8 International Shipping Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Are you looking to ship something internationally?
While shipping internationally is pretty simple in practice, there are some mistakes that you need to avoid. Avoiding these mistakes will help ensure that your item arrives at its destination safe and sound.
What mistakes do you need to avoid?
Check out this guide to discover the top international shipping mistakes and how to avoid them.
1. Forgetting to Research Custom Regulations
Forgetting to research custom regulations is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when shipping items internationally.
Customs regulations vary greatly between country to country. So, what you may be able to ship freely to Japan, you may not be able to ship freely to Latvia. If you don’t research the regulations beforehand, you might find that your shipment never makes it across customs.
Also, if something gets confiscated by custom authorities, there’s little to no chance of you ever being able to get it back. So, before you begin shipping internationally, do your homework on the customs rules and regulations of each country.
2. Miscalculating How Long It Takes to Ship Your Items
Another common mistake people make is miscalculating how long it’ll take for their items to arrive at the recipient’s doorstep.
Typically, customers are fine waiting a little longer for an item that they really want. What they’re not fine with is being led to believe that an item is going to arrive in a few days, when in reality that item is going to take a few weeks to arrive.
When giving shipping time estimates, it’s best to err on the side of caution. To give your customers an accurate estimate, you should first look into the maximum amount of time your shipment could spend in transit.
You also want to pay attention to how much time elapses between when you receive a quote from an online freight forwarder and when you actually ship your package. If the quote expires before you ship, the estimated arrival time may be completely different. So, make sure you have the most updated quote before you send your items.
Also, remember that opting for airplane freight over ocean freight isn’t always faster.
3. Not Paying Attention to Cargo Insurance Details
Before you ship an item overseas, you also want to make sure that you pay very close attention to cargo insurance details.
Cargo insurance helps to protect against loss or damage to your freight during shipping. But, if you don’t look closely at the insurance details, you could end up paying.
When reading the fine print, you’ll notice that some insurers only cover certain types of goods. If your items don’t fall into what they cover, then you may be solely responsible for recouping the losses of a damaged item.
4. Offering Fixed-Priced Shipping
Fixed-price shipping seems like a good idea in theory. It gives your customers peace of mind knowing that no matter what they buy, they’ll be paying the same for shipping across the board.
However, fluctuating freight costs can put a huge dent on your bottom line. Instead, it’s better to offer variable rates for shipping and to have a shipping aggregator built into your online shopping cart. This way, customers will be able to receive the best shipping quotes before they check out.
5. Forgetting About Taxes and Duties
Keep in mind that when shipping items internationally, you’ll also need to pay for taxes and duties.
These costs vary from country to country, which makes building them into your product pricing a bit difficult. This is why it’s important to do your homework and add in the appropriate costs to country-specific shipping rates. Otherwise, you’ll be left holding an expensive bill.
6. Using the Incorrect Labels
Labeling things incorrectly is another common mistake businesses make when shipping products internationally.
If you don’t label your packages correctly, your business may incur unexpected losses and expenses. This can delay the delivery of packages and in some cases, lead to packages being returned.
When this happens, you’ll incur higher shipping charges, and there’s a chance of your goods being damaged in transit. You can prevent this type of shipping error by:
- Using a reputable freight company
- Double-checking your labels
- Understanding labeling requirements for different countries
International shipping can be a bit of a minefield, so make sure you understand your labels before you send your items.
7. Poorly Packaging Your Items
Improperly packaging items is another mistake that many businesses make when shipping internationally. Remember, international shipments tend to experience more handling than domestic shipments. This means that your international packages will likely need extra protection.
The best way to ensure that your items are packaged properly is to work with a reputable shipping company. Here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing an international shipping company:
- Ask for personal recommendations
- Make sure the company you choose can accommodate your list of specific goods
- Ask for price quotes beforehand
Also, make sure the company you choose has the level of insurance protection that you need.
8. Opting for the Lowest Freight Rates
While opting for the lowest freight rates may be tempting to save both you and your customers’ money, it’s not always the best idea.
When a company offers low freight rates, it generally means that their service is of low quality. This is why it’s so important to research companies and gather quotes so you can find one that offers something toward the middle ground.
Time to Avoid These International Shipping Mistakes
Now that you know what international shipping mistakes to avoid, you’ll be able to more easily ship items abroad. This will lead to a better international shipping experience for both you and your customers.
To learn more shipping tips, be sure to check back in with our blog.