If you operate an e-commerce business and are planning to expand internationally, you will need to look into setting up a system for processing international orders. It seems complicated on the surface, but learning as much as you can about the basics helps you steer clear of logistics problems, satisfy your customers, and grow your business across borders. Here's what you need to know when it comes to shipping products to foreign destinations:
1. Test the waters
Before you decide to penetrate international audiences, you will need to determine if your business has the proper infrastructure for shipping products abroad. You may need to plan out your expansion using the SMART model. Before you settle on any strategy, you might want to consider shipping orders close to home. You can start with customers who reside in neighboring cities or states. From there, you can work your way towards accepting orders from neighboring countries and, eventually, countries in other continents.
2. Conduct market research
Prior to opening your business to international orders, you might need to know if there is a high demand for your products outside of your home country. After all, expanding your e-commerce business involves tapping into the needs and interests of potential customers abroad. If you are selling confectionery derived from mangoes, you can market your products to countries where mangoes are a luxury. You might want to take time to analyze foreign market trends before accepting international orders, but doing so helps your e-commerce business develop an international presence.
3. Know how to keep products safe
Depending on the types of products you will be shipping, it's always important to invest in a good packaging design. Considering the distances your products will be traveling, you will need to create custom packages that could withstand extreme temperatures and keep even the most fragile items safe. Using bubble wrap just won't cut it, so opt for custom boxes lined with foam. The key here is to secure items in place to prevent them from being jostled around as they travel from point to point. You can also use moisture-resistant and durable containers. In the case of frozen food or products that need to be kept cool, you can add gel ice packs to your shipments.
4. Learn about international rules on shipments
Apart from knowing if there is a market for your products in other countries, you need to learn about the laws that these countries have when it comes to imports. Obviously, certain substances such as cannabis are either illegal or just heavily regulated. However, some countries prohibit the transport and sale of items that are banned by their respective law-making bodies. You wouldn’t want to put your business in a bad light. If you are planning to sell your products in certain countries, make sure to review relevant laws, regulations, and fees beforehand.
Your e-commerce business will eventually build an audience for itself in other places across the world, so it’s important to never pass up on such an opportunity Keep these tips in mind as you expand.