5 Quick Tips for Shipping Internationally


Cross-border online sales may account for a substantial part of total ecommerce orders in only the next few years, according to several reports. However, for many small online retailers the job of actually sending a package internationally and understanding all […]

Cross-border online sales may account for a substantial part of total ecommerce orders in only the next few years, according to several reports. However, for many small online retailers the job of actually sending a package internationally and understanding all the related rules, regulations, and dangers can be daunting.

This past year, Dynamic Business, an Australian publication, reported that international shipments might account for 20 percent of the nation’s total ecommerce purchases by 2017. Similarly, the Boston Consulting Group estimated that the”Internet Economy” would nearly double by 2016, as thousands of consumers start shopping online from nations like China, Brazil, and Mexico and more than 3 billion people access the web.

Given these sorts of quotes, selling internationally represents a substantial chance for online retailers. Setting aside international advertising, website localization, or even dealing with any number of currencies, the task of placing a product in a box, putting a suitable label on that box, and getting it shipped out can be an unknown for a small business owner. What follows are five suggestions to help a tiny online retailer begin with international delivery.

Pick Products Wisely

Not everything a merchant sells is a fantastic candidate for international trade. For instance, a multi-channel ranch and farm merchant located in the Northwest recently got a petition from Israel. A horse trainer there specializing in western riding and roping wanted to purchase several big horse feeders. The merchant ships those feeders within the U.S. for approximately $140.00 each, but sending the steel and plastic corner feeders to Israel would have been greater than $1,500.00.

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Try to focus on relatively small, light, and easy to ship things.

Recognizing Country-specific Regulations, Requirements

Vietnam makes it illegal to import foreign calendars — yes, calendars — for industrial purposes, according to a UPS informational video. This means that online retailers based in the U.S. may not ship volumes of over 100 calendars to clients in Vietnam. Doing this is a crime.

This is just 1 example of the dozens, if not hundreds, of country-specific regulations which may make international shipping seem complex. To assist, UPS has a useful tool in its own international delivery information section which allows shippers retrieve a list of regulations. Simply input the source and destination states, and UPS returns information about what is required.

UPS has a useful tool for finding international shipping regulations.

All the regulation data can be available from other carriers and the U.S. Department of Commerce. With a great understanding of those principles, international shipping will look a good deal easier.

Target Particular Countries

Given that the rules and regulations described above, it can be a fantastic idea to understand, if you will, about international ecommerce by targeting specific countries first. By way of instance, it can be a good deal easier for U.S.-based online retailers to ship to Canada or Mexico than to send to Uganda.

Pick a couple of nations and be good at shipping there. Then incremental, expand into other nations.

Understand What the Delivery Costs

When a U.S.-based merchant ships a t-shirt from Los Angeles to Topeka, there’s a single shipping rate. But send that identical t-shirt across a boundary and a completely new set of duties and taxes apply. Understanding the whole cost of sending an order internationally is known as the”landed cost” and it’s essential that retailers know this cost prior to sending an order.

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Imagine what a client might do if there’s suddenly a $20 duty added to a product once it arrives at their door. They may deny the shipment, and the merchant will have lost the sale and the cost of freight.

Luckily, major carriers such as FedEx, UPS, and USPS provide tools or even application programming interfaces (APIs) that make it possible to compute the landed cost and incorporate transport tools into a merchant’s ecommerce platform.

Use Fulfillment Services

Finally, it’s possible to take the hassle out of shipping internationally, simply hire a fulfillment service such as Fulfillment from Amazon, Shipwire, or others to handle international orders.

Generally, the merchant will pay a set fee per purchase and the satisfaction service will handle packaging, labeling, shipping, and track all those pesky rules and regulations.

Many fulfillment services have international warehouses also so that when a merchant’s sales to, say, the United Kingdom warrant it, the merchant may actually inventory goods in the U.K. in a fulfillment service’s centre and revel in domestic shipping prices.

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