International shipping doesn’t have to be complex. We’re here to help! Read about the key topics that are essential to know before you start shipping worldwide.
1. Market research
Do your research! Some products that are shipped may not be allowed in certain countries. USPS offers a great resource that lists restricted items by country.
2. Duties and taxes
It is the shipper’s responsibility to be transparent with your customers that customs, duties and taxes may apply to international shipments. Tax laws vary between countries and shipments crossing international borders are subject to these laws.
3. Multiple carriers
International shipping involves multiple carriers along the shipment’s journey. The last-mile delivery is usually handled by the destination country’s local postal authority. Don’t forget that not all international services provide full tracking with delivery confirmation. Be sure to research the international service you choose to ship with so that you can prepare your customers.
We recommend protecting your shipments with insurance especially when shipping internationally as there’s a greater risk of products being damaged or lost. By providing insurance, you can minimize concerns from international buyers and also gain peace of mind.
5. Delivery times
Estimated delivery times can be longer when shipping internationally with unexpected delays due to customs. Most carriers do not offer guaranteed delivery times so be transparent with your customers and provide a range rather than a specific date. In certain countries an international order may not be delivered directly to the customer’s address and packages are instead sent to a local customs office or postal location for pick up.
Shipping a product internationally might require different packaging as the product will be in transit for longer. This is especially important if the product is fragile or of high value. Ensuring products arrive undamaged by choosing suitable packaging will lessen returns and service queries.
By opening up your marketplace you can start expanding your business today. Find more international shipping tips in our previous blog post.