With so much business growth dependent on companies going global, more business owners than ever are trying to expand their reach to international customers. If you've been weighing your options for international business, one of the first things that you need to consider is how you'll get your products to international customers. International shipping requires different preparation and planning than domestic shipping does. Here are some of the things that you'll need to think about as you prepare to take your company's business beyond the domestic borders.
You probably already have a pretty good system in place for packaging your domestic shipments. As a result, you know that it's important to have your products packaged in such a way that they can't shake around in the box or sustain damage in transit. However, when you're dealing with international shipments, remember that it's a much greater distance and a lot more handling.
Invest in outer shipping boxes that are strong enough to withstand prolonged shipping and heavy handling. When possible, and if it fits your budget, opt for heavy plastic or heavily reinforced cardboard boxes.
Then, invest in plenty of insulating material for the inside of the box. You'll want outer shipping boxes that are large enough for you to encase your product package in thick, durable styrofoam forms or something similar to keep it secure during shipment.
International shipping requires more paperwork per shipment than domestic packages. You'll have to provide customs forms, accessible commercial invoices for customs to review, and any other documentation that the destination country may require.
Do your research, familiarize yourself with all of the documents that will be necessary, and establish a shipping procedure that ensures that all of these records are printed and provided for each of your international shipments. Missing any of the required documents can result in packages being delayed, returned, or confiscated.
Especially if you've gotten comfortable with your domestic shipping routine, you may not worry too much about insuring your shipments within the country. However, if you are going to start shipping internationally, it's important to work with an international shipping insurance provider to be sure that all of your packages are adequately insured just in case something happens. Remember that the journey is much longer and there are a lot of checkpoints along the way, which creates a greater risk of package loss if you aren't properly prepared.