Tips Before Engaging In International Shipping For Small Businesses And Online Stores

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If you want to penetrate new countries, target new audiences, and increase your profits then exploring the international options available and allowing international shipping might be the solution. According to research, at least 70% of online shoppers make overseas purchases online. Moreover, 62 per cent of merchants now enable and international eCommerce. By 2022, cross-border transactions will account for 20% of all global eCommerce. 

Additionally, a foreign sale has a 17 per cent higher AOV than a domestic sale.The concern is that this mechanism brings with it a slew of new rules and legislation to follow (including Brexit), not to mention the future issues of scaling your order management systems internationally. So, what is the procedure for overseas shipping? What is the price? And what is the safest way for small companies to handle overseas shipping?

As eCommerce becomes more global, it is becoming increasingly important to include international shipping for small businesses as part of your overall eCommerce fulfilment strategy. However, what works for one company can not work for another. In this post, we detail our ten foreign shipping tips, including how to keep your costs down, have a seamless service for your global clients, and keep your order fulfillment under check.

Tips Before Engaging In International Shipping For Small Business Owners

Check Your Order Volume

The number of orders you ship per month will be a major factor in determining the best small business shipping options for you. If you’re new to online selling, your delivery approach would be somewhat different from that of a big-box retailer like Target or Best Buy. When you have a low order amount, it is easier (and more cost-effective) to go the DIY route for your shipping operations, from purchasing and printing labels at home to dropping packages off at the post office every time you receive new orders. However, several fulfilment firms, such as ShipBob’s Growth Plan, provide startup fulfilment services and international shipping for small business.

If your order volume continues to increase, you can outgrow your shipping strategy. Small business delivery solutions, such as packaging and shipping discounts from carriers and third-party fulfilment options, are available to help you scale your eCommerce fulfilment (more on that later).

How Much Does The Box Weigh?

Heavier products cost more to ship unless you use flat-rate delivery. If you print labels and ship from home, consider purchasing a postage scale to help you estimate costs more accurately and buy the correct shipping labels.  Another aspect that influences which small business shipping options are best for you is distance. 

Frequent questions in box weight involves: Are you shipping overseas or staying local? What is your geographical location concerning the bulk of your customers? How soon do your customers expect their orders to arrive? What is the shipping address?

All of these inquiries are critical components of your small business shipping plan. Customers expect fast and low-cost delivery, and your position has a huge impact on how well you will fulfil those standards.

One way to reduce shipping costs while increasing delivery speeds is to reduce the number of shipping zones through which your average package passes. This will lower shipping costs and delivery times, making consumers happier.

For example, if you are currently shipping orders from a more rural region, or if you are regularly shipping orders to the other side of the country, you are most likely incurring excessively high shipping costs. Instead, think about outsourcing shipments to a distribution centre in a more metropolitan or central area. 

Look For An Online Shipping Solution That Includes E-trade Documentation And Paperless Invoices

Electronic trade documentation saves time. Many countries require five printed copies of each invoice to be attached to the shipping container box. You no longer need to print several copies of customs documents if you upload them electronically. In case the label is lost in transit, always include a single printed copy of the invoice inside the box.

Which Packaging Options Should You Use?

When it comes to packaging, you have three options: secure your goods, showcase your brand, and save money. To begin, consider how much security your goods need. If you’re selling t-shirts, you can just throw them in a poly mailer bag and get them on their way, but if you’re sending glass ornaments, that’s not a good idea. Use bubble wrap, air-fill, crinkle paper, bubble mailers, and other types of dunnage to cover delicate objects when in transit. All three of these can be inexpensive and lightweight alternatives.

If you have the funds, you can also use custom packaging to promote your brand. Shipping and fulfilment software solutions must offer customisable boxes and poly mailers that enable you to add your logo, colours, and imagery for a branded shipping experience. Although this is a more costly choice than simple packaging, it will help keep your brand at the forefront of your consumers’ minds and leave a lasting impression.

