With Internet and technology advancements, doing business across the world has been made easier and faster than before. Now, you can do business anywhere in the world. You can manufacture products in China and ship the products to the Caribbean, and do it in the comfort of your home or office. Indeed, e-commerce has changed the way people do business.
This also comes with developments and advancements in shipping. If you want to have an international business, you should be able to offer worldwide shipping. Shipping is part of dropshipping; although, they do not mean the same thing. Let’s discuss the concept of shipping and dropshipping. You can read our post on the 5 Benefits of Dropshipping.
Relation of Shipping and Dropshipping
Shipping basically means the act of transporting a package or item from one place to another. This term is not to be confused with the slang word “ship” which means that a person likes a certain movie, celebrity, couple, character, series or thing.
Dropshipping means that you partner with a wholesale supplier or manufacturer who will directly package and ship the products to your customers. Or, you can be the said wholesale supplier and be the one to ship the products to customers of your partner wholesale vendor.
As you can see, shipping is directly tied to dropshipping. It is an important factor to consider when choosing which dropshipping supplier to partner with. In this post, we will discuss the ins and outs of international shipping.
What You Need to Know about International Shipping and Dropshipping
1. Shipping Carrier
You must partner with a shipping carrier who will meet your specific shipping requirements. If you choose to dropship, you need to consider the coverage of the dropshipping supplier. Most especially if you offer worldwide shipping, you need to partner with a supplier who offers international shipping.
One of the known international shipping carriers is UPS. You can check out their website to know import regulations for international shipments of the destination country. You can also see tools and instructions for shipping across borders such as metric conversions, price list
These are the factors that you need to consider in choosing a shipping carrier:
- Shipping options,
- Tracking or Mapping tools,
- Delivery Timeframe,
- Package size,
When you will offer dropshipping, you will be the one to ship the products directly to the customers of your partner wholesale buyers. You can opt to partner with an international shipping carrier to handle the shipments for you. Check out our post about what wholesale buyers expect from your dropshipping operations.
You can choose from different shipping carriers such as USPS, FedEx, UPS, Australia Post, UK Royal Mail, and Canada post. Choose a reliable and trustworthy shipping carrier that fits your shipping requirements and that you can do business with for the long haul.
2. Destination Country Regulations
Every country has their own regulations, clearances, and restrictions for packages coming from abroad. You need to be familiar with importation laws and regulations for every country that you will ship your products to.
TechinAsia wrote about AES filing requirements, “When you plan to export merchandise valued over US$2,500 to other countries — Canada excluded — watch out for the U.S. Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR). This requires you to file your export information electronically through the Automated Export System (AES).
The consequences of failing to file your information or filing them incorrectly could be catastrophic. One consequence could be the seizure of your shipment by the U.S Customs and Border Protection.”
3. Get an Insurance
Shipping carries a lot of risks. As you can imagine, cargoes containing the packages have to travel by land, sea, and air to get to their destination. Depending on the destination country, there will always be risk involved such as shipment delays and errors that are not controllable.
Thus, it would be wise to get an insurance so that losses can be covered. There are different insurance companies so you need to study and compare their policies, requirements, and coverage. Choose the best, most reliable insurance that offers a lot of coverage.
4. Shipping Rates
The shipping rates can vary depending on a lot of factors:
- Shipping Carrier;
- Size and Weight of the Package;
- Country of Origin and Destination Country;
- Custom Regulations.
To check the shipping rates, you can check out the shipping guide, services and features of these shipping companies:
5. Delivery Time
Depending on the destination country, shipping carrier, and customs regulations, delivery time will vary from country to country. You need to take into account the delivery time to get the package across to the shipping address of the customer. Give allowance in the delivery date so that you can provide proper expectations to the customer.
6. Electronic Invoice
International shipping requires you to have a sales invoice which is part of the documentation.
Shipping carriers also offer paperless or electronic invoice such as UPS Paperless Invoice and FedEx’s Electronic Trade Documents. This way you will be able to transmit the invoice to customs and obtain clearance from them.
Further, you can also print out an invoice and put it along with the package.
7. Customs Clearance
According to Icontainers, “In shipping, you must take into account customs at the destination of the cargo and at the origin of both imports and exports. The documentation requested with internationally transported goods is vital to prevent delays and additional charges from occurring.”
As explained by Allegro Freight, You need to deal with customs fees, which will be based on the value of the item you are shipping out and its destination.You also need to deal with taxes such as shipment fee, warehousing fee, and other additional charges. One company may also have different tariff computation depending on the scope of their services and locations.”
There are a lot of international shipping carriers that offer tracking services for shipped goods. So you need to also consider that when choosing what carrier to partner with. Once you can track the shipments, you will know whether the parcel or package has arrived at the shipping address or not. You will also know if there are shipment delays and issues or if the shipment is being held at customs.
Most consumers value the packaging and presentation of the products as much as the product itself. Aside from ensuring that products are neatly packaged, the packaging is also an important factor in shipping. Depending on the package size and weight, shipping rates will vary.
You can choose the materials for the packaging of your products to make it more presentable to customers. You can have your own creative packaging design that showcases your brand. Plus, opt for lightweight, protective materials to package your products so you can avail of a much cheaper shipping rates. You can also choose to have a creative label in the packaging to further delight your customers.
In an article by Shopify, “Most shipping couriers and shipping options are charged based on size and weight, you want to do your best to keep your packaging as small as possible. This will help you save not only on shipping costs incurred by you and your customer but to also keep packaging costs from eating away your profit margin. Depending on your business and your product line, you may want to consider carrying a few strategically selected sizes of packaging materials, like a small, medium and large size boxes.”
10. Terms and Conditions
You also need to be aware of the terms and conditions of the shipping carrier as well as the dropship supplier if you opt for dropshipping.
Make sure that you know their return policies and exchanges, payment methods, insurance, guarantees, to name some.
By knowing the ins and outs of international shipping, you will be better equipped when shipping your products to customers while maximizing your profit margins.