Crossing the Pond: Everything You Need to Know about Shipping Internationally

By bogotapost April 23, 2019

Thinking about shipping some items internationally? Make sure it’s done right! Read on for everything you need to know about shipping internationally.

The U.S. eCommerce market amounts to $513.6 billion, but this is nothing compared to the total eCommerce sales worldwide, which are worth $2.84 trillion.

If you want to take your eCommerce store to the next level, consider catering to this broader market. 

But before you do this, you need to understand the basics of international shipping. Get things wrong, and customers may be frustrated by your exorbitant shipping prices or extremely long wait times. 

Read on to learn more about shipping internationally and some of the pitfalls you want to look out for. If you wish to ship across the seas, these tips will help you get the job done. 

Let’s begin! 

Are There Any Special Rules You Need to Consider? 

Some countries have specific rules when it comes to certain items. If you don’t take them into account, your item could get held up in customs.

You may also end up in a situation where the person receiving the item has to pay extra because you didn’t take certain fees into account. An example of this might include a tariff charge or a special kind of tax

If you’re selling internationally, you need to figure out all these fees ahead of time. That’s because unexpected charges can eat into your profit margins.

If, after doing the math, you find it costs too much to ship your items internationally, you may need to raise your prices. You may even want to prevent certain countries from buying from you.

The good thing is that most countries will provide you with detailed information about their shipping laws.

It’s also worth noting you may need to attach certain forms to your item before sending it out. Thankfully, you can use the website mentioned above to find out about the forms you need to include and how you should fill out these forms.

If you have any doubts, it can be a good idea to reach out to the relevant authorities via email or phone. This might create a slight delay in terms of how long it takes you to ship your item. But this additional delay is nothing compared to what you’d experience if the item gets stuck in customs.

Pack Your Items Properly

As you may have guessed, shipping something internationally can be a rough experience for the item involved. Because of this, you want to make sure you pack your items properly.

At the very least, you want to make sure you are using a sturdy box. Avoid reusing an old box that you might have lying around the house as it may have some wear and tear that’ll cause it to fall apart. 

You might want to buy some form of polystyrene to stop the item from ‘knocking around’ inside the box. There’s also the option of buying packets filled with air, which can provide a great deal of protection during even the bumpiest of journeys.

Which Shipping Option Should You Use? 

There are many shipping options to choose from, and each one varies in price. In general, the faster you ship something, the more you’ll have to pay.

If you’re looking to use the cheapest form of international shipping, it’s vital you tell the recipient what comes with this delivery method. 

Customers might be surprised that you offer low-cost international shipping. Yet, they might not realize this is non-priority shipping. They may then complain when it takes over 21 days for them to receive their item.

Of course, you can always offer them the option of choosing an ‘expedited’ form of delivery. But if you do this, make sure you display the price of taking this step because fast, international delivery can be quite expensive.

You will also notice shipping companies offer certain kinds of shipping for specific types of items. For example, you’ll find there are shipping solutions for ‘fragile’ goods as well as items that need to be kept refrigerated.

There are even shipping solutions for certain classes of items, such as art. So, if you want to maximize the odds of an item arriving safely, choose a shipping option that’s best suited to the product you want to ship.

Selecting a Shipping Company

Choosing a shipping company is one of the hardest parts of this process. 

At the most basic level, you want to pick a shipping company that’s reliable and affordable.

You can use online review sites to determine the reliability of a shipping company.

Sites like TrustPilot allow you to read the reviews of a company and whether they stick to their promises. You can also research the name of the company online, alongside the keyword ‘reviews’ to learn about the experiences of past customers.

If you know the dimensions of the item you want to ship, you can use a tool like the one provided by Unishippers to get a shipping quote. You can then compare quotes across a wide range of companies to figure out which one is the most affordable.

Do You Understand the Basics of Shipping Internationally? 

The tips in this post should help you conquer some of the challenges people face when it comes to shipping internationally. 

To begin with, you may need to do some experimentation. You might need to use a range of different shipping options as well as several shipping companies. This is the only way you’ll find the right method to deliver your items around the world. 

Thus, it may take some time before you find a shipping solution that meets your needs. As long as you remember that you’ll eventually find a solution that works, going through this initial trial and error should be easier to deal with. 

Are you reading this post because you want to start an eCommerce store? Check out this guide to learn about dropshipping and how this concept can be a good alternative to running a traditional eCommerce store.

This is a sponsored post.