Six Key Steps to Shipping a Package Internationally

So, your eCommerce business is growing. You are shipping your products all across the United States. Now what? 

Could it be time to consider expanding your eCommerce business internationally?

Shipping your products internationally can be a massive business growth opportunity. However, it does come with challenges. There are important things to know before you start shipping packages every which way. 

Here are six key steps you should take to ship your products internationally. 

1. Check for What (If Any) Restrictions Apply

The first step to take before sending a product overseas is to check the restrictions on the items you are selling. If you are sending something to another country, be sure that you can legally send that item to that country. 

If an item that is restricted or banned is sent anyway, it will be delayed—or worse—never reach your customer. Obviously, this will cause an issue for your business as it is sure to leave the customer dissatisfied with your service. Avoid this problem completely by only offering products internationally that you know can be legally shipped. 

Be sure to also check what duties and taxes may apply. This will help you in determining how much you should charge for international shipping or how much to mark up your products to compensate. 

2. Choose a Shipping Solution

There are thousands of courier companies across the world. The numbers can be overwhelming, and you may feel inclined to choose a “big name” because it is familiar. However, not all couriers are created equal, and there are strategies for finding the best quality shipping at the best rates. 

Depending on where in the world you are shipping to, there are different couriers that specialize in different areas. Finding these couriers is essential to giving your international customers the best customer service you can. 

Using a third-party logistics provider, such as Smart Parcel 24/7 can help you find the perfect courier for you. In fact, Smart Parcel 24/7 has a network of hundreds of couriers, meaning we can select a different courier for each leg of the journey if necessary, ensuring the lowest rates. 

3. Verify the Contact Information of Your Customers

A lot can happen to a package between the warehouse and your customers’ doorstep, especially if the package is being sent internationally. It has to pass over borders, through customs, and sometimes travel over air or sea. The last thing you or your customer want is for a package to go all that way and not make it to its destination. 

Yet, if the mailing address is wrong, even by a bit, the package may be delayed or lost. If this happens, it is best to get in contact with your customer ASAP, via email or phone, in order to uphold a good customer service experience. This is why obtaining more than just a correct mailing address but also the correct contact information during checkout is vitally important. 

It is also a good idea to provide a phone number and/or email address to the courier(s) used in the destination country. This can greatly reduce delayed or failed deliveries. 

4. Do the Right Paperwork

You will be required to fill out a commercial invoice for your courier(s) in order to get your products past customs in the destination country. The main purpose of this document is to provide a description and price for the item you are shipping. 

This allows customs to check what is in the package and apply any necessary taxes or duties. 

Smart Parcel 24/7 will print the documents required for your products, such as commercial invoices, along with your shipping labels, saving you time and effort. 

5. Find Out What Duties/Taxes Apply

If you would like to speed up the shipping process by reducing the amount of time it takes to get your packages sorted in customs, consider paying any necessary duties up front. In order to do this, you must know what duties and taxes apply to your products. If you have any questions regarding this, ask your courier or third-party logistics provider. 

6. Label and Send

The last step to take is labeling your packages and giving them to your courier. 

Smart Parcel 24/7 uses state-of-the-art technology to professionally label your packages, so they can be sent as quickly as possible. Have inventory that you aren’t quite ready to ship yet? We have warehouses across the United States, staffed with professional employees to store, track, and if necessary, kit your products before shipping. 

Whether you are a local business shipping with the US, or you would like to expand your reach internationally, Smart Parcel 24/7 is here to find you the quickest shipping solution at the best rate.