses the product description as listed in your online store (e.g. Shopify, BigCommerce) of each product sold and automatically adds that description to the customs documents (aka commercial invoice) for you to print out and add to the shipment.

What is a product description?

It’s a detailed description of the goods you’re shipping. It states what your goods are, what they’re made of and what they’re used for. You need to provide a goods description on all shipping documents such as e.g. the commercial invoice. 

A clear description gives customs authorities to check if your goods are allowed to leave the exporting country and enter the importing country.

What details do I need to provide?

Ask yourself these questions when describing your goods:

  • What is the item?
  • What is it made of?
  • What is the item used for?

The description should be as specific as possible. If the package contains branded items, include the brand and model number along with the description. And don’t just rely on the company product code to describe the goods.

What is a good and bad example?


Jewelry                                          Earring, made out of 30% gold & 70% metal 

What happens if I write a vague goods description?

Shipments with vague descriptions of their contents can be held or delayed by customs. That’s because they want more information on the goods you’re shipping.

An accurate goods description is the best way to ensure your package doesn’t get stuck in customs.

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