The Ultimate Guide to International Delivery
Have you ever shipped a package and then wondered if it was sent via the Pony Express? Or maybe it took so long you wondered if they invented a special Snail Express and put your package on it.
Joking aside, sometimes it seems to take way too long for international delivery. Does it really need to be that way?
No, it doesn’t.
Transportation these days is fast. There’s no reason you can’t get a package to almost anywhere in the world in a couple of days.
The problem is that international delivery is a little more complicated than domestic. There are borders to cross, more paperwork to fill out, and customs to clear.
However, there are a few things you can do to help the process move along. Here are five tips to help speed up international delivery.
1. Choose Your Carrier with Care
The most important piece of the puzzle is choosing the correct carrier. It would seem that shipping times would be pretty standard from company to company. But they’re really not.
It depends on a variety of factors. Some examples are
- The volume of packages they handle
- The type of transportation they have available (hint: airplanes are faster)
- How often they send out shipments
- The type of technology they use
- Their relationship with customs
The customs issue is a big deal. A lot of delays in international delivery have to do with clearing customs.
To facilitate deliveries, courier companies develop relationships with customs in the receiving country. The relationship isn’t always the same.
That means that even shipping times with the same company may vary from country to country. It depends on what kind of deal they’ve worked out with that country’s customs department.
Do you tend to ship to a particular country or countries frequently? You want to check your potential courier’s average shipping times to those countries.
Package tracking is an important part of international delivery. Packages often change hands as they move around the world. Nothing gives you better peace of mind than knowing where your package is at all times.
Some couriers may charge extra for package tracking. That’s not always a bad thing, but you need to realize that it may be part of the cost.
When comparing companies, the cost is, of course, an important consideration. But if speed is very important to you, the cost may be secondary.
Decide which is most important when choosing your courier company. Understand that you will usually pay more for faster service.
2. Understand Your Shipping Options
Most courier companies offer a variety of shipping options. This is great for you because you can offer your customers more choices.
Some customers may be more concerned with cost and don’t mind a longer shipping time. Others may want their items as fast as possible and don’t mind paying for it. A flexible courier gives you the opportunity to be flexible with your customers.
A courier with superior customer service can also come in handy. You don’t have to figure out the best way to ship a package yourself.
You can simply call and talk to a representative from the courier service. They are well versed in shipping times and costs to the areas they ship. Tell them what factors are important to you and they will recommend the best shipping method.
3. Clearing Customs
As we’ve mentioned, clearing customs is often a factor in delaying international deliveries. Most courier services help a lot with this and handle any customs inquiries. They will work to ensure your package arrives on time.
However, there are a few things you can do to help facilitate quick customs clearance. The main thing is to completely and correctly fill out the paperwork. Most customs delays happen because the description is lacking or doesn’t match.
Countries have different regulations regarding items that they will accept. It’s unreasonable to expect you to know them all.
But it would be a good idea to know the regulations concerning your product. At least for the countries you ship to most often.
Also, be sure your customers are aware of customs and import taxes. It’s standard practice for the customer to pay the tax, but it’s good form to let them know.
Sometimes customers may ask you to mark the package as a gift. This lets them avoid paying the customs tax. This is illegal and you will be liable if customs figures it out.
While rare, packages do go missing in transit. It happens more often with international deliveries because they change more hands.
Insurance is a great backup plan to have in place in case something happens. But be smart about it. It may be more cost-effective to pay for the occasional stray package yourself. It primarily depends on the product you sell.
5. Currency Concerns
Set your shopping cart up to display prices in the correct currency for your customer. For example, for a customer in the UK, it would show pounds, in European Euros, etc.
This will help to avoid confusion about pricing when customers are purchasing internationally. Plus, to do their own conversions, customers have to leave your site.
Clearly display the shipping options that you offer for international delivery. Again, do this in the customer’s currency to keep things simple. People like websites that are clear and what you see is what you get.
This helps cut down on returns and disgruntled customers. The last thing you want to have to deal with is international return shipping. It’s a pain and expensive. Make your return policies clear to customers so they’ll know if they have to pay return shipping.
International Delivery Made Easy
Find a courier company that will make your international deliveries easy. This will cut down on shipping headaches and help your business run smoother.
For more information about lightning fast, reliable international courier service, contact us today. Focus on your business and let us take care of the shipping. It couldn’t be any easier!