Cross-border online sales may account for a substantial portion of overall e-commerce orders in just the next few years, according to some reports. But for many small online retailers, the task of understanding all dangers, regulations, and the related rules and actually sending a package internationally might be daunting.
This past year, Dynamic Business, an Australian publication, reported that international shipments might account for 20 percent of the nation’s total e-commerce purchases by 2017.
Given these types of approximations, selling globally represents an important opportunity for online retailers. Setting aside international advertising, site localization, or even coping with any number of currencies, the work of placing a correct label on such box, setting a product in a box, and having it sent out can be an unknown for a small business owner.
Select Products Sensibly
Not everything that the retailer sells is an excellent candidate for international trade. For example, a multi-channel farm and ranch retailer based in the Northwest recently received a request. A horse trainer there specializing in western riding and roping wanted to order several big horse feeders. The retailer sends these feeders inside the U.S. for about $140.00 each, but sending the plastic and steel corner feeders to Israel would have been more than $1,500.00. Attempt to concentrate on easy to send things, light, and relatively little.
Comprehension Nation-unique Regulations, Demands
Vietnam makes it illegal to import foreign calendars — yes, calendars — for commercial purposes, based on a UPS informational video. This means that online retailers based in the U.S. may not send amounts of more than 100 calendars to customers in Vietnam. Doing so is a crime.
That is only one example of the dozens, if not hundreds, of nation-specific regulations that can make international transport look complicated. To help, UPS has a helpful tool in its international transportation information section that lets shippers retrieve a listing of regulations. Just input the origin and destination nations, and the information is returned by UPS about what’s demanded.
All the regulation data can be available from other carriers and also the U.S. Department of Commerce. Using an excellent understanding of the rules, international transport will appear a good deal easier.
The Goal Particular States
Given the regulations, it may be advisable to understand, if you will, about international e-commerce by targeting particular states first. For example, it can be far easier for U.S.-based online retailers to ship to Canada or Mexico than to send to Uganda.
Pick on a couple of countries and become good at transport there. Then step by step, expand into other nations.
Be aware of What the Shipping Costs
When a U.S.-based retailer ships a t-shirt from Los Angeles to Topeka, there’s a single shipping rate. But send that same t-shirt across a border along with a whole new group of obligations and taxes apply. Understanding the overall cost of sending an order globally is known as the “landed cost” and it’s very important that retailers understand this cost before sending an order.
They might reject the shipment, as well as the retailer is going to have both lost the price of freight as well as the sale.
Luckily, leading carriers like FedEx, UPS, and USPS offer tools as well as application programming interfaces (APIs) that ensure it is possible to compute the landed cost and integrate shipping tools into a retailer’s e-commerce platform.
Use Fulfillment Services
Finally, it truly is possible to take a frustration out of shipping worldwide, simply hire a fulfillment service like Fulfillment by Amazon, Shipwire, or many others to manage international orders.
Generally, the retailer will probably pay a flat fee per order and the fulfillment service will manage to label, packing, transport, and monitor all those pesky rules and regulations.
Many fulfillment services have world-wide warehouses too so that when a merchant’s sales to, say, the United Kingdom warrant it, the retailer may really inventory goods in the U.K. at a fulfillment service’s facility and enjoy domestic transport rates.