Introducing International Shipping to Your Business Is Tricky

Logistics will always be complicated. Your head will always be full of hidden charges, damaged products, and lost packages. Delivering the parcel to a customer is a tedious process, and many things can go wrong. Even before your first shipment, you might find yourself having problems with the paperwork. You’re often desperate to decode a series of customs guidelines, charges, and logistics.

Once the parcel arrives, you might also have to deal with another set of challenges. That can include out-of-control and hidden fees. Every shipping problem has a solution. You, as an entrepreneur, shouldn’t only focus on promoting and marketing your products. You also have to ensure the packages arrive at your customer’s doorsteps.

This article is a guide that will teach you about the most common shipping problems and solutions you can use to address each one of them.

Handling an International Return

Handling returns can be challenging, especially if they’re from an international customer or market. You might have to deal with tedious returns, late shipments, and other added risks that stem from this problem. To streamline the process, you should reduce the chances of returns by ensuring all the product’s pictures and descriptions are accurate and precise on your website.

Then, implement an international returns policy, factoring in the extra time needed to handle incoming and outgoing deliveries. Gather information on all returns to identify the problems related to deliveries to certain countries or particular products.

Items Not Approved by Customs

Items getting stuck at customs is one of the problems that can delay deliveries. Most parcels get stuck at customs due to different reasons, including the following:

  • Incorrect labeling information
  • Forgotten or unsettled taxes
  • Banned or restricted products

You’ll also have to settle security fees for screening, advancement fees for paying the taxes and duty, and handling or clearance fees to clear your parcel for delivery. Make sure that the item doesn’t violate the country’s restrictions or prohibitions. You also have to attract the correct paperwork and settle the customs costs for a quick shipment.

If customs have already confiscated your parcel, contact your logistics company for more information about the problem. Try to ask if you missed something, the paperwork is correct, or you have outstanding taxes to settle. You have to be quick to get the parcel delivered to your customers.

An Unexpected Shipping Charge

Delivering to international customers is more expensive than shipping to local buyers. Hence, you’ll have to include the shipping charges in your budget. Most problems can result from unexpected costs that appear due to a lack of preparations. One example is a company adding a surcharge for taxes, customs clearance, fuel, or delivery in extended or remote areas.

It’s best to educate yourself about the charges involved in international shipping. That can include taxes, importing and exporting duties, or more for the countries where your parcel is delivered. It’ll also be helpful if you have to handle international returns because you’ll be the ones to bear the customs clearance fees and taxes. 

Issues Related to Packaging

Incorrect packaging will lead to the parcel getting damaged or rejected by your logistics company. Labels can also come off, making it hard to find the address. If that happens, it might cause a failed delivery. To make the shipment more cost-efficient, don’t use excess packaging materials. You shouldn’t add more weight or increase its size.

You’ll have more chances of avoiding this problem if you follow your courier’s packaging guidelines. Use the required pallet, box, or envelope. Then, tightly pack the product, with little to no room for them to move around. In addition, check if the label is secured and a customer’s address is precise.

If another company is handling packaging and picking, make sure to regularly check the parcel so that it matches your company’s standards.

Understanding Local Regulations

Each logistics provider has its regulations for international shipping. Lists of restricted or banned items, labeling formats, or weight or size restrictions differ. Duties and taxes also vary, depending on the trade agreements, value, and country of origin. Ignoring one of these factors will only lead to problems and additional charges.

Educating yourself with their shipping guidelines will streamline the process. If you’re working with multiple shipping companies, use a software program that seamlessly integrates all couriers to get a real-time overview of your international shipments.

Logistics isn’t always easy, but these solutions for the problems you’re dealing with can make the process more manageable. Using a few quick answers to address concerns will prepare your company for whatever the shipping process throws at you.

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