How To Ship Internationally
Well, well, well. Look at you go! You have reached the point where shipping internationally has become an option. That’s a big feat, so first take a minute to congratulate yourself. Not everything gets to share their products across seas. Now that you have given yourself a high-five, let’s start the real adventure. In the below article, we will be going through six key steps that will help you be the best internationally shipper out there. Grab a notepad, and let’s do it!
1. Know where you are shipping to
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s extremely important. Certain areas may not allow shipments to pass through to their country, which makes this a key step to be aware of. For example, you can’t ship wine to Canada, or coffee to Jamaica. Kenya won’t accept used clothing and forget about selling playing cards in Thailand. Once you know the destination of your package, double-check the address to where it is going to. Sending products to the wrong address will cause more than a headache for you and the customer, it will also add to your costs when you need to reship it. This tip all comes down to being patient with yourself and with the customer. Do your due diligence in triple checking to the best of your ability, and treat unique circumstances in a case by case basis.
2. Know your product
It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of selling your products around the world. But before you get too far ahead of yourself, make sure you know your product, its worth, and the possibility of people wanting to buy it. Is it unique enough? Are there people willing to spend a little bit of extra money on it? Is it a product that is needed in places around the world? Get to know your audience a bit better before going all-in.
3. Pick the right sized container for your product
When shipping a long distance, you want your product to be as secure as possible, no matter what it may be. Treat your product like it’s fragile, even if it isn’t. The actual packaging and the materials you use to do the packing aren’t an area where you want to skimp too much, because just like when a shipment gets delivered to the wrong address, you will also have to fork over more money to pay for a damaged good than if you just packed it safely and correctly the first time around. Pick a box that allows you to put your product, and the correct amount of filling to prevent any damage, and try to avoid overpacking or making the package too heavy. Many countries have a set weight limit for each mail class. When your product is secure, don’t forget to include a customs form for your package. For most mail classes, the customs form is your shipping label if you choose to ship through USPS. If you are doing any other carrier, make sure to check with them what the protocol is.
Now’s not the time to go silent. Make sure to continue an open conversation between you and your customer. For example, there may be certain holidays that you celebrate in your country that another country doesn’t. Many times holidays will have an impact on shipment time and delays. Keeping your customer informed of these situations will foster a positive relationship between you and the buyer.
5. People shop differently internationally
Yup, you read that right, people shop differently around the world. There is more than just Amazon for many people out there. If you are seeing yourself selling to a particular country more than another, think about selling on their own popular e-commerce site. See below for examples:
- Rakuten: Asia
- Alibaba: Asia
- Taobao: Asia
- Snapdeal: India
- Flipkart: India
- Amazon India: India
- Mercado Libre: Latin America
Knowing where your customers are, and where they are buying, is key when it comes to making money, and growing your company outside of your own four walls.
6. Think about getting international insurance
Don’t want to deal with the headache that comes with losing a package, or having something damaged on the way? Think about getting insurance for anything you ship over $50. This may mean you have to up the price of your shipping to offset the cost, but many people understand that when they are having something shipped internationally, it is worth it for them, and they will usually understand that it may come at a higher cost.
Packaging up your product and sending it far, far away from home definitely has its challenges, but it has far more positives than negatives. Get to know your product on a deeper level, where you are selling, who is buying, and exactly what and where you need to sell in order to be in the best position to be successful. It will take some time, but just keep thinking of how amazing it is that people all over the world want your product in their lives.