If you’re shipping directly via USPS, UPS, or FedEx, you can save money by using their flat-rate boxes. These are an excellent option for saving money on shipping for smaller, heavier goods.

However, if your goods are light, flat-rate shipping can end up being more expensive than using your packaging. If this is the case, consider buying boxes from a supplier like Uline and delivering orders from the most cost-effective carrier.

What Are The Common Package Dimensions?

When selecting packaging and small business shipping solutions, keep dimensional weight, or DIM weight, in mind. When estimating shipping costs, DIM weight considers the dimensions of your package. Larger boxes would result in higher DIM weights, which will result in higher shipping costs. So, use the smallest box possible while also ensuring orders are shipped safely and leaving enough space for any air-fill, bubble wrap, or crinkle paper that may be needed. Your average product measurements will also be used to calculate shipping costs and create a budget.

Never Underestimate Or Misrepresent The Importance Of Your Products

International shipping is a serious activity. Do not try to manipulate your packages. A country’s customs department can seize or delay your shipment if they believe it is worth more than you say. Follow the rules and factor in tariffs and other import bans into your international eCommerce calculation.

Which Shipping Company Can You Use?

If you fill orders in-house, you must decide which shipping carrier(s) to use and which small business shipping options to have. Every major carrier has its version of a small business shipping solution, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Here’s how three of the major carriers stack up.

USPS Advantages

For small businesses shipping in small quantities, USPS can be a great choice. They have a free Priority Mail Starter Kit for small businesses as well as the ability to set up a PO box for your company.

Furthermore, the USPS has many services that make it simple for small businesses that ship infrequently to fulfil orders in-house, such as Click-N-Ship, which allows you to pay postage and print shipping labels online, as well as a home pickup service.

One of the most significant advantages of USPS is its last-mile distribution capabilities. Last-mile delivery is a logistics concept that refers to the transportation of an item to its final destination to deliver it as efficiently and cheaply as possible. The USPS also provides a certificate of mailing for the majority of their services. Since USPS runs regular local routes, they already deliver to your end-user daily and do not have to go out of their way to do so.

FedEx Advantages

FedEx Small Business is a programme targeted toward rising businesses in need of shipping solutions. This includes a loyalty programme and the Packaging Support Hub, a guide to help you measure the dimensional weight of your products and learn packaging terminology. FedEx also provides scheduled pickups and temperature-controlled delivery.

UPS Advantages

Similarly, the UPS Small Business initiative aims to provide small business owners with tools to help them make the most of their shipping solutions. UPS Connect, in addition to the ability to schedule pickups and handle customer returns, provides shipping deals, consultations with logistics specialists, and dedicated support staff.

Using Shipping Automation Tools, You Can Build A More Predictable Foreign Purchasing And Fulfilment Experience

Delivery re-attempts address correction fees and return fees are all charges that express couriers can levy. Customers must provide legitimate and correct contact and address information to sellers. By allowing users to automatically import orders from marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon, and others, shipping automation software removes input errors.

From a centralised dashboard, sellers can also buy discounted shipping, print labels accurately and automatically, and easily locate orders and monitor shipments. This is extremely useful for dealing with customs problems right away. Many products even let you build personalised shipping automation rules to help you streamline your fulfilment operations even further.

Use ShipBob In International Shipping For Small Businesses

Calculating international shipping delivery times can be difficult, particularly for those who do not use guaranteed expedited shipping services. In general, the lower the fare, the longer the journey. International shipping for small businesses can be sent the same or next day — just be aware that you will be charged for this service.

ShipBob provides unrivalled order fulfilment services to growing startups and small businesses, including a Growth Plan for retailers shipping 0-400 orders every month. Avoid the weeks and months it takes other distribution centres to onboard new customers. ShipBob will get you up and running in as little as 15 minutes.

Final Thoughts

If your eCommerce business is shipping internationally and it is costing you a lot of money, or you have never been able to access affordable international shipping rates, you may want to consider working with an international fulfilment company like ShipBob, which has fulfilment centres all over the United States as well as facilities in Canada and the European Union and can ship worldwide.