6 Tips for Shipping Internationally
Thanks to the Internet and e-commerce, it’s easier than ever to ship internationally. Between 2014 and 2021, worldwide e-commerce sales are expected to grow nearly 246% from $1.3 trillion to $4.5 trillion.
But shipping internationally isn’t without complications. Use these six tips to make your international shipping go smoothly.
1. Understand Each Country’s Regulations and Requirements
The first and most important thing is to understand the regulations and requirements for shipping in each country. In Italy, for example, it is illegal to import bells or musical instruments.
Country-specific regulations can make shipping more complicated, but fortunately, UPS offers a helpful tool that allows shippers to retrieve a list of regulations. Just input the origin and destination countries, and UPS will provide you with the associated regulations.
2. Understand Taxes, Duties and Tariffs
Shipping taxes vary from one country to the next, and each requires a different declaration form. Essentially, declaration forms detail the goods included in the package. In some cases, you may be required to pay a custom duty, an import VAT or even an excise duty.
When creating your international shipping strategy, you may want to decide which countries to ship to based on their import taxes and duties. As the sender, you’ll want to make sure that you double check all of the shipping rules and regulations before sending out the product.
3. Work with Local Vendors
Another simple way to ship internationally is to work through local vendors. This is how FloraQueen delivers USA flowers. They work with local florists all over the world to ensure that orders arrive on time and that the flowers are always fresh.
This type of strategy generally works best when shipping perishable items.
4. Focus on a Few Countries
If you’re just getting started with international shipping, it may be better to focus on just a few countries to start. For example, it’s much easier for U.S.-based businesses to ship to Mexico or Canada than Nigeria.
Start out by shipping to just one or two other countries, and then expand from there if you wish.
5. Evaluate Demand
When making the decision to ship internationally, you may not know which countries to start with. Researching regulations and choosing destinations with easy shipping requirements is a good place to start. But you also want to evaluate customer demand.
Do you have customers asking if you ship to certain countries? If so, you may want to focus your efforts on these countries first. This way, you’ll meet customer demands while also gaining some experience with international shipping.
6. Consider Fulfillment Services
If you want to ship internationally but don’t have the time or inclination to learn everything there is to know about global shipping regulations, you can use a fulfillment service to handle your orders.
Services like Shipwire or Fulfillment by Amazon can help manage your international orders to eliminate the guesswork. Typically, the retailer will pay a flat fee for each order, and the fulfillment service will handle the labeling, packing, shipping and monitoring of all rules and regulations.