How to improve your international shipping strategy

Growing a business in international markets can be difficult. We want to treat all of our customers with the same care regardless of their location. However, there are inherent hurdles involved with shipping internationally that can cause massive headaches that aren’t present with domestic shipping. From custom fees to longer transit times, to shipping delays caused by COVID-19, international shipping can be difficult to navigate. However, once you know what to expect, you can create a more streamlined and efficient shipping process for your business.

Ok, so how do I do it?

Whether you are an independent or multi-store retailer, there are various reasons why you should improve your shipping strategy:

-Increased Conversions. Your shipping options and rates can impact your conversion rate.

-Increased Average Order Value (AOV). You can offer free shipping in exchange for a qualifying basket size.

-Expanded Market Reach. When you partner with the right logistics companies, you can expand your market reach without hassle. That’s because they are more likely to have warehouses in various locations.

-Decreased Operating Cost. Having the right logistics partner means that they can handle your products’ storage, packing, and delivery. The right technology also allows you to be efficient, which reduces costs due to complications and human errors.

-Improved Efficiency. A simple shipping strategy allows you to focus on what’s essential for your e-commerce business. It also prevents you from making mistakes often.

Whatever your goals are, it is crucial to consider customer satisfaction. After all, they are the reason your online business exists. Moreover, identifying your goal allows you to lay out a robust plan to improve your shipping strategy.

Simplify your shipping process!

It can be tempting to offer a handful of shipping options when running an online store. But having one too many can lead to confusion and human error. This can also result in shipping delays.

Thus, the first step to improving your shipping strategy is to simplify your shipping options. Another great example is regular or expedited shipping.

When you simplify your shipping options, you also narrow down your list of logistics partners.

You cannot simplify your shipping services if you do not know what you need. Hence, it is imperative to evaluate your shipping needs if you want to improve your e-commerce processes.

Evaluate your shipping needs

What you can do is let your logistics partner handle a broad category of products. Think small (two kilos or lighter), medium (two kilos to five kilos), and large (five kilos or heavier).

Luckily, your preferred logistics partners have provisions for various shipping sizes. You can opt to leverage it to simplify your shipping strategy.

Doing so also decreases the risk of shipping errors. That’s because a simplified process results in efficient e-commerce fulfillment.

Be transparent with your international shipping costs

The difficulty with many international orders is that often the costs won’t be displayed until checkout where the customer is met with a potentially high shipping cost. If they’re not expecting it, then it can come as a shock and be off-putting.

However, if they’re already aware of the potential costs before they even add a product to their cart then this shock is mitigated. It’s all about managing expectations – international customers are already aware that they may need to pay a high shipping fee to their country.

Try consolidating your distribution and shipping network

Consolidating your distribution network is ideal if you own a large e-commerce business. Either way, this is another excellent way to improve your shipping strategy.

To make this work, there are two things that you need to do:

  1. Know where the bulk of your order comes from.
  2. Monitor your shipping partners’ route.

These allow you to identify which of the networks needs simplification and how.

Talk with your logistics partner

Once you are done identifying your shipping goals and needs, the next step is to coordinate with your logistics partners. This is to know whether your preferred shipping partner can cater to your needs.

This includes the following:

  1. Product size and weight
  2. Destinations
  3. Delivery options (e.g., free pick up and same-day delivery)

After all, your delivery options can impact how much it will cost. And this can also make or break your online business.

order fulfillment process

Nonetheless, a simple shipping strategy allows you to be in control of how you run your business.

To sum up

If you find your current shipping strategy cumbersome, know that you are not alone. A lot of online businesses encounter issues on product delivery, especially now that there is a pandemic.

The key to improving your shipping strategy is to focus on what you need. And most of the time, what you need is a logistics partner that can help you serve as many customers as possible.

This could mean shipping your products internationally with ease. You can also offer free shipping costs without hurting your finances. Another thing is to deliver as many products as possible, so long as they are within the same area or do not require a detour.
And don’t forget – be transparent!