International shipping has become much more frequent, and with the rise in buying and selling products online- it has also become much easier.
If you choose to sell online, it is likely that at some point you will have to consider shipping internationally to buyers of your products or services.
Unlike the straightforward world of using your local delivery office to send parcels across the UK, shipping international can be an uncertain territory for UK sellers- even couriers can take your deliver door-to-door and you’ll know that it will arrive safely to its destination.
What’s Different About International Shipping
When shipping items abroad, there are a lot more things to think about. For example, considering the price of postage depending on the location. You will also need to learn about what can and can’t be legally sent to various locations. If you send specific items that don’t comply by custom regulations, they will likely be held up at customs, which could lead to some very unhappy customers.
A guide to importing items to and from the UK can be found here.
Shipping internationally doesn’t need to be challenging, though- plan ahead and make sure you’re up to date on the basics to make this beneficial service cost-effective to your business.
Knowing What You Can and Cannot Send Internationally
Sadly it is not possible to ship every product internationally at the same price. For example, if you get orders from countries such as China, Mexico and Brazil, these orders will need to travel for thousands of miles before reaching their destination.
Shipping smaller products will be cheaper to post so a good place to start when shipping abroad is to start small.
Understanding Country Customs
Each country comes with its own laws, and this will include different custom laws around what is and is not accepted through the post. If this is not complied by, the products will get held up at customs.
In the UK, products such as pesticides, matches and foreign lottery tickets cannot be legally shipped.
Other products like fragrances and aerosols cannot be shipped abroad. However, it is possible for them to be sent by using a mail fulfilment service- which when running an online business is crucial to fulfil online orders.
Including the cost of shipping for your business
Shipping costs are a fundamental addition to your business. It can be expensive to ship the products. One mistake that businesses often make is is underestimating how much it will costs to ship the products internationally. Make sure to advertise shipping costs on your listings- for example, ‘Shipping costs will depend on location’- you may be able to include multiple products in one order to keep the costs down.
The Costs of International Shipping
In addition to the location, other factors of shipping costs should be considered.
- The size and weight of the package
- How it is being sent (class, courier, recorded delivery etc)
- How it needs to be packaged (eg- polystyrene for delicate products, vs envelopes for clothing)
When shipping abroad, it’s always best to shop around to consider your best deals. There are other factors to think about, too such as taxes and customs clearance fees. Using mail fulfilment services can help you to avoid the complications by using a service you can trust.