The internet can be an excellent resource. But only in the right hands.
The internet allows many entrepreneurs and businesses the opportunity to engage in business worldwide. You can start a multi-national online business with a supplier on the other side of the world while sitting in your bed.
However, everyone would be doing it if it was simple and straightforward.
In business, there is enormous room for mistakes. To ensure you avoid them, here are a few things you should know before shipping internationally.
Find the Best Courier Service
The most crucial aspect of international shipping is finding a trustworthy courier service. Since there is a good demand for quality cheap international shipping, you may find many scams along the way.
Even many of the companies working honestly are unable to deliver your cargo successfully. It’s usually because of inefficient operations.
Therefore, research every courier service carefully. First, go through their site and check their online reputation. Then, carefully go over their content and search for copied content or simple mistakes. The lack of effort displays untrustworthiness.
Verify All of Your International Addresses
With ecommerce, there are plenty of opportunities and markets waiting for you. However, you will only be able to capitalize if you do everything the right way.
Another crucial thing about international shipping is confirming the buyer. It’s not uncommon for even your customers to try to scam you or simply ruin your business. Even major companies like Bezos’ Amazon have fallen for scamming customers.
For this purpose, you can look into verification services that validate international addresses. It can help you significantly reduce unnecessary costs of international returns.
Know Your Overseas Shipping Restrictions
After getting a list of the countries you will be sending products to, check their rules and regulations.
The reason is that some countries may outrightly prohibit your products. If they do allow, they may have strict regulations that need to be followed to the dot. Otherwise, you might end up with higher costs, dissatisfied customers, and a frustrated courier.
Therefore, you should go to the government websites of each country and check everything out thoroughly. Start with the prohibited lists. If your products are there, simply find another market for your products.
Furthermore, you should look into the “dangerous goods” list. Similarly, they are plenty of other lists you should make sure your products aren’t under before checking any other thing.
You may find tools online that do all the work for you in a matter of seconds. While they are convenient, you can never be too sure about how up-to-date they are on every country.
Look Into the Relevant Paperwork
After knowing the countries’ rules and regulations, you should check the paperwork they require to allow the items in the country.
Generally, you will need to send a commercial invoice along with international shipments. The contents of which include:
- The descriptions and names of the products
- Country of origin and shipping method
- Sender’s name, address, and contact
- Recipient’s name, address, and contact
- The details of the sale and terms of payment
When an item is not ordinary or subject to certain regulations, the paperwork can increase.
Therefore, it is incredibly vital that you thoroughly go through the requirements. If you don’t understand anything, search the web or contact an expert to help you comprehend the guidelines.
Have a Trustworthy Supplier
If you are in ecommerce, chances are your supplier may be overseas as well. With a supplier being physically unreachable at a moment’s notice, you need someone trustworthy.
Doing business internationally can be incredibly challenging, and you may face a lot of hurdles. If you choose a supplier who has their own ways of doing things and they aren’t willing to adjust to yours, conducting business will be much more challenging.
Before making deals with any supplier, thoroughly research and vet them.
Be Transparent About International Shipping Charges
When it comes to shipping costs, you need to lay everything out in front of your customers as clearly as possible. Being transparent with them can be incredibly advantageous for your business.
Otherwise, your consumers may get surprised with unexpected costs. Bad surprises are not good for anybody.
Even if you give out some information on the product’s page and the other shipping costs are added at checkout, it’s still not good. You can even look into how many people abandon their carts simply because of extra shipping fees or charges.
Building trust and being transparent with your customers from the beginning is the way to go in this case. Even if the shipping costs are high for their region, their purchase journey won’t be a bad one, and they may come back to your site later. But only if you show transparency.
In case some of the costs can’t be estimated in advance, you should let your consumers know that as well.
If you’re wondering what to include in the shipping costs, check out the next section.
What Should You Charge For International Shipping?
Typically, you will have to deal with five essential costs to ship your products across the country border. These are the following:
Before shipping off products, you will need to get the appropriate packaging supplies. If the products go out directly from your supplier’s warehouse, you should convey the packaging requirements to them in advance.
Insurance is usually kept as an option for your customer to decide. But in case you see it as a requirement for international shipping, you can convey that to your customer and make it mandatory.
These would be the charges of the courier you’re using to ship the products. You can do this in three ways to make sure you don’t over or under-charge your customers.
- Include the costs in the price and offer free shipping
- Offer a flat rate
- Offer carrier rate shipping. For this, you would need a tool to calculate the costs in real-time for different carriers.
The other costs you should include are handling charges, taxes, and duties.