It's a big world out there, which means big e-commerce opportunities await. Online shopping offers more opportunities than ever before for merchants to reach customers across the globe. Stepping into global trade can have a significantly positive impact on a business's profitability.
However, with global trade come the challenges of international shipping. From unexpected fees to difficulty with customs, international shipping can quickly turn into a headache. Thankfully, there are ways to overcome these hurdles. Below you'll find the five most common international shipping challenges and how to avoid them.
Challenge #1: Different shipping carriers have different guidelines and regulations
One of the most significant international shipping challenges is the fact that different carriers have varying guidelines and regulations for shipping packages globally. Size and weight restrictions can vary widely as well as labeling formats and lists of prohibited items. Additionally, taxes and duties vary depending on the country of origin, value, and trade agreements. All these factors create room for additional fees and complications to arise.
To avoid unnecessary fees and keep international shipments on-time, take the following steps.
Familiarize yourself with international shipping guidelines. You'll find regulations for some of the most common international shipping carriers under the following links:
If you're using a variety of different shipping companies, Cabrella's business intelligence software can seamlessly integrate almost all carriers to give you a real-time overview of your international shipments. Learn more about Cabrella's multi-carrier shipping software.
Challenge #2: The shipping fees are complicated
Unfortunately, price structures aren't always straightforward, especially if you're using express shipping services. There are a few unavoidable surcharges, but others can easily be avoided. One fee to be aware of is the fuel surcharge. The cost of fuel will have the most significant impact on the price you pay for logistics services. The price of fuel can vary tremendously from week to week and depending on the country. The remote area surcharge is another unavoidable fee that can apply to deliveries outside of the standard pickup zone.
Following are tips that can help you better understand international shipping fees:
- Use a shipping calculator. Each carrier has an online calculator to determine your international shipping costs. These calculators will tell you exactly how much your shipping will be and help you avoid any surprise fees.
- Avoid failed deliveries by ensuring the accuracy of customer address information. Costs for re-attempting delivery, return fees, and address corrections can add up and become costly.
- Be aware of the delivery duty paid (DDP) surcharge. Paying this surcharge could save your business money and customer service issues in the long-run. By selecting the delivery duty unpaid (DDU) options, your package risks getting held up by customs, which could be even more expensive.
Challenge #3: My Shipping Insurance only covers the US and Canada
Perhaps one of the most common international shipping challenges many international retailers face is that their shipping insurance only covers the USA and Canada. As shown on the map below, there are other great market opportunities outside of the USA and Canada.
Finding an insurer that offers comprehensive coverage for all carriers and countries can be one of the most challenging aspects of global trade. However, there's no need to work with multiple insurance companies.
Simplify your shipping insurance by doing the following:
- Insure your packages with Cabrella shipping insurance. Cabrella is a third-party insurer that insures parcels in over 180 countries. You can receive coverage for nearly every carrier, including postal couriers usually excluded from other shipping insurers. Cabrella even insures USPS internationally, whereas other insurers don't. Additionally, you can save up to 90% on shipping costs by insuring your parcels with Cabrella.
- If you're already using insurance from a carrier, Cabrella's supplemental shipping insurance can offer further protection. Cabrella's extended protection covers types of loss not generally covered by your carrier's standard insurance policy. Cabrella's insurance will protect you from losses resulting from natural disasters, multiple shipments to the same address, shipments with non-approved carriers, and much more. Find out more about Cabrella's international shipping insurance coverage.
If you're shipping to Europe, check out our blog: 6 Quick Tips for eCommerce Businesses Shipping to Europe.
Challenge #4: My shipment is stuck at customs
Shipments getting stuck in customs is one of the most common international shipping challenges. Most major carriers will have online resources to help you manage the requirements for customs.
Additionally, business owners should take the following steps to get their parcels through customs quicker:
- Become familiar with the list of prohibited items in the destination country.
- Provide accurate information about the value of an item. Customs may hold items if they're thought to be worth more than the declared amount.
- Use tracking services that send frequent alerts about the status of your shipment. This way, you'll find out immediately if your parcel has landed in customs. Cabrella offers state-of-the-art tracking services that help you gain the best overview of all your international shipments from one convenient dashboard.
- Contact the courier directly to find out how you can resolve the issue faster. There may be outstanding taxes that require payment or incomplete paperwork.
Challenge #5: Lost and damaged products cost time and money
Sometimes things go wrong during the delivery process that can't be avoided using third-party logistics services. One of the most frustrating international shipping challenges is replacing lost and damaged goods. When a parcel arrives broken, bent, or smashed, customers turn to the retailer for solutions. By purchasing shipping insurance, you can easily protect your business from losing time and money due to damaged shipments. With third-party logistics insurance, you can provide the quality customer service and peace of mind that customers expect.
For more information on whether shipping insurance is right for you, check out our blog: Is eCommerce Shipping Insurance Worth the Cost?
Cabrella offers comprehensive shipping insurance to meet the needs of individual business owners. Their business intelligence software helps you manage your shipments across the globe and reduce your shipping risks by consistently monitoring the risks of specific areas and ZIP codes.
Are you ready to lower the risks associated with global shipping? Request a quick quote from one of Cabrella's insurance professionals to see your savings today!