Going global: 9 ways ecommerce sellers can ship internationally
Maybe you’ve already established a business in your home market, and you want to take it to the next level. You might be thinking about expanding your ecommerce business on an international level, like tapping into global ecommerce shipping.
Scaling your ecommerce business is not an easy feat. But if you know what you need to do and the things that you’ll be needing to get there, then it’s achievable.
Andi Croft will introduce to you nine practical tips on what ecommerce sellers need to do to go global.
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Why does the international shipping process matter?
According to data, cross-border ecommerce growth has surpassed domestic ecommerce growth by 100%. International shopping is growing 2x the rate of domestic shopping. More and more people shop online and choose to use cross-border shipping such as eBay GSP and others.
What’s more interesting is that 10-20% of international purchases are considered high-value. Merchants who are selling on international markets, like eBay, are lifting their overall sales more than those not selling internationally.
How to ship internationally? Here are 9 things you must consider
Despite huge returns, figuring out how you can sell internationally can be a challenge.
That’s why you have to be aware of the most common pitfalls. You also need to take the proper steps on how you can overcome them:
#1 Know your product’s international demand
One of the questions you’re probably asking is how to ship internationally? First and foremost, you first need to know whether or not the product that you’re selling is in demand internationally.
You might ask the following questions:
- Are your products taxable within a particular country, and what is their value or quantity?
- Are there any custom regulations that can impact your product?
You’re selling luxury leather jackets to a country with a $100 threshold that triggers a per-item tax. Buyers will have to pay a customs fee that’s already equal to the product’s value. As a result, your product will be too expensive for the target market.
In a scenario like this, it’s more cost-effective to put a load of jackets on a ship headed to a warehouse and fulfill orders locally rather than shipping them via an international parcel service.
International sellers can also tap eBay international shipping to send items via regular shipping services. Alternatively, if they’re based in the US or UK, they can use eBay’s Global Shipping Program.
#2 Work with the best suppliers
There are several ways to ensure that you’re working with the best suppliers. One way you can do that is to first-order product samples yourself.
It would help if you always put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Make sure that you see what international shipping will look like from their perspective.
Working with the best suppliers gives you a chance to know more about the product’s packaging. You’ll also get to see how long the delivery will take. You can even contact the supplier to learn more about the product.
#3 Explore more markets to facilitate fast shipping
Countries with powerhouse markets for dropshipping stores are the US, UK, Australia, and Canada. But other markets facilitate fast shipping. Countries like the Philippines and Malaysia also account for more dropshipping sales than their populations suggest.
There are plenty of reasons behind that in the international shipping process. Both countries are English-speaking populations with high Facebook penetration. Therefore, they’re tech-savvy and speak ecommerce’s biggest language. Learn about dropshipping here.
#4 Balance shipping time & cost based on product type
According to data by Statista, 66% of international customers think that when purchasing something from a cross-border business, the items they buy will arrive much later than they’ve expected.
This belief deters many overseas customers from even considering purchasing from you. That’s why there’s a need to balance out shipping times.
Find the right balance between how long it takes for a shipment to arrive at a particular destination, the shipping costs in that mode of shipping, and the type of product you’re planning to ship.
#5 Automate your international shipping process
In the same way, automating the international shipping process makes your life so much easier. Nowadays, many couriers offer fully automated and integrated systems that streamline the entire fulfillment and delivery process.
Ideally, it would help if you look for a software that can do the following:
- Sync automatically with the CRM of your ecommerce platform.
- Import orders from the marketplace or your web store into a single platform.
- Come up with print shipping labels.
- Ensure that declarations, custom forms, and other essential requirements are already pre-filled.
- Send tracking details automatically, as well as customer updates.
- Schedule a time when your packages can be picked up.
#6 Be transparent about fees
Another essential tip for international shipping is to be transparent and communicative with customers when it comes to shipping costs.
You don’t want to surprise customers by having unexpected costs during the checkout.
#7 Follow packaging rules closely
Another thing that you need to remember when shipping internationally is to double-check, making sure that everything complies.
Every country has its own rules and regulations, stating how you can or cannot ship packages within their borders.
To avoid this issue, you can go with the three-step process:
- Study the specific regulations of a country before considering shipping items there.
- Follow the regulations up to the tiniest detail.
- Before mailing, ensure that you triple-check to see that you have the correct shipping label.
Labels are important because many countries will need shipping labels that give specific information. For instance, if you’re shipping to a country like India, the label should include what’s inside the package, the manufacturing date, the maximum retail price, etc. These details are essential for the delivery to be successful.
#8 Understand international shipping regulations
In the same way, you should also familiarize yourself with international shipping regulations. Otherwise, you’ll be experiencing delays or fines.
Some countries will often prohibit the following items:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Ammunition and explosives
- Marijuana (Both medicinal and traditional)
#9 Display transparent shipping details on your store
Finally, always keep your shoppers informed.
Providing them with a piece of detailed information is essential. Many ecommerce stores, especially the dropshipping ones, face the challenge of extended delivery times compared to ecommerce giants like Amazon.
While delivery times are entirely unavoidable, this can cause a sense of uncertainty for customers. That’s why you need to show transparent information about the shipping.
Include the countries you’re shipping to, how long it will typically take, if customers can easily track orders, etc.
Wrapping it Up: The International Shipping Process
Are you running a successful local ecommerce business? Don’t be afraid to scale internationally! Expanding your business abroad is a challenge. But the rewards that you’ll reap in the international shipping process will help open up a brand new customer base.
Fortunately, there are plenty of tools you can use these days to make your ecommerce journey quicker, faster, and so much more efficient. Good luck!
Andi Croft is a freelance writer interested in topics related to business, technology, and travel. She has a passion for meeting people from all walks of life and bringing along the latest tech to enhance her adventures.
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