Business internationalization

Business internationalization and simplified shipping with Shipcloud

Internationalizing an e-commerce business is the result of a process that must take time, not only is it a crucial logistical decision, but the future results of this decision will affect the rest of the online business as a whole.

In an increasingly interconnected world, international trade has become a fundamental part of many businesses. The prospect of expanding your market beyond national borders is exciting, but it can also be a logistical challenge. The key to success in international shipping lies in understanding the processes involved, careful planning, and of course choosing the right travel partner, as it is a process that has its complexities. In this article, we will explore the essentials of international shipping and provide practical tips for operating through the global marketplace smoothly.

Why should you optimize the returns process?

Many online shoppers already know when they place their order that they will be returning at least some of the goods. For example, they often order several products and sizes to choose from and return the rest. Therefore, an optimal returns process has a great impact on the customer’s purchase decision. And they are becoming more and more demanding and experienced when it comes to online shopping.

The EHI Retail Institute has found out that for about 39 percent of the surveyed online retailers, the efficient handling of returns in their own company is a current focus topic. An optimal returns process can even secure a decisive competitive advantage. For 77 percent of German consumers, uncomplicated returns are an important criterion for choosing a retailer. Customer-friendly returns management ensures that returns are more pleasant for both sides and ultimately also leads to an increase in sales. (Source: EHI study, Shipping and returns management in e-commerce 2021)

🔎 Did you know? According to a study, around 315 million parcels were returned in Germany in 2020. (Returns Management Research Group, Otto Friedrich University Bamberg, 2020)

🙌 Would you like to learn more about successful returns management? Find out all the strategies for the ideal returns process in our whitepaper. Download the whitepaper for free!

Download Whitepaper
Return package

Determine if it is the right time to expand your e-commerce internationally

The first thing is to analyze if your e-commerce has reached a sufficient point of maturity, for this it is necessary to pay attention to certain indicators that give you the answer to the following question… Are you ready to take the step?

  • Solid base: It is important to determine if your sales are stable in the country where you are currently operating, internationalizing an e-commerce without having settled in your country of origin, can bring problems in the short term, dynamiting the idea of expansion of the company.
  • International demand: Investigate if there is a real demand for your products or services in international markets. You can use market research tools, surveys, or data analysis of your website to identify the possible interest of foreign customers in your products.
  • International competition: Evaluate the competition in the international markets you are considering, and study them in depth to see if they are worth taking the plunge. Are there local companies offering similar products? Do you have a competitive advantage that differentiates you from the competition?
  • Financial resources: Expanding internationally can be costly. You should consider whether you have the financial resources to invest in marketing, logistics, order fulfillment, and other expenses related to international trade. Even if you think it will be worth it… Is it the right time to face more expenses? You have to keep in mind that a product in a country that is not your own may take time to take off.
  • Logistics infrastructure: One of the most important parts, make sure you have a solid logistics infrastructure that can handle international shipments efficiently and cost-effectively. To achieve this smoothly, it is advisable to have an expert partner in the logistics sector to ensure that the processes are carried out correctly. It is essential to have reliable shipping options and an effective inventory management system.
  • Regulations and customs: Research customs regulations and import/export requirements in the countries you want to sell to. Make sure you are prepared to comply with these regulations, which may include tariff classification of your products and preparation of customs documentation. Prices for international shipments vary depending on the type of product and destination; within the EU, for example, the movement of goods is greatly facilitated, but requirements become more stringent if you aim to operate in other parts of the world.
  • Language and culture: Consider whether your website and marketing strategy are adapted to international markets in terms of language and culture. Offering a localized shopping experience can increase your chances of success. Thinking that the customs or shopping habits are the same as in your home country will only lead to failure. Understanding and adapting to the culture of a foreign country will make you aware of consumers’ needs, making the sales process easier for you.
  • International customer service: Prepare a plan to provide international customer service. This involves offering support in multiple languages and being available to solve problems and answer customer questions in different time zones. A tedious and resource-intensive process, but you can’t afford to have dissatisfied customers, especially if you are starting in a new market.
  • Cost and margin analysis: Calculate your shipping costs, currency conversion fees, and other expenses associated with international sales. Make sure your profit margins are sufficient to cover these costs and generate profits. Plan a short-, medium- and long-term strategy with concrete goals for your e-commerce, at the beginning it is expected to be in losses, but you should estimate the arrival of green numbers in your income statement.
  • International marketing strategy: Develop a specific marketing strategy for international markets that includes advertising, SEO, social media, and other promotional channels. Study your target well, understand their buying habits, and what needs your product can solve. Planning a good marketing strategy is very important, your future customers will not be able to buy your product if they do not know it exists.
  • Risk assessment: Identify and assess potential risks associated with international expansion, such as changes in exchange rates, and political or economic problems in target countries, and adjust your strategy accordingly. You should also keep in mind as an ecommerce ecommerce that returns are a reality, include in your logistics strategy this key process.

