[MUSIC PLAYING] LAURA BEHRENS: Welcome to the final video of the Leverage Shipping for Success course. In this video, you will learn the best way to start selling outside of the domestic markets. I'll give you insights into the trade-offs different carrier options and pitfalls to watch out for. Shipping internationally can seem like a daunting task. Everything you've learned about shipping domestically goes out the window.
You have to add new processes to make sure that your packages are delivered in a timely and cost effective manner. There are many benefits to selling globally. Besides access to many more customers, you also get access to big selling holidays like boxing day in the UK and singles day in China. In many countries customers may even want to pay more for authentic US products. At Shippo our customers ship to over 190 countries and we help thousands of businesses sell globally.
Based on our experience, here are some important areas you should consider before setting up your international shipping operation. Let's start with a few research areas you should prepare first before factoring in shipping. Legal restrictions, make sure your products aren't going to run into any trouble at the border. That means making sure that there are no restricted elements within your products and that they are legal to sell or import into a foreign country.
Additionally you need to make sure that your product is OK to ship without any additional shipping constraints. As an example most carriers consider batteries to be a hazmat product which must be shipped using a special type of service level. Customer service and return policies, Another step to prepare for selling internationally is to make sure that you have the ability to provide customer service in the native language of the countries that you are servicing.
Don't always assume that your customers can speak English. You should also update your returns policy for international customers. Dealing with international returns is a potential nightmare for both you and your customer. The key is to make sure that you have a clear policy in place for international shoppers. Consider only allowing returns on high value items that makes sense to ship back or be clear that international shoppers have to return items at their own cost.
Unfortunately you probably can't afford to have the same customer friendly policy for international shoppers as you do for domestic customers. Now, let's talk about the logistics of shipping and fulfilling international orders. Carrier selection. First you need to decide which carriers you want to use for international orders. The trade-offs you're looking at are the shipping time, the cost, and also the tracking number updates.
If you use a private shipping carrier like FedEx, DHL, or UPS your packages will be routed to one of their distribution centers with customs officers on site. A private carrier will have a team of dedicated customs officers processing your shipments. This will speed up the review process and your package will be examined in a more timely manner. Because the carrier is handling your package throughout the entire journey from door to door.
The tracking information will always be accurate and updated in a timely fashion. If you use a national carrier like the USPS, the shipment will go through a regular customs check at the border. Depending on the season the processing times can vary. After your shipment crosses the border, the national carrier if the destination country will handle the delivery. Depending on the country oftentimes tracking updates are no longer updated from that point on.
Just like domestic customers, customer costs sensitivity and patience vary. Some may be willing to wait if it's cheaper while others would pay for a faster delivery. Options don't have to only come from one carrier especially with the high cost of cross-border shipping take a look at diversifying your carrier portfolio to check out both international express services such as DHL express and also consolidator services like Asendia.
When to pay for the duties. The most unpredictable part about international shipping is that there are additional customs duties and fees. There are some software tools that can give you a cost estimate but the most important decision is whether you want the customers to pay duties and taxes at checkout or if you the e-commerce merchant is going to pay it. When to pay for duties. The most unpredictable part of international shipping costs are the customs duties and fees.
There are software tools that could give you the cost estimates but the important decision to make is whether you want the customers to pay for these fees during checkout. You want to set customer expectations correctly. You don't want the customer to receive a bill when the item arrives at their doorstep. The trade offs to think through are as following. Showing the full cost at checkout may scare away some customers from buying. However getting a surprise or higher than expected bill at the door may cost a customer to reject the package and ask for a refund leaving you with an unhappy customer and no revenue for your troubles.
International paperwork. So now that you're selling internationally, you need to make sure that your warehouse can provide the right information for the package to make it across the border. Accurate documentation is essential to international shipping. Delayed shipments tie up your inventory and create unwanted issues for your customers. For most international shipments, you'll need two sets of documents, a customs form and a commercial invoice.
Despite the name, the customs form is just an additional information that appears as part of an international shipping label not an additional form. You should make sure that you're using a shipping platform like Shippo that can handle the additional label information requirements. In addition to the label and customs forms, you will also need three copies of the commercial invoice, placed inside a clear pouch on the package.
It needs to be removable and visible so that the customs officer can review the information. Similarly your shipping software should be able to generate the commercial invoice for you. There is a lot to consider with going international. But hopefully now you have a better sense of what you need to succeed. Remember to think through each part of your operation as you get ready to scale. Thank you for watching the Leverage Shipping for Success course.
It has been my pleasure to share my knowledge with you. I hope you took away valuable lessons on how to save on shipping costs, grow your sales, and make your customers happier. If you'd like to learn more about shipping check out the Shippo block where we share lots of advice and case studies. Shipping is not just a means to an end. It's actually a competitive advantage that can help you grow your business if you use it correctly.