If you are in the business of musical instrument retail, you may be missing out on a large percentage of the market by shipping instruments only within the United States.
European customers looking for high-quality instruments at an affordable price are flocking to US companies at astonishing rates. Shipping musical instruments internationally can be intimidating, but once you're familiar with the logistics involved and implement new shipping methods, you'll realize what a valuable component international shipping can be to your business. Let's take a closer look at how and why you should be shipping your instruments internationally.
A Largely Untapped Market
According to IBIS World, the US market for musical instruments is around $6 billion versus a $500 million market in the UK. So why are more Americans buying more instruments than UK citizens? It's not because there are more musicians in the US. In fact, the short answer to this question is price. Guitars, for example, are substantially more expensive in the UK than in the US. The reason being is that constant competition and demands for lower prices give sought-after items, like guitars, a lower price point.
Additionally, currency exchange rates are favoring the euro. This goes to explains why foreign interest, mainly from European countries, has increased in American guitar companies. If you're willing to ship your product overseas, you can tap into a very lucrative market that isn't showing any signs of slowing down.
Become a Shipping Pro
Now that you've decided to expand your outreach to an international clientele, you must make sure your global music-related shipments get there safely and intact without costing you a fortune. For detailed information on the do's and don'ts of shipping instruments, check out our previous blog. For now, let's look at some global considerations and ways to control your costs.
- Estimate Shipping Rates: It's essential for you and your customers to have an accurate idea of what shipping will cost for a specific music product. Doing this cuts down on last-minute order cancellations and increases transparency and trust for your customers. If you are loyal to a particular shipping company, use the shipping calculator from their site. Otherwise, ShipGooder has an accurate carrier comparison calculator that's easy to use.
- Negotiate With Carriers: The more packages you can fill your carrier's truck with, the more they will be willing to negotiate better deals for your shipping costs. Find out if weekly or daily routes would be more cost efficient. Ask questions and try to form a strong relationship with your carriers. The more you're willing to work with them, the more they'll be willing to work with you.
- Understand Your Products: Since shipping musical instruments is all about density, class, and MSFC numbers (the number that gives consumers a uniform pricing structure for specific products), it's vital that you familiarize yourself with all your products, especially your biggest sellers. This way you can have realistic expectations when it comes to shipping costs.
- Understand Custom Forms: Another reason to develop a relationship with your carrier is because they can help you understand custom forms, which can be daunting and overwhelming. Your carrier will have a Commercial Invoice, which is the primary form required by customs. The majority of the information needed is straightforward, like name, address, and the dimensions of the product. However, you will need to know the classification of your product, which you can determine here. When filling out the description portion for your product, be as specific as possible. For example, include the color, brand, make, model and serial number of each instrument. Also, remember that the country of origin section is looking for the location of manufacture, not the country of shipment. Lastly, never claim your item as a gift so that your customer can avoid duties and taxes- unless you'd like your merchandise confiscated.
Get Third-Party Shipping Insurance
So, is carrier insurance enough for shipping musical instruments internationally?
As you're comparing insurance options, keep in mind that the high cost of carrier insurance can end up hurting your profit margin. Third party insurance tends to be much more cost-effective and efficient than carrier insurance, especially when dealing with shipping instruments.
Choosing a third party shipping insurance company that allows you to create a custom plan with high coverage and no contract or service fees can end up saving you a significant amount of money in the long run. Purchasing third party insurance doesn't just protect you and your customer from the loss or damage of the instrument, it can simplify your whole shipping process. Some benefits of third party shipping insurance to look for include:
- Automated international risk analysis for shipping instruments
- Few international restrictions
- Significantly lower rates than carrier insurance
- Reimbursement of invoice amount rather than just sale value, to realize as much value as possible in case of loss
- Save you freight costs by insuring USPS international shipments
Musical instrument shipping insurance does more than give you peace of mind; it also can cut your costs and make the process of shipping musical instruments internationally much less stressful.
Once you've familiarized yourself with the system of international shipping, you can't ignore the benefits it would bring to your business. A little research and planning, along with the right third party insurance company, are all you need to start your new outreach. So begin shipping your musical instruments overseas right away, your new customers will thank you and your profit margins will go up.
Want to see if your music company could save on shipping insurance?