1. Do your homework. Really think about the kind of items you might want to sell or items in your current product assortment that will be easiest to sell and ship internationally. Are these items:
· Saleable to customers in the country to which you want to sell. Is this your target market?
· Lightweight (easier and most cost-effective to ship)
· Not fragile or gets easily damaged in the shipping process
2. Learn about shipping rules and regulations. Some countries have minimal shipping/import regulations; others have more. You need to know what kinds of products you are allowed to ship to each country you want to sell to and what forms that need to accompany the shipment. I have sold millions of products to multiple countries and always learn something new about that country’s regulations. More often than not, I learned the hard way by my goods being returned back to the U.S. A good place to research shipping regulations is by visiting this free import/export tool on UPS.
3. Always think big but start off small. Try working with a nearby country similar to your native language that will help make your initial move to international selling a tad bit easier. It especially helps with customer service and communicating with the customers.
4. Make sure you update your website about free shipping costs. While your home page may include a banner stating “Free shipping for orders over $50,” make sure once you sell internationally you change the copy to “Free shipping for U.S. orders.” This also alerts visitors to your website that you sell internationally.
5. Be completely transparent about your shipping costs. If the customer is paying for the shipping costs indicate if they will also be paying for the duties and taxes as well. Most international customers purchasing from the US are often aware of the extra taxes & duties they need to pay for associated with their international orders. If you can afford to absorb those costs on your own, it may put you ahead of the competition. But only advertise that extra if you can afford to do so! If you can’t you must pass those costs onto the customer. Shipping costs are one of the top reasons why businesses become unprofitable and fail!
Like these shipping tips? Make sure you check out our FREE mini e-course on getting your Website into Shipping Shape.