☝️ Do you need more information about international shipping? We have a free whitepaper, download it instantly and become an expert.

Download Whitepaper

Once you have reviewed the above points and your decision is still firm, you should take into account these 9 points that will help you make your international shipments:

What should I take into account to successfully complete the logistics process?

1. Know your shipping options

When it comes to international shipping options, it’s important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each method. Ocean freight, for example, is an excellent option for large, heavy loads. However, it tends to be slower, so plan your shipments well in advance. Air freight, on the other hand, is fast and efficient, ideal for perishable or high-value products. However, it can be more expensive than sea freight. If you are expanding into the EU, trucking will probably be your best and most common option. The choice of shipping method should be based on the type of product, budget, and delivery times.

2. Research customs regulations and requirements

Customs regulations can vary significantly between countries. You should thoroughly research the customs regulations and requirements of the country to which you are shipping your products. This includes the correct tariff classification of your products, preparation of documents such as the commercial invoice, and knowledge of applicable duties and taxes. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in customs delays and fines, which will negatively affect your operations. It is very important to perform these processes correctly, it is advisable to work with experts so that everything is done in compliance with the regulations.

3. Work with a customs broker

Customs brokers are experts in customs regulations and can be your key allies in international shipping. Outsourcing this service will help you navigate the customs process more efficiently. They can prepare and file the proper customs documentation, calculate duties and taxes, and resolve customs issues effectively, ensuring that your shipments comply with local laws.

4. Pack securely

Secure packaging is critical to ensure that your products arrive in perfect condition. Use high-quality and resistant materials that protect your products against shocks, vibrations, and adverse weather conditions. Make sure that the packaging is suitable for the nature of the products and follow the specific recommendations for each type of merchandise, it is also an opportunity to customize it with your brand and to impact the customer once they receive the shipment. If you want to know more about this topic, we have an article that expressly talks about the importance of packaging.

5. Insurance

A factor to take into account, although the insurance of the different transport companies, does not usually cover the full amount of the package in case of loss, damage or theft, it is important to understand the limits of coverage taking into account the type of product you are going to send.

Insured shipping

6. Benefit from multi-carrier shipping

By connecting different carriers, the customer is not only flexible when receiving the goods. Decide which carriers should be available for returns processing and let your customers choose their favorite parcel service themselves. This makes returns more flexible and tailored to the customer’s wishes.

📦 Want to know more? In our article “Multi-carrier shipping” we highlight the advantages of connecting to multiple carriers to increase the added value of your online shop.

7. Returns

It’s important to plan a good shipping strategy, but what about returns? Although we don’t want them to happen, it is a reality in the e-commerce world. To manage returns in the best way, it is best to outsource this service to an expert logistics company. The customer experience does not end with the purchase and everything that comes after also influences to build a good brand image.

8. Plan ahead

International shipping can take longer than you imagine. Plan ahead and allow for customs delays, weather changes, and other unforeseen factors. Keep a detailed schedule of your shipments and deadlines to ensure that your products reach their destination on time. Timeliness is essential, especially if you have international customer commitments or specific delivery dates. To ensure that the process is carried out correctly, it is advisable to enlist the help of logistics companies to take the work and worry out of your hands.

9. Communication with customers

Maintain constant and transparent communication with your international customers. Provide follow-up information, delivery estimates and details about any possible delays. Clear communication not only builds customer confidence, but also allows customers to be prepared to receive their orders and manage their expectations in case of shipping problems. Effective communication can make all the difference in customer satisfaction and in building strong business relationships in the global marketplace.

👆 Want to learn more about shipping, tracking or returns services? Become a logistics expert by downloading our whitepapers.

Go to downloads

Before taking the step to sell internationally, it’s important to conduct a thorough analysis and carefully plan your strategy. International expansion can be an exciting opportunity, but it also brings unique challenges that require adequate preparation.

The best thing to do in these cases is to have a company that provides you with all these services to ensure the smooth running of your international logistics. At Shipcloud we will be happy to listen to you and help you with this exciting project.

Are you ready for your new full-service shipping and returns solution?
Talk to sales

You might also be interested in: