You might never need to know about shipping goods overseas. You might be perfectly happy working in your home country, sending items to those who live there too, and perhaps even focusing solely on your local area so you can hand deliver everything you need to. That’s a great business plan and certainly gives you a USP. However, it can be somewhat limiting since you’ll have a finite number of people to sell to.
If this suits you because you have a product that people need to buy more than once, for example, then go ahead. If, however, your product is a one-time purchase, then it could be a good idea to look into expanding your market and even shipping overseas. Although this might seem like an expensive, complex, and difficult thing to do, if you follow some of the useful tips we’re going to give you, you’ll see that it’s not so tricky and that it could make a big difference to your bottom line. Read on to find out more.
Will It Sell?
Before you start sending your items overseas and become an international business, it’s a good idea to look into the market in whatever country or countries you are thinking of selling to. There would be no point in spending money on marketing only to discover that the goods you are selling aren’t of interest elsewhere or that the locals in that country can already buy what you’re selling at a lower price.
Although this isn’t a tip for shipping as such, it is definitely the first step when expanding your business in this way – it simply may not be possible, or at least not a good idea.
Research The Company
Once you know that you have a chance of selling your products overseas, the next step is to find the right shipping company to deliver the items for you. There are many to choose from, which is why it’s a good idea to research each one before committing to using one particular company.
Look at their websites and search for any reviews about them. Good or bad, you should read them to get an overview of how the business works and what to expect. Next, get quotes from at least three different shipping companies. Remember, though, the cheapest price isn’t always the best price. Think about what you’re getting for the money you’re paying; it might be that opting for a more expensive company is a better choice because the company has more experience or has better reviews. Saving money in business is a good thing, but not if it is to the detriment of your service – your customers won’t appreciate it, and you’ll lose business that way.
Although most shipping companies will offer insurance, and it may be part of their pricing structure, it can often be worth having additional, separate, international shipping insurance too.
If something is damaged or lost in transit, you can claim on your insurance for the cost of the product and the cost of shipping – although how much you can claim will depend on the level of insurance you have chosen and what goods you are sending to where.
If you don’t have insurance, then, should something go wrong, you won’t be able to claim for any compensation. This means that you’ll have to give compensation to your customers out of your own pocket, which can become very expensive (especially if you have chosen a less qualified or professional shipping company).
Look Out For Hidden Costs
International shipping will always cost more than domestic shipping, but there are ways to reduce the costs if you are careful. The first thing you should do is to look out for the hidden costs that you might be paying but that you don’t have to.
Some of the additional costs that you will need to consider could include order management software and packing supplies. Work out what you are happy to pay for and what you can do away with, and then consider how much – if anything – you will add to your prices. Some business owners choose to absorb the cost of shipping themselves, and others prefer to increase their prices to make up for the fact that the business’s shipping costs have increased.
Deciding to expand your business by shipping internationally is a big step, and it won’t be the right thing for everyone. However, if it is the right thing for you, you’ll need to ensure you know as much about the shipping process as possible because if this element goes wrong, your customers will stop buying, and you could face a significant number of problems.