If you run an eCommerce business, you’ll want to eventually expand to international customers.
This is one of the fastest ways to increase your sales and profit. But there’s something that makes many eCommerce entrepreneurs postpone their expansion. International shipping can be a major challenge.
Even if your customers are on the other side of the world, they’ll want their order as fast as possible. So what do you do?
Here’s how to find the best shipping carrier for your international customers:
Start With Nearby Locations
Since global shipping is a major challenge, you may want to start with nearby locations.
For example, let’s suppose your company is headquartered in South Florida. You may want to start first by reaching out to customers in Central America and the Caribbean. Likewise, if you sell products from Toronto you can send them to the northern states in the USA.
This lets you test out the waters of international shipping. You’ll learn how long it takes to ship abroad. It essentially gives you practice for when you expand your eCommerce store worldwide.
Analyzing International Markets for Your Online Business
The next step is to research what international markets are best suited for your online retail store.
While it might be tempting to sell to the whole world, you have to focus on where you’ll find the most international customers. You have to first consider what your niche is.
For example, let’s suppose you sell CBD products. These products aren’t legal in every international jurisdiction. You’ll need to research in advance which international markets allow your products.
Next, you’ll have to look at the market trends. Even if a product is permitted, it doesn’t mean that it’ll be popular. You might be able to sell tea to Serbia but it might be more profitable to sell coffee.
Take your time researching potential international markets. As an extra note, you can also reach out to international markets where you speak the language.
You might have to hire customer service agents who speak the language of your international customers. Keep this in mind when you decide where to expand.
Rules and Regulations
Before you pack your goods, did you check the rules and regulations for international shipping?
These rules and regulations might include what products you can and can’t send. Or it can include products you can send but have to pay customs tax on.
You can check with your courier service on what the rules and regulations are for a given jurisdiction. You can also contact the country’s customs office to get updated information at all times.
Now let’s look at how you can offer international shipping options to your customers.
The Price of International Shipping
When you charge your international customers you’ll have to give them the fees upfront.
Depending on the destination, you might have to spend a lot of money on a courier service. This high cost can often deter customers from buying from your online store.
On your website, you should have a section where you outline your shipping costs. If you can’t always give exact costs make sure you give estimated costs.
If the price of shipping only gets announced upon checkout, you can expect some customers to not proceed with their order. They’ll need to be able to calculate their exact total beforehand.
The next process is to consider the logistics for international shipping. This process includes tasks from packaging and labeling to tracking and delivery.
Are your products packaged appropriately? This is based on your goods as well as your shipping procedure. For example, if you send products via truck you might need to take extra care to protect fragile items.
Additionally, you may need to ensure that larger items are properly secured for air and sea freight. Make sure you research what your competitors do in this scenario.
If there’s even a single issue with an international customer, you can expect to never receive orders from them again.
Tracking and delivery are also important aspects of international shipping. International customers will especially want to track their shipments and receive regular updates on delivery times.
As a result, you must choose a shipping carrier that offers tracking and delivery confirmation services. You must ensure that your shipping carrier has a solid reputation for fast shipping, on-time delivery, and customer service.
What Else to Look for In a Shipping Carrier
Now let’s wrap up and look at a few more factors to consider when looking for a great shipping carrier.
First, you want to assess their customer service. Give the company a call or send them a few emails. You want to ask them about how their carrier services work.
Make sure you ask them specific questions regarding international shipping. You want to test how well the customer service agent knows the details offhand.
Assess how they communicate with you as well. Are they in a hurry to move on or are they pleased to assist you?
Next, look at what services they offer for shipping. For example, do they offer immediate, rush, or overnight shipping? You want to choose a shipping carrier that can work during regular times and peak season times.
They should also offer competitive rates. You’ll have to charge your customers this same amount or higher to compensate. While customers are willing to pay for shipping, they won’t shop at your store if prices are too high.
You can also ask the shipping carrier to share case studies of how they’ve helped other eCommerce stores.
Hire Your Shipping Carrier
Now you can hire a shipping carrier for selling your products to international customers.
You want to start by looking at nearby locations. Get your feet wet and become comfortable with shipping overseas before expanding.
You’ll have to study different international markets to see which ones work for your online business. You’ll also have to know the rules and regulations of each jurisdiction.
Follow our best practices to find the best shipping carrier. Of course, we can always help you get started. Contact us today and let’s work together!