Cross Border Shipping: What You Need to Know

Cross border shipping

You're ready to grow into target markets abroad. But are you prepared to take on the complexities of cross border shipping?

Here's what you should know to turn your international growth into a financial success.

Domestic growth alone is a vexing challenge. You didn't curb your growth initiatives then, so why should you now? But you need to understand the barriers before you begin shipping across borders.

The most important factor is the extra cost to your customers and your business. Shipping domestically has expenses that add on to the cost per shipment. That means the cost of transportation, taxes, and other fees.

You will compound costs when shipping abroad. You must factor foreign taxes and other fees that will add to the original transaction. You need to prepare for more transit, handling, and management expenses.

Pitfalls to Avoid in Cross Border Shipping

Cross-border selling is one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. But the cost to ship abroad is discouraging for most U.S. businesses.

Your foreign competitors may already have a foothold in the market. They may offer customers more competitive shipping rates as well. If you're new to the game, educate yourself about the fiscal and domestic factors in your target markets.

You must also educate yourself about other U.S. competitors. Those companies facing similar shipping challenges may nonetheless be more established.

You must identify under-served markets and those with restrictions on U.S. products. In any market, you will have some paperwork to do. Completing official information incorrectly results in fines or even seizures of your products.

You're entering a complex and competitive landscape. Choose the right methods and partnerships so your growth doesn't work against you.

7 Critical Factors When Shipping Across Borders

The requirements of cross border shipping will differ from country to country. You must educate yourself about documentation and taxes associated with each.

There are several key subjects to consider for every region. Look at the following critical factors when considering new markets. You'll know whether growth in these areas is best for your business.

1. Identifying Target Markets

If you're considering selling across borders, you may have target markets in mind. But reaching all potential customers might not be in your best interest. Reaching all viable markets at once may not be economical either.

Some countries have harsher restrictions on U.S. imports than others. For example, India strictly regulates the sale of U.S. used goods and textiles so as not to conflict with local production. Avoid selling to countries where your product is similar to a key export.

2. Product Qualifications

You're used to paying shipping costs associated with size, weight, and special requirements. Those same aspects will influence transactional and regulatory costs abroad. Those costs will roll over into your sales prices, which may not be economical for customers.

The way in which you package and ship products in the U.S. may not be economical with cross border shipping. Evaluate how you can package products more efficiently. Consider whether certain shipping alternatives cost less.

Consider partnering with a parcel forwarding company. They help you manage complex challenge associated with your marketplace. They manage delivery solutions while you focus on staying competitive as well.

3. Duties and Taxes

You will encounter unique duties and taxes to every country you ship. If you're shipping to multiple countries this becomes quite complex. You can create an internal solution or partner with an industry expert to manage these challenges.

Your biggest challenge is balancing these costs with sales prices in these countries. You must determine whether it's economical for you to engage certain markets. Local governments implement these costs so that only desirable and non-disruptive goods cross their borders.

4. Documentation Preparation

You must educate yourself on the documents required for shipping abroad. Just as with duties and taxes, every country is different. You may need to update this information periodically as well.

Making mistakes can lead to fines or even disrupt your business. Some third-party solutions manage documentation in addition to other cross border shipping challenges.

If you're shipping to only one new country, you might choose to manage this in-house. If you anticipate international growth, adopting a holistic solution is a better option.

5. Local Vendors and Distributors

Don't overlook the challenge of distributing sold items locally. If you're providing ship-to-home services, you must make the experience as painless as possible for customers.

Package forwarding and quick shipping services simplify this process for you and your customers. The right partner will quickly lower any barriers to delivering your products on time without interference.

Customers expect high-quality service from retailers, no matter their location. You need to meet those expectations against local competitors. Ensure you can do this before investing in your cross border shipping strategy.

6. Mode of Shipping

What types of transit will you use to ship products? How do the costs differ from country to country?

There are variables associated with the means of your shipping. You must determine if each is reliable for your customers. You must determine the risks of choosing certain methods as well.

Some types of transit will be more expensive. Those modes of transit may not be economically viable. But the demand in your target markets might outweigh those costs.

Find a shipping solution that will simplify distribution. It should be reliable and minimize disruption to your business. You can satisfy customers and minimize risk simultaneously.

7. Special Services for Freight

Your customers may have unique demands to which you must respond. This can complicate shipping across borders.

Find solutions that give you flexibility when you have special demands. The complexities of shipping across borders shouldn't restrict you from pleasing your customers. These capabilities will keep you competitive in new markets.

Increasing Business Value with International Forwarding

You want to provide your customers with satisfying experiences. But you can't break into new markets by adding costs and difficulties to new customers.

HMHShip improves international selling for you and your customers. We provide holistic solutions that improve online shopping right down to delivery.

Contact us for answers to all cross border shipping questions and get started today.