International shipping is a part of life once your business starts taking off and the ball starts rolling. It’s indicative orders are starting to flood your fulfillment dashboard and your operations are starting to hum. E-commerce is a beautiful thing.
Once you have decided to expand your business beyond your borders and international shipping is a requirement, there are a few things you should know. And with 70% of online buyers shopping internationally, these are worth getting familiar with if you want to compete on the international stage.
International Shipping for Your Business
As a small business owner, you may be surprised at the nuances and all there is to know about shipping, especially internationally. You want to protect your shipment while keeping your customers happy, so getting some background in the subject is a must. Below are a few tips to keep in mind when shipping across borders.
This concept is simple; pack your shipment based on distance and destination. If you’re shipping a pet rock fifty miles away, you may not be overly concerned with protecting it. But if you’re shipping a more delicate item, there are a few factors to consider. And because shipping damage typically occurs when an item within a shipping box is jostled, making for a snug package is beneficial.
In addition to the appropriate size packaging, protecting your shipment with packing material is also important. Individually wrapping your items before placing them in the shipment box will provide that extra layer of protection. You may also want to weigh the fragility of your shipment in conjunction with the distance it has to travel. The further the distance, perhaps the more protection you’ll want.
Read Up on Destination Country Regulations
For international shipping, Export Development Canada provides excellent tools. In addition to a risk rating scale, the EDC provides deep insight on restrictions to countries around the world. Additional resources the EDC offers include an expert knowledge database and optional risk management.
Beyond what the governing bodies will allow you to import, knowing the market in different countries is also fundamental to success. The resources Alliance Experts provide allow you to conduct your due diligence when it comes to market research. This way you can make a sound decision before channeling too much capital and marketing.
International shipping could be a little nerve-wracking. And the cost of the item being shipped positively correlates with the degree of wracked nerves. So when you ship your item off, be sure to get a tracking code. And be sure to provide it to your customer– they like this and it’s an important component to customer satisfaction. This lets both you and your customers keep an eye on the shipment for tracking efficiency, for an expected arrival time frame, and, most importantly, peace of mind. Most shipping providers provide online tracking, free of charge.
Know Your Shipper
Whoever your shipping through, know who you’re partnering. There are a lot of scammers out there and you may be surprised where they’ll rear their heads. So make sure you’re shipping through an accredited and legitimate business. And this applies to all your shipping, not just international shipping operations.
Deploy a Third Party Shipping Aggregator
Similar to how a search engine works, shipment metasearch aggregators find you the most relevant search results. But where search engines visit billions of websites and create an index, metasearch engines (MSEs) crawl these search engines for targeted algorithms.
These algorithms then send queries to several search engines to centrally aggregate the results– the meta-search engines. Effectively, these MSEs crawl larger search engine indices for specified, targeted results. And these results can be centralized for any market, such as travel sites, general search engine query or shipping services.
Your most effective MSE tools aggregate search results from several search engines and apply their algorithms. Companies such as ShipTime aggregate data to find you the best shipping rates available, crawling their available service providers. Working with only the most accredited shipping providers in the industry, they also help you take the hassle out of your shipment operations thanks to its wealth of customer-centric services.
When weighing your shipping strategy options, make sure you’re partnering with the right shipping service. ShipTime lets you enter box dimensions and package weight for an accurate rate quote. Aggregating data to find you the best shipping rates available, the ShipTime search engine finds you the best possible shipping rates. Meanwhile, the ShipTime dashboard speeds your shipping quote with predefined box sizes. It also provides predefined incentive rewards with a “My Pickups” functionality to track scheduled pickups and times.
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