For many businesses, the prospect of shipping internationally is a daunting one. With changes in regulations and laws around the world – not to mention different languages and customs – it can be difficult to know where to start. For some companies, international shipping has been an afterthought, but it’s a necessary step towards expanding their customer base and achieving global growth for others. To help you make your decision on whether or not international shipping is right for you, we’ve put together this brief guide detailing what steps you should take before even considering setting up shop abroad.
1 Think about taxes and customs
The first thing you need to do is consider tax and customs. Depending on where your customers are located, they may be liable for a variety of import taxes. Know how this process works before taking orders internationally or consider hiring an efficient customs broker! You should also know what payment methods you’re willing to accept as different countries use different types of cards more frequently than others. Suppose your return policy includes any fees associated with returning items, such as restocking costs or postage. In that case, these must either be disclosed in advance, or the customer must be notified before they complete their order.
In addition to taxes and fees, you’ll also need to consider the custom clearance procedures of each country that your customers are located in. Some countries have strict customs laws, which can delay or even prohibit delivery entirely if a product has not been cleared through customs first. Therefore, it would be best if you did thorough research into how this process works for every single country on your list – failure to comply with these laws could result in hefty fines as well as significant damage to your business’ reputation.
2. Ensure your lead time is as quick as possible
Another thing you’ll need to consider before shipping internationally is your lead time. Depending on the destination country, items can take up to a month to arrive at their final destination. Of course, this will be even longer if customs clearance procedures are involved – which they almost always are in some shape or form! This means that if there’s an issue with your production process and an item needs replacing, then this delay could result in missing out on sales entirely.
It would help if you aimed to get as much information about product availability from suppliers as possible so that you’re not caught off-guard when a problem arises during manufacturing. If stock isn’t readily available nearby but must be imported from elsewhere, ensure that import taxes don’t cause delays either by asking your supplier about these fees and whether you or the customer will pay them.
3. Find a reputable international shipping company
Ensuring your items are picked up in a quick and efficient manner is only one part of the equation when it comes to international shipping. You’ll also need to find an experienced, professional transportation company that will be able to take care of all logistical aspects of getting your products from point A to B without causing any damage or delay along the way.
When choosing which provider you want on board with your business, consider everything from how quickly they can pick up shipments abroad to what their return process looks like if something goes wrong during transit. When possible, utilize recommendations for international providers rather than just going through Google searches – most people have had at least some experience with overseas delivery services, so word-of-mouth opinions are likely more accurate than online reviews.
4. Weigh the pros and cons of selling abroad
International shipping isn’t ideal for everyone, and deciding whether or not it’s right for your business can be a difficult decision to make. Make sure you weigh the pros and cons of selling internationally before committing to anything, including the ability to attract new customers. If you’re targeting an international audience with your products, this is certainly one way exporting may benefit your company!
However, there are always going to be risks involved when dealing directly with foreign markets, so think about whether these benefits outweigh any potential losses that could come from sending shipments out across borders. It would be best if you also considered how much more effort would go into marketing efforts outside of your home country, as well as managing different currencies depending on where they’re being sent.
In conclusion, there are a lot of things to think about when considering shipping internationally and whether or not it’s right for your business. If you’re still unsure, consider consulting with an international freight forwarder who can help advise you on the best options available to send items abroad securely and efficiently.