But before I delve into these details, it is important to see why you need to tackle the intricacies of international delivery.
Namely, market websites have an inherent advantage in most international markets because most shopping-savvy nations have smaller populations than the U.S.. This means that you have less competition within those nations.
Niche sites”work” online due to access to the huge customer base in the U.S. For example, my novelty gift store could not work as a brick-and-mortar store because we would not have access to sufficient customers. However, it works online because we have access to the total U.S. population.
Niche sites do not fare too in smaller nations because there aren’t enough customers, thereby reducing the quantity of distributors eager to carry the goods they want to resell. Importing directly can be prohibitively costly when working with small quantities. And a shop based in Australia, for example, will have difficulty selling to clients in the U.S. unless its goods are completely unique and exclusive.
The point is that a U.S.-based niche site might not have a lot of competition in these countries. Consequently, if you sell an intriguing and market product combination, you should strongly consider offering your products for international shipping. There is a good chance you are one of very few companies offering your goods to this country.
If I can do it, you can do it. It is not as hard as you think. It simply requires learning a few things about international shipping and correctly informing your customers of transport expectations.
Harmonized Tariff Schedule Codes
You’ll have to acquire the harmonized tariff schedule (HTS) codes for each product you sell. This classification systems alarms customs agents about what is in the box and lets them evaluate proper duties and taxes. Do not think for a minute that you could get away shipping all your packages as”gifts” in order to prevent your clients paying taxes and duties.
So as to acquire HTS codes, you can try to find them out yourself (difficult ) or just ask your vendors to provide them for you (simple ). This conversation usually ends in one of three ways. They give you the code, they state they don’t have any ideathey tell you that you can not send their goods internationally for some reason.
When they don’t understand the HTS codes, let them learn. You are going to increase their earnings by selling their item internationally, so it is their responsibility to figure it out. U.S.-based makers can contact their regional U.S. Department of Commerce for help in discovering their HTS codes.
International Shipping Carriers
You have two choices: private carrier or postal carrier.
With a postal carrier (either the USPS or a cargo expeditor or consolidator) typically provides the cheapest cost. However, it seldom offers monitoring. These packages are typically delivered to the postal authority in the destination country that performs final delivery. So, the rate of missing packages can be very high in some countries. Also, don’t expect packages to arrive quicker than 15-20 times (sometimes it can take 45 days).
Consequently, you must buy insurance for these bundles. I Suggest U-PIC. In addition, I recommend that you make it very clear to your clients that this delivery process isn’t trackable. You also need to explain to them the process they will need to go through if the package not arrive. Namely, they will have to complete an affidavit form (usually a brief one-pager) from your insurance carrier so as to get a refund or replacement shipment.
In the long run, you have little recourse if the client file a credit card chargeback. However, your insurance carrier will pay for the cost of the merchandise and the delivery fee in the event of lost or stolen packages. You will only be out the chargeback fee. It is a risk worth taking.
Another shipping option is to use a private carrier such as FedEx, UPS, or DHL. DHL provides the lowest rates and best service. That is not opinion; that is fact. DHL is remarkable when it comes to international shipping. It’s that corporation’s bread and butter. FedEx and UPS are extremely costly, but all these carriers guarantee birth and supply detailed tracking.
We provide both options to our clients and allow them to choose.
Inform, Inform, Inform
Your customers aren’t experts on international delivery. They only need to plug their orders to the site and get your awesome products. However, you need to be quite clear regarding monitoring, estimated delivery times, as well as the extra duties and taxes they will need to pay upon delivery.
I strongly advise that you don’t pay the cost of duties and taxes yourself. You could open yourself up to enormous financial burden that’s hard to determine at time of purchase. Essentially, you can not simply add 15 percent to the cost of the order for taxes and duties. It varies depending on the HTS code of the product, the destination country, and the general value of the purchase.
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So, be extremely obvious that the fees are assessed by the customs authority in the client’s country and you can’t estimate these costs ahead of time.
Offering international shipping will open you up to more fraud. Unfortunately, we have yet to get a per-transaction fraud scoring firm that may offer useful guidance internationally. Maybe one will see this blog post and prove me wrong.
So, what we do is manually look at all international orders. When we locate a suspicious order, we contact the client directly and request additional details. 1 alternative is to ask the client to supply photos of the credit card in question (particularly the back of the card). This provides the phone number for your issuing bank. Oftentimes, you can have some luck calling the issuing bank to find out whether the card was compromised.
The truth is that the fraudsters often use fake email addresses rather than respond to your requests to find out more. Or, they will send you clearly Photoshop-altered or fake pictures. At times, we ask for a photo or a scan of a government-issued ID that shows the exact same address as the billing address they entered on their purchase.
Eventually, you’ll only get a”feel” for what is legitimate.
International delivery may feel overwhelming at first, but do not let these problems scare you away from expanding your business internationally. You can do it! The effort will be well worth it.