Preparing for International Shipping: Packing Orders
Packing international shipments is a lot like packing domestic shipments—except some of the parameters are different. We recommend confirming specific regulations of the countries you’re going to ship to, as maximum weight and box sizes will vary by country.
Some specific points to be sure to address:
- Regardless of carriers, all copies of the customs form must be included with the box or filed electronically if allowed by your carrier.
- Make sure to use the clear envelope on the box and slide the customs forms inside—do not stick all copies directly to the box.
- The business case for optimizing package size and weight is different for international shipments due to the much higher costs.
- It may be worth the additional materials and labor costs to consider better-fitting boxes and lighter packing materials
- The amount of savings on shipping costs may even be worth reducing product packaging or splitting one shipment into two.
- It’s safe to assume a generally bumpier trip for international packages, so don’t skimp on cushioning, and consider packaging moisture-sensitive products in a sealed plastic bag inside the main package.
Items you need on-hand to ship international orders:
- Ensure you have all the required packing materials and forms on hand.
- Do a final run-through with your carrier representative(s) to be sure you are complying with their requirements.
- Ensure your customer support staff is trained on how to support international customers, especially when it comes to returns.
- Place a test international order to be sure that everything has been accounted for before you flip the switch for your customers. (You don’t have to ship it, but it doesn’t hurt).