8 Tips for Successful International Deliveries

19 August, 2019

Worldwide e-commerce sales made between 2014 and 2021 were predicted to increase by 246%. In 2015, UK online retail sales were already at £52.25 billion, indicating that there is an abundance of opportunity for SMEs who’d like to leverage a strong position in the international market.

The secret to building a successful online business lies in fantastic customer service. If you are able to delight your overseas customers with timely, affordable deliveries that meet their expectations, you are on your way to building a loyal foreign fanbase. But, many businesses fall short when it comes to making successful international deliveries.

Top challenges for international deliveries:

  • Cost of shipping.
  • Customs restrictions and regulations.
  • Returns processing.
  • Poor communication with foreign parcel companies.
  • Damage to goods in transit.

If you’re considering ways to effectively launch your business on an international platform, you will want to combat these challenges and position your company for scalable growth rather than continuous fire-fighting due to failed international deliveries. So, let’s look at these handy tips that will increase your chances for success.

1. Details, details, details

When shoppers are looking to make an online purchase, particularly one from an overseas seller, they are going to be reluctant to spend money on something they cannot touch or see. Your website should offer detailed product descriptions, dimensions, exact contents to be expected in the delivery box, clear pictures that demonstrate scale, postage costs, expected shipment time and anything else that will help the customer feel reassured that this is the right product for them. Getting this part wrong could cause several problems:

  1. The customer will want to return the item if it’s not what they expected.
  2. The cost of shipment will impact your profit margins.
  3. The customer will be displeased and therefore, more likely to leave a negative review.
  4. It may not be financially viable to collect the product from the customer or your distribution centre, and you will end up discarding items at a loss.

You can’t lose out by being transparent with what you are selling, it will help to improve customers’ perception of your brand and add reassurance that you are a reliable vendor.

2. Use a reputable parcel carrier

When shipping to new countries, if you are not using the services of a trusted third-party delivery company, you will need to do your research into the available parcel companies in the country you are looking to sell in. You will have to conduct thorough research and read customer reviews to ensure that these companies will act accordingly on your behalf and uphold the promised delivery times you have communicated to your customers. In addition, selecting a poorly rated courier may put your customers off all-together, so be sure to select carefully.

3. Use shipping automation software

Shipping automation software allows customers to enter their details into the e-commerce platform that you sell your goods on. This information is then imported directly to your shipping centre, reducing the chances of dispatch error.

4. Know your duty

Selling items overseas, only to have the customer left to pick up a duty bill could be perceived as poor business practice. It is important to know what the duties, taxes and fees are on the items you send to any given country so that you can post them as DDP (Delivery Duty Paid). This will reassure your customers and provide a better overall experience. You will, of course, have to factor this cost into your sale price.

Alternatively if gearing up for a Delivery Duty Paid solution is not feasible, at least provide clear information on your website to show that duties and taxes may be incurred at the customers expense.

5. State the exact value

Some countries may impose tariffs on certain items. As a seller, it may be tempting to under-declare the value of the goods you are shipping to avoid extra charges, but this is a sure-fire way to get your delivery delayed or confiscated. Be transparent about how much your products are worth.

6. Pack for the journey

If you are making cross-border deliveries, it is likely that your package will be in transit for much longer than a standard shipment. It will also be handled by more people, endure different modes of transport and fluctuating temperatures. Depending on the nature of the item you are shipping, and its fragility, it’s essential that you use adequate packaging to ensure that the item gets to the customer as expected. This can sometimes add to the cost of the shipment, so ensure that this is included in your billing.

7. Have a reliable returns process

Customers want the option to return unwanted items without too much hassle. A relatively simple process on home ground where you may have your own warehouse and returns procedure, but a fairly expensive and complex one if you’re dealing with a cross-border client. The key to this element of your service is speed and efficiency. You want to be able to collect the return, process the request and offer a credit, refund, or exchange option to the purchaser.

Asendia offers a combination of flexible solutions that allow customers to make convenient international and domestic returns. You could supply your customer with the option of a Prepaid or Partly-paid return and even allow them to track their returned parcel for added reassurance.

8. Supply lead times

While there isn’t always a strict time frame for international deliveries due to the multitude of factors that could affect a package that may have to cross a tricky border, you should have an estimated lead time for the customer as this could really affect their purchasing decision. By using an experienced third-party delivery partner with a vast global network, you will be able to supply your buyers with this information more accurately.

In this post, we’ve covered some fundamental tips that you can start applying to your international shipment process. Your business may, however, sell a more complex product that requires a unique delivery solution. At Asendia, we are able to tailor our services and ensure that your international deliveries reach your clients on schedule and as expected.

To find out more about how Asendia can help you to successfully deliver your products internationally, get in touch with the team today.