The 4 Most Common Challenges of International Delivery

10 September, 2019

Cross-border shipments are now a significant trade component for many modern businesses. While in some instances, a considerable amount of red tape and restrictions limit suppliers’ abilities to ship to specific countries, many international online retailers are finding effective ways to deliver their products to new markets.

Unfortunately, however, many customers still have nightmare experiences with international purchases. There is nothing more frustrating and disappointing for a foreign buyer than to order a desired item, pay the shipping fee and be left to wonder where their item is. It can also be hugely detrimental to your business’s reputation.

At Asendia, we believe that successful delivery is a collaborative effort between the customer, the supplier, and the courier to ensure that all concerned parties exchange the necessary information in order to get the goods safely and on schedule to the purchaser.

So, let’s take a look at the everyday challenges of international delivery and how your business can prevent costly setbacks.

Lack of end-to-end supply chain visibility

Consumer demand is rapidly increasing, causing companies to expand their network of suppliers on a global scale. This can make keeping track of large volumes of diversified merchandise logistically challenging. Managing incoming freight and outgoing deliveries becomes more and more complex as your SKUs increase, your floor space decreases, and your staff starts to operate at maximum capacity.

According to research, end-to-end supply chain visibility is evading around 94% of business. This can create huge problems when your customers require updates on dispatch dates. By employing an intermediary logistics company, you are removing some of the pressure when it comes to storing and shipping your inventory. The company you choose to work with should have a designated distribution centre, reducing the amount of risk you take on as a business, helping you to organise your stock more efficiently.

Customs Issues

Each country will set its own import controls and regulations for what comes through its borders. This is often a huge stumbling block for many businesses looking to sell internationally. Your items can be delayed for several reasons; from ad hoc examinations to discrepancies in the information populated on your waybill.

To avoid such issues, you need to have a thorough knowledge of customs regulations within the country you are looking to ship to, and you need to have clear and accurate data on your website to ensure that customers are aware of any extra costs or limitations to what they can receive from you.

To ensure that your cargo doesn’t get delayed by inspections, you need to also provide ly infilled paperwork and a thorough description of the contents of your shipment package. Partnering with an experienced third party order fulfilment specialist could spare you a lot of time and effort in this realm as it removes the necessity for you or your staff to deal with customs issues or spend time continuously updating your knowledge with current customs law. An established distributor will happily do the leg work and ensure that your items don’t hit any barriers in the delivery process.

Postage costs

Depending on how many different destinations you ship to and the diversity of your product range ( dimensions and packaging requirements ), you may be faced with a huge challenge when trying to supply your customers with shipment costs for delivery to their specific location. If you use a uniform price, you may put customers off by making it too high; alternatively, you could lose profit by trying to bridge the shipment cost gap.

At Asendia, we work closely with our clients to thoroughly understand the nature of their product and assist in formulating a comprehensive shipment costing plan that will enable you to get your goods delivered on time and within budget, worldwide.

Where businesses and customers often end up suffering is by accruing avoidable expenses. If a client has requested an express delivery and is unable to receive it ( either through scheduling mismanagement or wrong delivery address input), the redelivery charge can often be very displeasing for the purchaser. It is therefore crucial that attention is paid to detail on both ends to avoid costly mistakes due to human error.


Modern consumers, regardless of location, have come to expect the option of returning items as a standard condition of making a purchase. While this may not be a challenging prerequisite to accommodate on a national level where you know the terrain, it can be logistically arduous to try and appease cross-border purchasers.

Customers expect to have an easy method of returning or exchanging unsuitable items and receiving prompt resolutions or refunds. If working with a distribution centre, you can put a system in place that allows individuals to either post or have their returns collected by a courier or promptly replaced from the warehouse. Without such a service, it may work out that it’s more cost-effective for you to write the item off as a loss instead of shipping it back to its country of origin.

To avoid returns for avertable reasons, it's essential that descriptions, photos and sizing dimensions are clear and accurate on your website. Furthermore, packaging plays a significant role in ensuring that your goods reach the customer in perfect condition.

How can Asendia help?

As a growing business that is looking to expand internationally, you may be on the lookout for a company to handle every aspect of your parcel delivery. Asendia’s experienced team works with some of the world’s leading online retailers as their international delivery partner.

You’ll benefit from our global network, wide range of available shipment solutions, and competitive prices. If you’d like to learn more about our services and where we can support you in overcoming the challenges of international delivery, give us a call today.

Find out more about how Asendia can help you to overcome your international shipping challenges. Get in touch with our team today.