Getting Started With International Shipping
When you’re a small business looking to expand, international shipping can be a huge roadblock. You know that your customers want speedy delivery, but with all of the different rates, taxes, and duties, it can get really complicated. There is a lot to consider, but I’m here to help you my friend.
UPS has this handy tool that allows you to see a list of regulations for each country. Step one is to check this tool and make sure your product is allowed in the country, and find out the associated taxes and fees. Next you’ll want to weigh your item to get an idea of what the full shipping cost would be. You can find additional information and resources on USPS, UPS, DHL and FedEx sites.
Once you determine the cost of shipping you will want to decide if you will pass that on to the customer or not. One option many retailers choose is to include the shipping cost in the item price and provide customers “free shipping.” It does something to people psychologically to know the shipping is free. It encourages them to press the buy button. You will also need to decide how you will handle return shipping, as many customers check this before purchasing.
If shipping overseas just isn’t an option, you can suggest to your customers that they sign up for a packaging forwarding service. Package forwarding is a service that helps customers that are outside of the US buy items from companies that don’t deliver internationally. It does this by creating a US-based shipping address that goes to a warehouse. They can consolidate all of their purchases at the warehouse and have them sent back to their home country. This won’t cost you any extra, and it will be cheaper for your customers in the long run, however it will cost your customers extra time to have their packages shipped. There are many package forwarding services like Bongo International, MyUs.com, US Global Mail, Border Linx, and Ship2me.
If you’re planning on shipping large quantities overseas you may be ready to hire a fulfillment company. These platforms are meant to help e-commerce sites manage their shipping. There are different options available which allow you to keep your merchandise in a physical location and have your orders fulfilled from there. You should consider these options as your business grows.
- Shipstation helps you streamline your shipping. It integrates with most e-commerce platforms out there. It automates shipping and provides Endicia and Shipping 1 accounts, which help manage high shipping volumes.
- Shipwire sets you up with a warehouse in different countries. This warehouse processes and ships the orders within the country you’re selling to. It also enables you to make your product available to other e-commerce stores. Orders can be shipped directly from whichever warehouse they have access to and you can make this possible by just merging their shipping platform to yours.
International shipping doesn’t have to be a showstopper for your business. With a little research you can get set up to ship all over the world and become a #GlobalInfluencer.