Should I Be Shipping Internationally? #eCommerceQuestions

By Rob Zaleski
Jul 12, 2017
Shipping Internationally

In a word: probably. When it comes to shipping internationally, there are numerous considerations to juggle. But mind the fact that the vast majority of the world’s population is NOT in the United States, and you see you’re missing out on a lot of potential revenue.

Let’s cover some points to ponder when it comes to shipping internationally for your business.

What holds buyers back?

First things first, you must consider whether people from other countries will presumably buy your products. That means assuaging their concerns and making the process as easy as possible. A recent report from Oracle and Bronto (form-fill required) shows the top barrier to purchasing products internationally for buyers in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States is shipping costs.

Barriers to buying internationally

This is an area where you can really step up and stand out. By fully understanding the best methods of shipping internationally, you can offer buyers the most competitive options and potentially gain their business. Make sure your shipping costs are clear and easy to understand. Take it a step further and tack on expedited options and free returns, and you’ve eliminated three of the top five reasons people wouldn’t buy your products from another country!

Who are you selling to?

According to the same report, one out of five people in the US and UK consider themselves loyalists, meaning they would not purchase outside their own country, and those loyalists skew female. This means you have around 80% of people who would be willing to buy from you from another country, and that audience is slightly more male.

If you have something unique to offer them, your opportunity is even greater. When it comes to motivating people to buy internationally, a business that offers a unique product is the factor second only to better prices.

For example, any eCommerce retailer that sells unique, quality men’s products, especially something that caters to middle-to-younger aged men, should particularly be paying attention to these stats and consider selling internationally.

Interestingly, if you are a US seller, nearly half of those in surveyed countries say they would be willing to purchase from US merchants. Without surprise, Canada is much higher.

Shipping Internationally-international buyers

Opportunity is not without challenges

Consumers in every country are becoming more comfortable purchasing internationally, with cross-border online consumer purchasing increasing 28% a year projected to reach $1 trillion by 2020. As you can see, there is plenty to gain from selling to an international audience. You do have some very particular considerations to navigate, however.

  • Currency and language conversion – this can be a challenge, even if you’re only targeting a few countries to cater to, as language should often be localized and culturally sensitive (translations alone may not cut it)
  • Customs forms – there are different forms for different carriers and multiple versions per carrier
  • Added costs – you’ll need to consider duties/tariffs, taxes, and do your due diligence to optimize your shipping costs by choosing the right carrier service (larger shippers can ask us about discounted Global Post rates!)

These aspects are all covered in depth in our Guide to International Shipping, which you can download here for free.

The opportunity is great when it comes to selling your eCommerce products internationally if you’re willing to put in some extra work on your end.

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Rob Zaleski

Head of Brand at ShippingEasy
I'm a digital content and social media nerd with a passion for telling stories, helping connect people, and finding joy in the details.

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