What to expect when sending goods to Switzerland

22 August, 2018
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While Switzerland is not part of the EU, it is part of the single market and that means that sending goods to Switzerland is much simpler than for other countries in the world.

Switzerland also benefits from having well established digital infrastructure and is highly ranked when it comes to logistics. So, what should you expect when sending goods to Switzerland?

Benefits of doing business in Switzerland

  • The local consumers. One of the biggest benefits of doing business in Switzerland is having access to the local consumers. Swiss consumers are wealthy, with some of the highest purchasing power in the world. They are also very open to buying goods from brands that aren’t based in Switzerland. This is particularly so if those brands are offering something more than local companies when it comes to product choice, pricing and quality.
  • Similar business environments. There are many similarities between doing business in Switzerland and the UK and so there is a good chance that products offered successfully for sale in the UK will also do well in Switzerland. Consumers are similarly well educated and have the same willingness to spend – Switzerland and the UK are the top two countries in the European area when it comes to online spending each year.
  • A strong e-Commerce market. The Swiss economy has maintained positive growth predictions and these are even higher for the online economy. Switzerland is often ranked as the world’s most competitive economy and this is, in part, due to the country’s willingness to embrace new perspectives, trends and technology. E-Commerce revenue in Switzerland is predicted to show an annual growth rate of 7.2% between 2018 and 2022.

Challenges you may face when sending goods to Switzerland

  • The local consumers. While Swiss consumers are wealthy and receptive to overseas brands they also have very high quality standards that could make success in this market a challenge for some products and brands. In particular, Swiss consumers expect to see value and quality well aligned, as well as being offered plenty of choice.
  • Handling returns. Increasingly, returns are an issue across many locations and sectors and this is the same in Switzerland. Although Swiss consumers have no automatic right of return in their own country many do expect this from overseas brands. And returns can be high – some sectors, such as fashion, may generate returns of up to 40%. The challenge with returns is to ensure that you have a system in place to cope with what customers send back and that your returns are reasonably priced.
  • The customs process. It’s crucial to ensure that you have processes in place to handle customs issues, especially if you’re shipping in large volumes to Switzerland. While many other countries use the value of goods being shipped as the sole basis for customs duties, Switzerland uses weight. So, when you’re sending heavier goods to Switzerland you may face the challenge of having to work out different delivery prices for those items if they incur a customs cost.

  • Labeling and marketing. Switzerland is a country of many languages – in fact it has four official languages: French, Italian, German and Romanish. English is also widely spoken but there may be local labeling laws or consumer preferences that make it advisable to also include other languages in your content and communications.

Although there are some challenges to sending goods to Switzerland, with the right logistics support these can be easily overcome.

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