Tips on Cost-effective International Shipping for Any Businesses

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By Lucia Liskova

Shipping products internationally may be difficult at first. There are many things to consider, foremost the carriers and their corresponding shipping services. Then there are shipping options and methods to configure together so that they work to your benefit. Then there is the cost to get the shipment abroad, and delivery options to take into consideration. International shipping is not just about getting the product to the customers, it is about making international shipping also cost-effective for both parties. And, yes, possibly eco-friendly as well. 

1. Carrier Services

The most basic thing to understand about international shipping is which carrier is the most convenient to use. And which of their corresponding services to choose from. Carriers like to offer expedited shipping as it is their most expensive service. Businesses offer express delivery which promises the shopper to get their product delivered within the next 2-3 days. But, is this really necessary? Most shoppers do not mind waiting extra time to get their delivery. Expedited shipping is overpriced and is not good to use for bulk shipments. So unless you work with sensitive packages containing food then there is no need to rush your delivery. 

Many carriers offer discounts for business owners if they ship in bulk. Also, not many people know that you can negotiate rates with your carriers if you ship frequently and have a business. FedEx and UPS support this policy very openly. 

The majority of carriers also offer free packaging supplies for business owners. Even though their design is very basic, at least it is eco-friendly and reusable. 

2. Shipping on Product Pages 

Displaying shipping costs directly under the products on your product pages decreases cart abandonment rate because customers know exactly what it will cost them to get the product delivered to them. Thus it can be said that having shipping costs displayed on your product page can contribute to increased sales. An additional bonus is that as the shoppers already know the shipping costs, there will not be any unpleasant surprises at the checkout for them. Surely, this makes your business look more user-friendly. 

3. International Shipping and Landed Cost 

Landed Cost is also the name of the shipping feature that can be commonly found on any e-commerce platform. It is an important feature when it comes to international shipping. Many businesses use landed cost extensions to help them calculate those costs. The calculations can be done manually as well, but when they are automatized it is much easier to manage them. I am not going to talk about the feature itself but the general landed cost now. What are they and why are they important. Products shipped internationally will have to go through customs duty, will be subject to value-added taxes, fees, and possibly import licenses. All these costs are called commonly landed costs. 

Calculating landed cost is important as miscalculations can lead to small profit margins or even profit losses. These costs show where cuts in the supply chain can be made. Landed costs add trustworthiness to your website, as you inform your customers in advance what their cost will be, avoiding surprising them with the additional cost upon the package delivery.

4. Multi-origin Shipping 

Do you ship products from various locations across Europe to your customers? If yes, try to automate the whole shipping process and divide the order in the way that the products will be shipped from the location closest to your customer by default. Some of the e-commerce platforms allow this option in their default shipping package. Inquire if the platform you use offers this within their package. Because this way you can obtain one unified shipping rate instead of getting separate rates for each order and possibly paying for the whole shipping yourself.

5. Delivery Options

Many business owners let their customers choose from the list of delivery options displayed on the e-commerce site. However, only some know that even delivery options can be cost-effective. How? 

First, the scheduling of delivery itself is important. Showing estimated delivery dates at the checkout will save you from paying extra costs for failed deliveries, and rescheduling. Some carriers might charge for this extra service. 

A great delivery option is to offer in-store pickup or curbside pickup. Unlike an in-store pickup, curbside pickup can be performed directly from your warehouse to cut the shipping cost altogether. In the case of in-store pickup, the shipping costs are usually smaller than those of home delivery. Letting your customers choose their preferred delivery option shows your customers that you care about their time and that you are flexible.

6. Use of Automated Shipping Plugin 

To automate international shipping it might be useful for businesses to get shipping software or plugin where the whole shipping process is fully automated.  Shipping software can help you get and display accurate and competitive rates at checkout, and make your shipping more cost-effective. Many plugins offer a free trial to take advantage of before committing to anything.

Summary

International shipping is more tricky than domestic shipping. It requires more attention to details, from choosing carriers to shipping options and delivery. All these little tips written above can make your international shipping more cost-effective. Even smaller details like showing delivery dates and landed cost at the checkout can make a whole lot more difference. 

About the Author

Author Lucia Liskova is Marketing Manager at Calculates by Amasty shipping SaaS for e-commerce. Get in touch with us on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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