International shipping can be a bit of a minefield and there are a number of things to look out for if you’re going down the route towards it. Fortunately, this guide covers plenty of the things you should look out for.
1 – Choose Your Products Wisely!
Not every product a retailer has available is worthy of international sales or trades. For example, just look at the multi channel farm & ranch retailer from the Northwest that received an inquiry all the way from Israel. They had a horse trainer that specializes in western riding and roping, and they were interested in a number of large of horse feeders. Within the country, that retailer could sell the feeders for around $140 a piece, but having them shipped all the way to Israel would have incurred a total of over $1,500. Sometimes the fees just aren’t in your favor. You need to focus on smaller, lightweight, and easily shipped items.
2 – Understand Regulations and Requirements For Different Countries
There are a lot of country specific regulations that might make certain international shipments pretty complicated. For instance, Vietnam makes it illegal to bring any foreign calendars into the country. To send any quantity over 100 from the US to Vietnam would be illegal. Weird examples like this can be found all over the place.
UPS has a tool that can help you find regulations for a country you might be shipping to. You can see what sort of items might be banned, as well as if there are any additional customs fees you’re going to have to worry about. As long as you have the origin and destination, you can get a handy list of all of the pertinent details. It’s crucial to keep this readily accessible at all times. For an alternative source, check out the US Department of Commerce.
3 – Focus On Specific Countries
Given how complicated it can get trying to navigate through the different rules required of shipping all over the world, it might be a good idea to only focus on certain countries at first. You can figure out whichever ones are the least headache inducing, yet still full of enough potential customers, and focus on those while you’re still in the earlier stages of your overall international shipping experience. If you only ship to Canada and Mexico, you’ll likely have an easier time than you would shipping to random countries from other continents. Once you have the hang of everything, then you can slowly expand, one by one.
4 – Know The Shipping Fees
Fees are a big part of any shipping job, and that’s especially true of international orders. Different situations, weights, distances, and all kinds of other factors come into play, creating a lot of variety with what the final total will be. You can ship a shirt within the country for a small flat fee, but once it crosses the border you’re looking at an entirely new set of taxes and other duties to worry about. The customer will have to handle these fees, so you need to make sure you have all of the information up front so they won’t get any frustrating surprises along the way. Using a good quality delivery company such as Whistl will make things a lot easier.
It’s going to be best for you if you have the dimensions of the box, as well as the final weight of the item once it’s been packaged. With this, you can paint a better picture of the total cost for your customers.
Note: This is a guest post.