So, you got a new order! That’s great news. Payment has been received and you have to ship the item(s) to the buyer. Uh oh….it’s international!
Does this mean that you’ll have to spend a lot of hours organizing the appropriate paperwork, or pay an extremely high shipping cost? There are many questions that come to mind when taking on international shipment. International logistics can get tricky and therefore, knowing how to offer good international shipping solutions (without the burden) is essential for your business!
In order to facilitate your international shipping demands, I offer tips to avoid getting your packages held up at customs and to make sure that the process will run smoothly!
- Organizing the shipment on your own might be the first thought. After-all, you will save some money and control the process. If you go with this choice, you will have to do research before you ship. Which fulfillment location will you use? What about the customs clearance? Are there any country specifications? If you already have a headache, then you might want to choose a broker to handle your international shipments. There are countless choices of logistics companies that have the know-how to organize all the administrative operations for your shipment!
- Even if you decide to work with a freight forwarder, you’ll have work to do. Provide the forwarder with all the details including collection and delivery address, dimensions and weight, contact details of the consignee etc. It looks simple, but the devil is in the details. I have recently heard a friend of mine complaining because a package he sent to Austria was sent to Australia!!! The reason for that was the so called ‘’Alpha 2 code’’. Austria’s code is AT while Australia’s is AU. So be careful with the details!
- When it comes to international shipments, proper packaging is an essential factor. You don’t want your orders to arrive at their destination broken, soaked or damaged. You are responsible to ensure smooth delivery of the product to the buyer. A pallet is always the safest option, but if you are shipping a smaller parcel there are many innovations in packaging such as dollies, foldable crates, ESD Euro Containers etc. that can offer effective packing solutions.
- When it comes to international shipping you need to make sure you understand the rules and regulations of exporting and you need the proper shipping documents to successfully deliver goods and make money. There is a variety of international shipping documents that can be included in shipments. Here are a few standard export documents you need for international shipping:
- Commercial Invoice
- Bill of Lading
- Certificate of Origin (sometimes referred to as a CO)
- Export license
- Export Packing List
Don’t worry, if you’re careful and take the time to provide the correct documents, your shipment will not be too horribly time consuming, and you will complete a successful transaction with another GearSource buyer! Happy (International) Selling!
GearSource Logistics Team