May 5, 2014

Global Shipping 101

Posted by Faith Albert Category IconShipping & Logistics

Nobody can deny the massive role shipping plays in online retail. Receiving a package from your front porch is the adult version of opening presents on Christmas. However, the process of getting the package into the right hands isn’t always simple. In fact, some entrepreneurs find this to be the most daunting task when expanding globally. Unless you want to take month-long classes about the ins and outs of exporting and importing, you are going to need expert help. So let’s star at the very beginning.

1. Product

Not all items are meant to be shipped internationally. Shipping cement counter tops to Malaysia just isn’t cost efficient. Not that it absolutely can’t be done otherwise, but small containable items work best when shipping your product overseas.

2. Regulations and Laws

International laws can take unexpected twists and turns. Practical eCommerce reports that it is illegal to import foreign calendars into Vietnam. How are you supposed to know that? Luckily, UPS has a handy dandy tool that can help you identify possible shipping problems due to regulations. Phew!

3. Country Focus

Mastering shipping to just a few places is far easier than opening up the flood gates. You might see initial success but it could be costly if you don’t already understand where the most conversions will occur and where shipping will yield a positive ROI.

4. Start Selling

There’s no one right way to begin the shipping process. In fact, you may find yourself starting with one method and moving to another. Factors such as product, goal, and destination will all influence your decision.

5. Go Your Own Way

Run through steps 1-3 and just begin. Use an international carrier such as UPS, DHL, or FedEx. DHL has a handy Trade Automation Service that’s handy for calculating cost. Your first international shipping venture can be daunting. Vicki Moore, who owns the Etsy shop WingedWorld admitted “I freaked out a little when I had my first order from Australia. [However] The item arrived safely and the customer has become a repeat buyer. My shipping to England, Austria and France was just as simple. On international shipping, go for it!”

6. Shipping Standout

Kevin Stecko started his vintage t-shirt company,  http://www.80stees.com/, in 2000 after graduating from college. According to his website, he believes “life was better back then, when the weekend began with Saturday morning cartoons and the M in MTV still meant something.” However we have a feeling that he is happy to be living in 2014 when the nostalgia (and demand) for the ‘80s and all of its swag is on the rise.

For the time being, Stecko’s plan for global domination is maximizing revenue. Due to hit shows like The Big Bang Theory that feature the company’s products, the website has become an international hit. In an instant, Stecko found himself inundated with international orders. Stecko notes that the company specializes in “80s Geek” not “shipping chic.” His shipping goal is fairly simple: “We’re trying to make the path to the purchase as simple as possible,” said Stecko.

For this reason, the company turned to its shipping Yoda, Endicia. Endicia partners with over 190 companies in e-commerce so that it can be a one-stop shop for all things shipping. By partnering with Endicia, Stecko was able to expand his business with little to no worries. Now they can concentrate on going Back to the Future and leave the shipping to the those in the present.

7. Getting Started with Shipping

— Make your shipping prices and policy easy to find on your site. Don’t bury it in an FAQ section.
— Always list every country where you currently ship. It would also be wise to include a link where can request additional countries for shipping.

—  Estimate shipping costs for your customers on the product page. By doing so, you will decrease cart abandonment.
—  Send emails to international customers when relevant. Currencies are always fluctuating so when foreign currencies rise, they will look to shop on profitable international sites. An email can remind them to visit your site for those purchases.

To learn more about international shipping, download 2Checkout’s free e-book, Tips for International Shipping.