The Do’s and Don’ts of International Shipping

Feb 28, 2020  Kiera Falcus Kiera Falcus

Round the world postal service has made it easier than ever before to ship items overseas. It’s now actually possible for us to pay to ship and transport full houses of furniture and belongings across the pond, should we choose to uproot our lives and emigrate abroad. It’s a fascinating thought.

However, as with anything, there are certain rules and regulations that must be followed when using international shipping, whether that be for business or personal reasons. Likewise, there are certain items and regulations you must consider before choosing where or not to send something overseas.

Today, we’re going to be looking at some of the do’s and don’ts of international shipping, and why you should really think about what you post, and what method of shipping you use.

The Do’s

First things first, we’re going to start off with the things you should definitely make sure you’re doing before you start to ship internationally. You wouldn’t expect somebody to buy your house without going through the rigmarole of viewing, bartering, and finally signing a legally binding contract, would you? 

That’s just an example, you shouldn’t be shipping internationally, without knowing you’re doing it the right way.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

Package Your Product Correctly, and in the Right Materials

Before shipping your product across the seas, whatever it may be, you’ll want to make sure that it’s packaged correctly.

For example, say that you’re packaging something breakable. The most basic of wrapping isn’t likely to keep it safe – and in once piece – for the entirety of its journey, is it? Especially if it’s going thousands of miles. If this is the case, you’ll want to package the product in some sort of padding, like bubble wrap and foam paper. It’s also an idea to label the package as “fragile”, so whoever is handling it has an idea of how gentle they should be with it.

Furthermore, have you ever considered how much plastic is used to wrap the average product that’s being packaged and sent abroad? The answer is a LOT – and if you’ve watched the news or listened to the radio or even opened the internet at all recently, you’ll be well aware that it’s been proven that plastic is unhealthy for environments. Many big corporations have made changes in order to reduce their plastic usage, so you should consider looking for an alternative if this is your “go to” packaging. If McDonalds can replace their plastic straws for paper straws, surely you can make the change too, right?

If You’re Doing Business, Offer Alternative Means of Shipping

We’re going to talk a little about using international shipping for means of business products now.

Now, many customers and clients are put off by the label of “international shipping” because it’s known as being expensive. Furthermore, shipping prices can go up and down accordingly. 

With this in mind, you don’t want to be losing clients because you can’t offer them any other form of postage. If they can’t afford to pay the international shipping rate, they’re likely to take their business elsewhere – and you can’t afford to be losing out on clients. So what can you do to help with this issue?

Now, there are some forms of budget shipping, which it’s important that you look into. It’s crucial that you ensure customers are aware that this sort of shipping is likely to take longer – but if they’re not willing to pay the usual rate, it’s good to offer them that alternative. After all, good things come to those who wait!

The Don’ts

As with any industry that has “do’s”, there are inevitably don’ts. Finally, we’re going to take a look at what not to do if you’re shipping internationally:

Be Careless with Labels

You can not afford to be careless with labels if you’re shipping something out internationally – whether it be business or personal.

Like we stated previously, international travel is expensive. The last thing you want to do is waste time, effort and money by sending items to the incorrect address – particularly if you’re shipping several at once.

Because of this, be extremely cautious when writing labels and addresses on your products. Try and have some sort of system in place. This way you’ll never make the mistake of sending a package to the wrong person, and maybe even the wrong country.

Ignore Regulations from Different Countries

Last of all, but by no means least, never ever ignore different countries’ postal regulations when shipping internationally.

For example, in certain countries, certain items may be considered as illegal contraband. If you go against these laws, you could end up being fined – or worse, prosecuted.

Therefore, our parting advice would be to do your research on the shipping laws of the countries in which you’re posting too. It’s far better to be safe, than it is to be sorry (and prosecuted!) 

Kiera is an English Literature and Creative Writing graduate who now works freelance as a content writer.