Going Global

Brandon Draga

More than ever, we exist in a global market. From large-scale manufacturers to small-scale retailers, business is being conducted from one end of the earth to the other. It only makes sense to consider accessing global marketplaces as a business owner. A recent study by Statista shows that over 50% of all global consumers order products from overseas. In addition, according to DHL, international sales average higher value than domestic sales and can result in 60% faster growth for your business. Navigating international shipping is hardly an easy task. Here we’ll look at some of the finer points of getting your goods anywhere they need to go.

Know Your Market

Like any decision for your business, expanding into the global market is not a decision to make lightly. It is essential to do the proper research to ensure that you expand into markets that will offer a worthwhile ROI. Using website analytics tools is a great way to gain insight into which markets or countries are showing an interest in your business.

Resist the urge to expand too quickly. Focus initially on one or two marketplaces that you can confidently grow into. Studies have shown that many consumer groups will feel more confident purchasing local goods over similar foreign products, so it is essential to research consumer trends to ensure demand for your products.

 Learn the Rules to Play the Game

International shipping laws are constantly changing, so it is worth your time to stay informed of any changes that might impact your chosen global marketplaces. One uncrossed “t” or undotted “i” could mean that your shipment doesn’t ship.

First and foremost, research your destination country’s packaging regulations. As with much international shipping, these regulations can vary from country to country and sometimes from carrier to carrier. For instance, the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures is a global set of guidelines specifically for using wood as a packaging material for export.

Lastly, but certainly not least, be sure that all your documentation is correct. Typical customs documents include a Commercial Invoice, Export Packing List, and Certificate of Origin.

  • A Commercial Invoice is used for value appraisal and calculating duties and taxes. It must include retailer name and address; recipient name and address; quantity, description, and price of all items; terms of sale and payment; and mode of transport.
  • An Export Packing List is similar to a domestic shipment packing list but includes the mode of transport; carrier information; and weight, dimensions, quantity, and type of each package.
  • A Certificate of Origin lists the country or countries where all products in the shipment were produced, manufactured, and/or obtained. This must be signed by the retailer and occasionally the local chamber of commerce.

When filling out this documentation, be thorough and accurate. In some cases, such as shipping to India, much of this information is required directly on the shipping label. Failure to provide correct information could result in your shipment being delayed or even held.

The result? Fees known as Detention and Demurrage fees. Worse still, these fees are only going up: A report by Container xChange saw the D&D fees across the world increase by an average of 104% in the past year. The more information, the less potential for customs hiccups and unnecessary expenses.

Choose Your Carrier Wisely

Knowing what and where you’re shipping is vital, but knowing who and how is equally important. Choosing the right carrier and method of transport is integral in ensuring that you don’t overpay or underdeliver.

Let’s start with the how; depending on what and where your options for the best means of transport can vary. For instance, shipping by air is undoubtedly the fastest overseas option, but often that speed comes with a premium; air shipping can be three to six times more expensive than sea shipping.

On the other hand, shipping by sea is often a more cost-effective option but is certainly not without drawbacks. Aside from the fact that shipping by sea increases your shipping time by weeks, there is also a higher risk of damaged goods from choppy seas and time in transport, especially for fragile shipments.

Further, it is crucial to keep in mind that different carriers specialize in different shipping forms. The transporter you use to ship a pallet to New York by truck is not likely to be the best choice to air ship a parcel to Beijing. Choosing the right carrier for the job can save you time and money and ensure that your customers have the best experience possible.

Of course, there are other factors to consider when choosing a carrier. For instance, 93% of consumers expect to receive visibility updates on their shipments, so a transporter that offers end-to-end tracking on international shipping will be able to keep you and your customers up to date through the whole process. That peace of mind can go a long way in building lasting business relationships.

Are You Ready to Go Global?

International shipping has become an inescapable reality for nearly every modern business, and with so much to consider when shipping outside your borders, it’s crucial to do it right.

  • Choose the right market for your business; research your web analytics and consumer trends to ensure a worthwhile ROI.
  • Be clear on the shipping regulations in Canada and the destination country.
  • Ensure that all your documentation is thorough and accurate; more information means less potential for error.
  • Choose the best method for shipping your goods, accounting for time and cost.

Ensure that you also select the best carrier for the job, whichever way you choose. Sourcing your rates from multiple carriers can be too slow, difficult, and time-consuming, so streamline the process by using Freightcom technology that can integrate, consolidate and improve the entire end-to-end shipping process. 

Brandon Draga is a full-time content writer at Freightcom, the leading shipping solution for businesses in Canada. When Brandon is not writing content to help businesses with their shipping needs, he can be found at local skate parks or writing fantasy novels.

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