As online shopping trends continue to evolve, so does buyer behavior. And if there’s one thing shoppers want, it’s for their online orders to be shipped and delivered to their door as soon as possible.
Every day, large online retailers such as Amazon produce millions of dollars in sales. In fact, Amazon reports $4,772 in sales every second (equivalent to more than $400 million each day). With so many customers flocking online to get their retail fix, businesses have quickly come to realize that there are untapped international markets that could significantly boost their revenue. These businesses are now responding to international demand by shipping their products worldwide, but are they truly meeting delivery expectations?
If you’re offering international shipping to your global customers, you want to ensure that you can deliver quickly and efficiently. Shipping delays and expensive rates can deter shoppers from coming back, and that can cost you a very promising stream of revenue.
Here are some common international shipping blunders you should avoid to minimize costly delays and charges–and maximize client happiness.
- Ignoring destination country shipping regulations
Each destination has its own set of customs regulations and depending on the type of product being shipped, some countries are more stringent than others. Pay attention to each individual destination’s customs requirements and make sure you follow them. Even minor violations of shipping restrictions can result in seizures, delays, hefty penalties, and legal problems, and that’s bad news for both you and your customers.
- Packaging and labeling your goods incorrectly
Items that are poorly wrapped are prone to damage, and this is especially a concern with international shipping. That’s because international freight involves constantly moving commodities, so your products may fall or clash with other objects. To avoid potential damage (and customer disappointment), make sure your packing material is as shock-absorbent as possible–especially when transporting fragile items.
Correct labeling is also critical. Improper labeling can result in a variety of issues, including delivery delays and extra charges, so make sure you accurately label your packages and ensure that delivery addresses are accurate and valid.
- Failing to understand the fundamentals of international shipping
It’s common knowledge that International shipping is more complex than domestic shipping. From freight rates to shipping costs, supply chain management and customs regulations, there are various elements and moving parts that businesses need to be aware of.
Although customs brokers handle many of the more sophisticated operations, business owners should have a basic awareness of the international shipping process. Working with an experienced 3PL like eShipper makes all the difference and can aid in decision-making, understanding insurance policies, and lowering your eCommerce shipping expenses.
- Not automating your shipping operations
Why spend your day creating shipping labels one by one when you can automate the entire process? Time is money, so make sure your shipping software has all the automation features you need to fulfill orders faster and more efficiently. The eShipper platform allows you to eliminate time-consuming manual operations, giving you the time and energy to focus on actually growing your business.
- Using the wrong 3PL in the destination country
Managing logistics across multiple countries can be challenging, so intermediaries are often used to handle last-mile delivery. But these businesses might not have the same standards as you, resulting in unsatisfactory final mile service that disappoints your customers and reflects badly on your brand.
Investigate logistics and transportation services in the international destinations you ship to, and verify that your products will be delivered to your customer’s doorstep by a reliable service provider.
- Import and export timing errors
Import and export timing errors can severely affect your supply chain and negatively influence customer satisfaction. Make sure you carefully evaluate transit times and cut-off deadlines for incoming and outgoing shipments and have a contingency plan in place for unanticipated delays. It’s a good idea to have a buffer when setting shoppers’ expectations, so you can avoid over-promising and under-delivering to your customers.
- Offering fixed international shipping prices
Businesses often make the mistake of only offering fixed international shipping rates. But the reality is that freight prices are always changing, and you’ll sometimes discover that you didn’t earn any profit, or that you even lost money due to fixed shipping rates.
While every customer is different, most shoppers are likely to purchase items with free delivery or with international shipping rates of around $10, and most consumers prefer that their products arrive within 5 to 7 days. Consider using a shipping aggregator that provides your clients with the best rates based on their destination and preferred delivery speed. This ensures that you earn a profit while avoiding costly shipping rates for specific items.
Keep international shipping mistakes to a minimum
Every business makes mistakes, and while some of them are unavoidable, most can be easily prevented. Your best bet is to concentrate on the processes over which you do have control and avoid common errors there.
- Exclusive international shipping rates
- Flexible solutions
- Fully tracked, faster shipping
- Easy pick-ups and drop-offs
- Quick, stress-free customs clearance
Are you ready to tap into the power of global eCommerce and let it work for you instead of against you?
Contact us to get started today.