International delivery costs are a necessary part of expansion. If you want to reach markets further afield than local consumers then you need to pay to transport the goods. However, the costs of international shipping don’t have to become a heavy burden – and, if they have, then there are some simple ways to reduce these expenses back down to a more manageable level.
Understand your business needs
If you’re not working with the right delivery provider then you may well find that your shipping costs spiral. A good starting point is to look at the need that the business really has for international shipping, as well as your sales forecasts for the next three to six months. Find a shipping provider able to tailor their services to your specific needs and to give you the best possible price per unit as a result. Shop around and if you find a better deal elsewhere then opt for a new relationship.
Get to grips with the customs and taxes of destination countries
Most countries have a financial value threshold below which no taxes or duties are going to be due. Although payment of local customs will usually fall to the customer this is useful information to have when it comes to working out how much of the cost of delivery you can realistically pass on. For example, if most of your items fall below the customs threshold it may be entirely reasonable to charge customers for 50 – 100% of the cost of the shipping so that you can cut your own international delivery costs.
Opt for more efficient packaging
It’s important to strike a balance between the packaging that you need to protect the goods you’re sending and using so much packaging that you’re paying partly for excess cardboard or air. If you’re packing items yourself then look for more efficient ways to group products, or use padding and packaging that is slimmer and stronger. If you’re outsourcing the fulfillment, then create a packaging plan with your fulfillment partner so that you can ensure you’re never using packaging that is larger or more excessive than it needs to be.
Insure what you send
This is particularly important if you’re dealing with luxury items or more expensive products that could be costly to replace. If items go missing during the process of international shipping you will still have a customer who has paid for, but not received, their delivery. If you have insurance in place then you can cover the cost of a replacement or reimburse the customer instead.
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