You have just started a new ecommerce venture. You’ve only been at it a few weeks and you are already getting questions about why you don’t ship internationally. Welcome to the brave new ecommerce world. If you want to keep those orders coming in, you may have to seriously consider selling to cross border customers.
Fortunately, international shipping is a lot easier if you hook up with a shipping partner who can help you navigate all the customs, tax, and regulatory issues. Preferred Shipping in Sugar Land, TX is one such provider. Their international ecommerce shipping services include DHL International Export Express. Working with them can take a lot of a hassle out of cross border shipping.
That being the case, Preferred Shipping offers the following tips for avoiding trouble:
1. Know Your Products
Certain types of products may be banned in other countries. There are also those products that require special permits before you can export them. Here is the point: know your products before you agree to ship them internationally. Know what you can and cannot do with the products you sell.
If you sell any products that could be questionable, it is probably a good idea to start with just one or two smaller markets first. See how well the products sell before you expand. You may determine that the amount of work needed to maintain compliance isn’t worth it.
2. Learn About the Paperwork
Every order you ship outside of the U.S. must be accompanied by customs paperwork. It is not a big deal, but it does have to be completed correctly. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with that paperwork. Once you start shipping, make a point of checking and double-checking every document for accuracy. Spending an extra few minutes to go over paperwork could mean avoiding costly border delays down the road.
3. Keep Customers in the Loop
Not all the problems associated with international shipping are related to customs and taxes. Ecommerce operators sometimes run into trouble because they do not communicate well with their customers. This is a mistake. Always keep your customers in the loop.
If international shipping will incur extra charges, let the customer know ahead of time. Keep the customer informed of shipping date, carrier, and when the shipment is expected to arrive. Keeping your customers in the loop avoids unexpected surprises that could prevent those customers from ever buying from you again.
4. Pack Goods Appropriately
Next up is packaging. You would be surprised how many ecommerce operators get themselves into trouble because of the way they package shipments. First of all, the box or envelope should be large enough to accommodate its contents along with some protective material. Packages that are too small run a higher risk of damage.
As for the protective packing material inside, never use newspaper or any other printed materials. Believe it or not, that sort of thing can lead to a border delay while customs check to make sure the packing material isn’t offensive. You can just avoid the whole issue by using packing peanuts or plain paper materials.
5. Insure Your Packages
Finally, have your packages insured. It is an extra expense, but insurance is worth paying for. You never know what might go wrong between the time a package leaves your location and your customer receives it. Insurance can save you a ton over many years of doing business.
If you are into ecommerce, you’re probably shipping internationally. And if not, you now have a starting point for getting into international ecommerce. Give it a shot and see what you can do.