The Pros and Cons of Adding International Shipping Services to Your Business

28 October, 2020
International shipping for online businesses

E-Commerce

If you’re looking for an effective way to rapidly grow your ecommerce business, adding international shipping services can be a strategic method to reach more customers and expand your company’s overall trajectory.

With the advantages also come operational changes and obstacles to overcome — so how do you know if adding international shipping services is the right move for you? The first step is to educate yourself. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons. 

PROS
There are several benefits to adding international shipping services to your business. Some are obvious — like reaching more customers — and others you may not have ever before considered. Which of these factors would be game-changers for your company?

1. Growth
While this may be the most obvious gain, it’s also the most important! The fact of the matter is that companies that export grow faster. In fact, the Institute for International Economics has found that US companies that export internationally are almost 10% less likely to go out of business than those that don’t. Implementing international shipping services allows you to tap into overseas markets to drive your growth.

2. Brand Exposure
A broader reach gives you greater visibility for your brand — offering you the opportunity to boost your company’s reputation and credibility on a global scale. The more people are talking about your brand across internet platforms, the easier it will be for your target market to find your products.

3. Increase Revenue
As everyone competes with Amazon to deliver on fast, affordable, and reliable shipping methods — both domestically and internationally — it’s never been easier or more beneficial for small businesses to enter the export market. Experts show an average increase in sales of nearly 15% when independent ecommerce businesses gain access to foreign markets.

4. Avoid Seasonal Lulls
Selling seasonal products can be tricky, but having access to international markets can help. When seasons change, shift your marketing focus to the opposite hemisphere to keep your sales steady all year round.

5. Expand Your Range
Different consumers have different needs — and new markets come with a whole new range of consumers. If some products didn’t do well for you domestically, there could be eager buyers out there in other countries just waiting for your ads to hit their feed. Adding international shipping services could mean adding a whole new line of products to your shop!

6. Currency Exchange
When you add international trade to your business, you’re adding a new opportunity for growth. Use the fluctuation of currency exchange rates to your advantage. You can profit from converting weaker currencies against stronger ones — and customers can benefit from favorable exchange rates, boosting your sales.

CONS
Before you get ready to jump head-first into international waters, take some time to consider the obstacles you’ll be facing. Do the benefits outweigh the challenges?

1. Marketing Costs
If you’re selling to a whole new group of audiences you’ll need to allocate more funds to your marketing budget. Investing in smart campaigns is key to targeting international shoppers and breaking into emerging markets.

2. Research
Working with new customers you’ve never catered to before requires some market research. You’ll need to learn what your new shoppers are expecting from your brand — and you’ll need to let them know what they can expect from you as well. For example, it’s essential to know your delivery times, shipping costs, and other fees. When you disclose this information upfront, you cut down on cart abandonment.

3. Managing Returns
Find an efficient and economical way to handle your international returns to protect your bottom line against associated costs. Remember that the costs of shipping your products to another country will apply when dealing with returns as well. Oftentimes, the shipping provider you choose — like Asendia USA — will have global return services to offer as well to help you streamline your ecommerce process.

4. Paperwork & Regulations
Every country has different rules and regulations when it comes to importing goods. Most places will require documentation to ship across borders. There are varying customs, duties, taxes, and fees to consider as well — along with liability and global privacy rules. Once again, researching your future customers is key.

5. Changes in Development
Keep in mind that creating products to sell in international markets may require you to adapt your goods to meet local standards and specifications. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with exporting and importing procedures relative to where your products are manufactured and where they’re being sold.

6. Competing with the Locals
When entering an overseas market, you’ll already be competing with local etailers that can usually offer cheaper shipping and handling rates than an international seller. This is where marketing comes in handy to help your customers focus on the unique advantages of shopping with your brand. Working with a consolidator like Asendia USA will also help you offer shoppers less expensive international shipping options, more convenient global returns options, and even a localized website. Creating a positive customer experience that international shoppers can trust could be the advantage you need to effectively compete with the locals.

7. Payment Collection
It’s useless marketing your business internationally if you don’t have an easy way for overseas customers to pay you for your products. Look for a payment method that works across platforms in different countries to avoid added inconvenience for your customers and to ensure you receive your revenue in a timely manner. Consider localizing your website so international customers can shop in their own currency.

Ultimately, only you can decide if adding international shipping services to your ecommerce business will be successful. If you’re leaning towards committing to expanding your brand worldwide, remember our simple tips. Learn everything you can about the market in which you want to sell your products, get to know your future customers, calculate your shipping costs and make it clear for shoppers, and never forget to double check your customs paperwork to avoid delays!

Have more questions about international shipping services? Contact us today to speak with one of our international shipping experts!

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