Shipping your products overseas
Whether you’re a small business shipping your products overseas or an individual sending the odd gift to friends or family abroad, there are many factors to consider when sending something overseas. Sometimes it can seem a bit daunting to ship items overseas, whether its because of the cost or the regulations for each country. That’s why we’ve put this article together to help you out with the things you need to know and get you shipping your parcels!
Knowing individual country regulations and restrictions
This is one of the most important aspects to know when sending parcels to other countries as it could save you from making some costly mistakes or getting in trouble. Some items seem obviously restricted such as guns and other weapons, however sometimes seemingly harmless items are banned from countries such as chewing gum in Singapore, masks in Saudi Arabia or matching pairs of shoes in South Africa, Mexico and India (to keep control of their domestic market, for personal use it’s not a problem). So, save yourself some hassle and check before you start shipping your products overseas! For more information regarding exporting specific items to certain countries check out the customs website for each country.
If you’re sending parcels outside of the EU, you need to ensure that a customs declaration has been completed and attached to the package. Ensure that the customs declaration is filled out correctly and accurately to avoid any issue in transit. You may also need an export licence for some items such as chemicals, various agricultural products, art works and other items (Read here for more info). Be prepared that you will have to pay custom fees and taxes when shipping parcels internationally. Also decide on whether you want you customer to pay these fees (which is standard) or whether you will take responsibility yourself to make the price more attractive.
Route into the market
There are various ways in which you can enter a market abroad, depending on the level of involvement you wish to have. The methods of entering a foreign market are generally broken down into direct and indirect selling. With direct selling you take responsibility for every aspect of the process. It is the riskiest and most time-consuming method of exporting, but also offers potential to achieve maximum profit and long-term growth. With indirect selling you export to a distributor in a foreign market who then sells your product. By doing this you are less exposed to risk and have a well-established company doing the leg work for you in the foreign market, however you may have to sell at a lower rate so that the distributor can still sell your products at a competitive price.
Knowing international shipping costs
Sometimes the cost of shipping your products overseas can be off putting, that why its important to shop around for the best deal. Depending on the size of your parcel and the country you are sending it to there are a lot of variations for the cost of shipping. By using a shipping comparison site such as Parcel Hero you can easily compare the cost of shipping different sized parcels to various countries using different couriers. This is also an opportunity to see if shipping your product is profitable and worth it. To give you some peace of mind, think about getting insurance on your international shipments, especially if you are selling high value and/or fragile items.
Proper packaging is an important aspect of sending any products out to customers, but when sending them overseas its even more important. When exporting overseas your parcel is more likely to visit more depots and get offloaded at more points than if it was sold domestically. This unfortunately does increase the chances of items becoming damaged or undone in transit. For peace of mind that your parcel will reach its intended location damage free, ensure that your product has adequate protection, such as being encased in a double wall box or shipping box and protected internally with packaging such as loose fill or bubble wrap. On top protecting your products, check if there are any regulations on the type of packaging you need to use, as some items require specialised containers for transport.
It’s important to include a return address in case there is a problem with delivery and the parcel needs to be sent back to you without any hassle or charges. Also make sure you have a clear policy set out for returning items, so you are prepared for these situations.
There can be a lot to consider when thinking about shipping your products overseas, but we hope that by reading this guide you have a better understanding of how to approach it and make it successful!