Best business operations

Exporting your goods to international markets is an exciting step for any business. But you'll need to prepare your organisation for the administrative and logistical implications that will affect your operations.
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Things to consider:

  • You're selling to individuals whose habits and needs will vary. You, therefore, need to adjust your communication, delivery methods and pricing to accommodate your new market.
  • You must carefully select the shipping platforms and software that simplify your delivery process and add value to the customer's experience. Your shipping software must integrate seamlessly with your e-commerce site.
  • The rules and regulations in specific destinations will affect your product's salability in that country as well as how you package and pass your products through customs. It may be necessary to make slight adjustments to your production and packaging process so that your product is marketable in the country you are targeting.
  • It's essential to select a third party delivery fulfilment partner that has experience and knowledge of the country you are selling in. If you are at the fledgeling stages of your international shipping journey, you should carefully select a reliable fulfilment provider that will act as an advocate on behalf of your brand.
  • When dealing with international customers, it will most likely be necessary to adapt the content and product information you provide for the country you are selling in. This means that you may be required to outsource the services of translators and customer support staff that can communicate in the language of your customers.

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PACKAGING & FULFILMENT

You may be selling electronics, clothing, customised products or toys. Each of those items will have their own packaging requirements. For your cross-border e-commerce shipping to be a success, you need to ensure the following:

  • Your labels should state whether the contents are fragile and if specific care must be taken during handling. You will also need a full description of the items inside as customs officials may inspect the package.
  • The packaging must be clearly labelled with explicit delivery instructions printed in the relevant language of the location they are headed to.
  • Products must be adequately wrapped and protected against water and temperature fluctuations to prevent any damage in transit.
  • You must establish a best practice packaging protocol and ensure that it is implemented. This helps to maintain brand consistency as well as prevent shipping errors and content damage.
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TRACKING

When sending out goods internationally, trust is a significant part of the equation for both the customer and the seller. Giving your customers visibility over their parcel's journey is reassuring; it also protects your business against any fraudulent claims if delivery is not fulfilled.

The benefits of providing the customer with a tracking option:


  • Simplifying customs and duties: Asendia's Tracked Goods service helps your business and customers to avoid paying duties and taxes for lower value items and speeds up the handling and clearance process.
  • Reduce the risk of international deliveries by being transparent with the whereabouts of the item at all times.
  • The mailbox delivery option ensures your parcel gets to its destination, even if your customer is unable to receive the item at home. You will both simultaneously have confirmation that the parcel has been delivered.

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DELIVERY OPTIONS: METHOD & COST

When you're finally in a position to start cross-border e-commerce, you'll have to review your delivery methods. How your new requirements affect your business's infrastructure? What will the cost be to both you and the customer?

Asendia's range of services includes the following:

  • Standard international shipping – This option makes use of local delivery networks and postal carriers to ensure your parcel is in transit with a reliable service provider. You may be able to receive notifications to track progress at specific key points, but tracking is unlikely.
  • Country-tracked international shipping – This option includes basic tracking to provide customers and businesses with peace of mind in regards to the location of the item at critical times.
  • Tracked international shipping – For more high-value items, your clients may feel more comfortable with the tracked global shipping option. Here they will have the option of receiving a door-to-door delivery service as well as a mailbox delivery. Detailed tracking and real-time information is also available for internationally tracked items.
  • Premium international shipping – This service is a little more expensive, but it's the perfect choice for more exclusive deliveries and priority customers. The premium international shipping service includes a host of features and support from pick up to delivery.

The delivery option you make available to your customers will depend on these essential requirements:

  • Does the customer want a tracked shipping option?
  • Is it necessary to offer personal door-to-door delivery or is mailbox sufficient?
  • Considering the budget of your customers and the nature of your shipment, is it necessary to offer premium and budget variants of your delivery service?
  • Will your ability to provide extensive services make a difference in your sales and marketing.

One of the most significant factors affecting your delivery method choices will naturally be the cost. International shipping, although easier nowadays than in previous years, is still a relatively complicated and expensive process; more so if you are selling products which are subject to customs and inspection.

Factors that will affect the cost of your shipping:

  • The needs of your business: If you forecast high volumes of sales in the near future, it may be a more cost-effective move do outsource your shipping needs to a delivery provider.
  • Customs and taxes: You'll have to work out what the reasonable figure for the cost of shipping to the customer is once you have taken customs and taxes into consideration.
  • Packaging: Efficient and effective packaging is key to reducing unnecessary costs. Outsourcing this task to a fulfilment partner will help you to collaboratively create a solid packaging plan that takes into account your product's specific needs. This will help you to prevent wastage on packaging materials and extra costs associated with delivering damaged goods due to inadequate packaging.
  • Insurance: Making sure your business is covered if your shipment suffers damage or is lost or stolen is reassuring to both the customer and your company. If you are shipping expensive or luxury items, insurance is imperative.
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RETURNS

A poor returns experience could go a long way to damaging your brand's reputation in a new market and your customer relationships.

Being able to return unwanted, faulty or damaged items is a standard expectation from a customer's perspective. 67% of shoppers check the returns page of a website before committing to a purchase. This, of course, can be an additional complication when it comes to figuring out how to serve your international markets, especially if you ship to multiple locations.

A poor returns experience could go a long way to damaging your brand's reputation in a new market and your customer relationships.

Choose a logistics provider that has a well-established returns infrastructure

Experienced logistics providers will be able to offer a local address for your international customers and process returns on your behalf.

Offer transparency from the beginning

State what your returns policy is and how it works.

Make your returns policy better than that of your competitors

If you're in it to win it, make sure that your returns policy is reliable, fair and easy to follow for the customers.

If your parcels are going across the border, be prepared to hit some legal barriers. Exporting means that your business has to tackle customs procedures and regulations of the countries you plan to sell to.

Furthermore, if you are handling all the paperwork internally, you may have to dedicate some team members to the task of researching and staying up to date with the continuous changes to import and export policies that may affect your distribution: for example, the current Brexit debate and recent bill changes in the US in regards to the postal system.

Asendia can help to ensure that your shipments are always compliant with cross-border requirements.

When it comes to international parcel exporting outside the EU, you will have to handle a few different administrative tasks, such as:

  • Customs declarations
  • Customs duties
  • Economic Operator and Identification (EORI) scheme

Find out more about our international parcel services.

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