You make a sale to a customer residing in a distant country and begin to make preparations to make an international shipment. The following are the most important factors to consider when shipping internationally and remembering them during the process will ensure your items reach their destination safely.
1. Company reputation
The company you decide to ship with could be the difference between a satisfied customer and a disappointed one who will not give you future business. Therefore, you need to do you research to find the best one.
When deciding on an international shipping company, consult with other business owners to see who they use. Ask if they are happy with their customer service and ability to ship on time. Also consult with online reviews. These are written by past and current customers and you can base your decision on this information. Make sure that you specifically look at their performance regarding international shipping as this can be more onerous than domestic shipping.
The last thing you would want is for a customer to get his/her order and it is damaged. Because the likelihood of orders sustaining damage increases when it is an international shipment, you need to look at insurance.
When shipping internationally, always inquire about insurance to the company you are shipping with. Confirm that they can provide insurance for the full cost of the item. That way, at least if the item gets damage you can give the customer the peace of mind that they will be reimbursed with their original payment or a replacement.
There may be little to no issue with the products you send when you are shipping domestically. But does this is also go for the countries where you are shipping to when you send internationally?
When shipping internationally, make sure you complete all customs paperwork. This usually includes a form from your country’s customs agency as well as the receiving country’s. Also confirm that the item you are selling is permitted in the country you are shipping to. Otherwise it will be seized at the border. You can do this by doing research online through websites offered by companies such as UPS and DHL.
4. Transit time
It is easy to get upset, frustrated, and impatient waiting for an item to arrive in the mail that seems to be taking forever to arrive. To avoid upsetting your customers, you need to ensure your transit times are acceptable and realistic.
Before settling on an international shipping company, confirm what their typical transit times are. That way, you can provide these for customers before they make their orders so they know what to expect. Also factor in the fact that international shipments take more time to make their way through customs, increasing the chances of significant delays. Considering a company with a tracking feature will at least allow the customer to see where their items are in transit, even if they are delayed.
As stated, damages can be devastating to a customer. They can also be the same for you as the chances of a customer ordering from you after receiving a broken item decrease. Therefore, you need to take every possible step to ensure your items are safe in transit and the packaging you use has a lot to do with this.
When it comes to packaging, do not skimp on protection. Consider using bubble wrap to enclose the item, newspaper to take up space in the box to prevent shipping, a corrugated box that is strong and resistant to impact, and tape to prevent the box from opening during transit. Also consider labeling the box clearly so it does not raise suspicion at customs.