If you’re looking to grow your eCommerce business, expanding beyond your countries borders could be the next big step – but that means you need to figure out how can you ship your products internationally.
To make international shipping work for you, you need to come up with an effective strategy that will work for your business. This doesn’t mean that you’ll have to become a an expert about shipping, what it involves is you understanding the available options that you have and to find an approach that will work again and again.
There are quite a few reasons you might not be shipping internationally right now. Maybe you’ve tried international shipping once or twice before and you didn’t see its full potential or you haven’t considered it as an option yet.
Shipping beyond your borders can be an important growth area for your business, even if you only ship a couple of products internationally. If this doesn’t convince you that your business can grow internationally, let’s have a look at a few figures:
- Statista shows that the average order value if an international sale is $147, which is 17% higher compared to the average domestic sale.
- A report from Pitney Bowes shows that nearly 70% of online shoppers shop internationally
- The same report shows that nearly 93% of online retailers already offer or plan on offering international shipping in the near future.
- Retailers that offer premium international shipping grow 60% faster than those that don’t.
These figures show that there are more and more online shoppers that want international shipping and that the number of online businesses offering international shipping is on the rise – so why stay left out?
Shipping internationally can help you sell your products to a larger audience.
Decide on an international shipping strategy
You don’t have to jump in deep water and offer international shipping across the globe, you can start small, by offering international shipping to nearby countries. By keeping the shipments close to home, you can set realistic expectations for customers on delivery times and rates. This also allows you to get a feel of what it takes to start shipping internationally. From here, you can slowly start expanding to newer and newer countries.
Track the demand for your products
First of all, you need to know the international demand for your product and how your target countries regulate it. You need to decide how to fulfill orders to different countries – here are a couple of basic questions that could help you out:
- What is the demand for your product?
- Is your item taxable in the targeted country and at what value or quantity?
- What is the minimum threshold of duties in the country?
- What customs regulations impact your product?
Get familiar with the country rules and regulations
You also need to check if the country prohibits the items you are selling or if it limits them – being informed of the rules and regulations that exist and which may impact your shipments can help ensure a smooth delivery.
Create an easier international buying experience
If you decide to ship abroad using express couriers – you have to know that they charge extra for delivery re-attempts and if the address is wrong, you’ll have to pay the address correction fees and return fees. Sellers have to provide the correct and accurate contact and address information from customers. Setting up a shipping automation system eliminates input errors by allowing users to automatically import orders from marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon, and others. This software can also help you save time and money – because you can download all of your orders from all of your platforms into one interface.
Try keeping the packaging sturdy and simple, no one wants to deal with multiple boxes varying sizes when getting a single product from your business. Trying to find the balance between sturdy and low-cost requires some homework – see what sized items you sell the most and order the boxes for them in bulk – you might get away with a discount like this. Working out the cost of packaging for each product should be simple, depending on the size and quantity, most packaging should cost around £1 – £5 each.
Cost of shipping
Do you ship a lot of similarly sized packages? Or packages with different weights or sizes?
The difference affects how you’d price the items.
One way to find out the costs of shipping internationally is to use the shipping service provider’s online shipping calculators.
Using the shipping rate calculator, take your average domestic order and price it out as if you were shipping it internationally.
After that, use the shipping rate calculator on your smallest domestic sale.
Now run the cost for your largest domestic sale.
Now that you have these three figures, you’ll have a sense of pricing for international shipping. This can also help you determine which shipments will cost more than others.
Here are a few shipping rate calculators that you might find useful:
To make international shipping work, you’ll have to do some research and you’ll have to know how to implement your strategies. Remember to try out new approaches and techniques – be sure to re-apply successful approaches to new offers and products.