If your business is ready to expand into a larger market, offering your products overseas is an excellent option. According to statistics, global e-Commerce sales are expected to grow to up to 21.8% with a total of over USD$6.38 trillion by 2024. The competition for international customers is increasing, with a growing number of shoppers buying from sellers across their country’s border.
However, tapping customers in other countries means you need to figure out how to ship your products abroad. It’s normal to feel uneasy when thinking about international shipping, especially when it comes to concerns related to customs, costs, and whether or not your chosen freight providers have new or used shipping containers to ensure the safety of your products while in transit.
Understanding the process of shipping items internationally allows you to come up with an international shipping strategy that works best for your business. Here are five important things that you should know.
1. Modes Of Transportation
There are two common ways to ship your products abroad-by sea or air. Which medium you choose will depend on the product you want to ship, the shipment time, and the total cost that will be incurred.
In general, shipping by sea is affordable. However, transit takes a long time. You don’t want to ship delicate and perishable goods via sea freight since they can get damaged in a closed container or spoil due to long travel time. However, if you are shipping hundreds or thousands of products and those items are on the bulky or heavier side, this option is more cost-effective.
Airfreight, on the other hand, is a faster yet more expensive method. Shipped goods can reach their destination in only a day or two. However, with air freight, there are restrictions on the size and weight of the item. This means that it is unsuitable for bulky items or if you’re shipping a large number of goods.
Assess the items you’re shipping, determine your budget, and choose the best medium of transport suitable for your items so they arrive on time and in pristine condition.
2. Understand Cost Of Duties And Taxes
Foreign governments add extra taxes and duties to international shipments. This is usually done to protect domestic businesses from international competition. However, sometimes it is used to boost the revenues of the government. Either way, it’s your responsibility to ensure that the proper taxes and duties are paid before an overseas shipment reaches customs.
When tariffs do not apply to your overseas shipments, a taxation threshold distinguishes between shipments that must pay shipment duties and those that do not. If your product shipment doesn’t reach the required dollar threshold, you don’t have to worry about extra payments. However, this rule may vary per country, so it’s best to make a check before shipping out your products.
3. There Are Certain Shipping Restrictions
All countries have set restrictions on specific items crossing their borders. For instance, Nigeria has banned a host of items including bagged cement, fruit juice, suitcases, mosquito repellant coils, and more.
Another example is cannabis. While Canada and most American states have legalized cannabis, it remains banned in most countries such as Afghanistan and the majority of Asian countries. Thus, shipping CBD products to those countries is considered illegal.
Customs will seize your shipment if it contains a restricted item. They may return it to you, but in the worst-case scenario, you may also face fines and other legal penalties.
So, before you start selling your products to a specific country, make sure that you’re allowed to ship those products there. Shipping without knowing the restrictions will only waste your time, effort, and other resources.
4. You Need To Follow Packaging Rules
As if worrying about whether your items are authorized in a given country wasn’t enough, you also need to verify your packaging to ensure it complies with the country’s laws.
Some countries have varying regulations and rules on how you package and label products you ship within their borders. For instance, all pre-packaged commodities imported into India should carry specific declarations on the label such as:
- name and address of the importer
- net quantity in terms of standard unit of measurements and weight
- common or generic name of commodity packed
- the maximum retail sales price at which the product in packaged form should be sold to consumers
- year and month of packing in which the product is manufactured, packed, or imported
To avoid packaging issues, make sure to read up on the country’s specific regulations. You must adhere to each packaging instruction and regulation down to the smallest detail. Also, before sending, double-check that you have the correct customer information and package label so it reaches the right customer.
5. Don’t Skimp On Shipping Insurance
Whatever the mode of transportation it may be, there’s always a risk of damage in international shipments. After all, packages go on longer journeys and pass-through multiple checkpoints and inspections before reaching their destination.
As a result, you must insure your items against damage and loss. The amount of insurance you receive will be determined by the value of the item you are shipping. This can help you save money, especially if the things you sell are expensive and the shipment is high volume.
Thus, shipping insurance should be seen as an investment and not just another expense.
If you’re ready to take orders from a global audience, then go right ahead! Now is the perfect time to do so because there are lots of suppliers available. Shipping products abroad is not as tedious and overwhelming as it should be. Just keep the above-mentioned points in mind, so you can ship any items internationally with fewer worries.