Secretory proteins are transported to the Golgi complex in vesicles that bud from the endoplasmic reticulum. The cytoplasmic coat protein complex II (COPII) is responsible for cargo sorting and vesicle morphogenesis. COPII was first described in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, but its basic function is conserved throughout all eukaryotes. Nevertheless, the COPII coat has adapted to the higher complexity of mammalian physiology, achieving more sophisticated levels of secretory regulation. In this review we cover aspects of mammalian COPII-mediated regulation of secretion, in particular related to the function of COPII paralogues, the spatial organization of cargo export and the role of accessory proteins.