Episode 9: A Guide to Shipping as an International Seller
Wherever you are in the world, when you decide to sell online you have to consider a number of factors – from marketing to currency and, of course, shipping your products to the end customer.
Shipping is one of the biggest logistical factors that sellers need to consider, becoming a “make or break” for any brand in terms of customer satisfaction and viability in relation to both cost and timescales. With that said, there are now more solutions and third-party providers than ever before who offer shipping services around the world. All you have to do is navigate the process, identify your exact needs, and find the provider that best aligns with your business plan.
How to find a reputable shipping partner
As a seller, a major part of your expansion plan lies in how best to ship products to customers across your new markets and territories. Sellers are often familiar with the concept of incoming shipping and customs, with products arriving for them to sell locally – however, expanding their own business further afield brings with it a whole host of considerations in terms of the product journey and making sure it’s accepted in its destination.
Shipping partners, also known as shipping brokers, provide the service that marries your product and shipment with the company that will make sure it reaches its end destination. They will need to know what is being sold and where it’s going, and for most sellers present the added benefit of being able to negotiate the best terms and costs with shipping partners to ensure that the logistical fees lie within your budget.
And if all that feels a little overwhelming, that’s where GEE come in – with most of our seller clients able to use the information provided through our in-house 3PL service to ensure that the goods are received by one of our warehousing facilities for storage and the final outbound journey to the customer.
So, that’s how it all works – but what do you need to know before you start shipping products overseas?
Considerations before you start shipping overseas
Shipping, when done right, should enable you to provide your customers with an efficient service and delivery promise no matter where you – and they – are in the world. But in order to get it right, you need to present the correct documentation and tick all the boxes in terms of customs and incoming regulations in your chosen market.
- Seller registration number
- Label compliance
- Tax registration
- Ensure that any and all products and goods you are sending are not restricted in the destination country or region – including checking the ingredients listed in products
- A clear label and address for the company or individual who is receiving your goods. You are not there at the other end to manage and facilitate this delivery, so the information you provide needs to be accurate and detailed.
- Commercial invoice and shipping note, with the same information which allows them to be a clear match. These documents outline the cost price and value of the goods being shipped.
- Any relevant certification relating to the products being shipped.
- The correct commodity code which unites your shipment with your customs documents and duty tax.
- Make sure that goods are customs approved in advance of shipping, so that they do not spend any time held up at a customs check warehouse prior to being delivered.
- Accurate data relating to the size, weight, sender details, and product details of every shipment – so that deliveries can be accepted without issue once they reach the final destination.
Sellers should note that any inaccuracies in the data or information relating to a shipment can result in delays or in shipments being banned or turned away completely – which pushes fees skywards and can see your goods sat in customs containers for days or weeks on end.
What kind of shipping solution is best for you?
When it comes to shipping goods overseas, understanding the benefits of different shipping methods is key – from air freight to shipping containers.
Air: Shipping by air is undoubtedly the fastest way to ship goods around the world, however weight and quantity becomes a huge issue very quickly and can become costly when you have to separate shipments into lots of smaller deliveries.
Sea: When you send goods via shipping containers, it is worth considering the fact that they will move from port to port and so there will likely be some ongoing logistics that is needed to carry your goods to the warehousing destination where they will be received.
Rail: Often a much more sustainable but more limited option which can transport goods to certain places efficiently and at a lower cost.
The other option is to of course source your products within the target region, i.e., finding a stockist who is based in Europe and can handle your deliveries directly without them ever coming to your home continent or country. This method of direct delivery from the manufacturer can save a ton on customs and import duty tax if it is delivered by road and can help sellers to compete with local businesses as well as deliver more efficient delivery.
The long and short of it is, a reputable and high quality shipping partner and broker will help you to identify the best method for your business and your products and will work to ensure you get the best rate with every shipment – all whilst handling much of the complex paperwork and backend admin for you.
Why work with GEE?
Here at Global E-commerce Logistics, we don’t shy away from the complexities of an expanding business – in fact, we revel in the challenges and offer a wide range of solutions that allow you to move between EU and UK shipping destinations, which help you to navigate the challenges around customs and fees, and even provide the highest quality warehousing and 3PL services around.
When we work with clients and sellers, we make sure that you understand the cost of shipping from day one – not just in terms of the shipment itself but with regards to the customs taxes, the import VAT, and all the other fees which create the end-to-end service.
Finally, by offering a comprehensive 3PL service to clients, we not only facilitate the shipment from your country to the destination where your customers live – we also house them in the correct storage facilities and manage the ongoing delivery of products to the end customers who purchase them.
Our 3PL service is something that will be explored in more detail during next week’s webinar – and in the meantime, why not check out the full webinar which supports this blog.
Week 9 – How to ship your good from the US to Europe – made easy! – YouTube