It's very easy for online businesses to make shipping mistakes that can unnecessarily increase their expenses. Even worse, if these mistakes aren't handled promptly and efficiently, they can result in businesses losing more money, time, and customers in the long run. That's why it's so important to make sure you're aware of all the shipping terms that may affect your online business.
To make sure you're operating on the right track, this guide will look at some of the most common mistakes online retailers make in cross-border shipping and show you how you can avoid them.
Avoid These 6 International Shipping Mistakes
Be sure to keep these common shipping mistakes in mind - you'll want to avoid them to protect your business.
1. Mistiming Imports and Exports
When it comes to cross-border shipping, timing is everything. If you’re trying it for the first time, it can be a little tricky and you might end up mistiming your imports and exports, leading to delays and unhappy customers.
Luckily, avoiding this mistake is easy. All you need to do is take the following steps:
- Get your shipping quotes at least a month before the date of shipment
- Make sure that you set up your shipments to match with your freight rate quotes
- Carry out research to get decent approximation of how long it takes to export and import from one country to the other
- Keep in touch with your freight forwarder
2. Failure to Insure Goods
Long-distance shipping is a dicey game, so if your business involves the international shipping of products, you need to be prepared for the uncertainties that come with it. Stolen goods, damaged cargo ships, accidents, piracy, natural disasters...these unforseen events can all lead to problems with your shipments, delays with cross-border deliveries, and if you forget to insure your products, you could be in for some substantial losses.
To avoid dealing with the fallout of uninsured shipments, you'll want to take the following steps:
- Understand your insurance options
- Understand the type of cargo you are importing or exporting
- Understand what your poential insurance policies cover - and what it doesn't
- Find out if there are special provisions in your chosen options that might mean your goods aren't insured
3. Opting for the Cheapest Freight Rates
It’s not a crime to look for affordable freight rates when shipping abroad. However, you should be careful about the type of "affordable" rates you look at. Some forwarders will charge unbelievably cheap rates, but their international shipping service leaves a lot to be desired, and they won't worry about making sure your packges reach their destinations in one piece.
Here's how to avoid shipping mistakes:
- Look into the company's reputation and identify any red flags
- Figure out how responsive the company's customer service is
- Read genuine reviews left by previous customers
- Look for reliable recommendations
4. Not Understanding Regulations
If you're in the business of shipping products from one country to the other, you'll quickly find that every country has its own regulations for cross-border delivery. If you don't have a clear understanding of these, you could stand to lost a lot of money when your goods are seized by the country's customs agency.
In order to avoid this shipping error, you should do the following:
- Ensure your package fulfills the requirements for passing through the destination country’s borders
- Have all your documentation ready and properly filled out
- Contact a trade attorney to further familiarize yourself with the country’s regulations
- Keep up to date with the country’s trade laws and custom requirements
5. Incorrectly Packaged Goods
No customer will be happy to receive damaged goods, especially if it's due to incorrect packaging. If products are not packaged properly for international shipping, the slightest movement or accidental fall could lead to your products being significantly damaged en route to your customers.
In order to fix this, you should do the following:
- Use appropriately sized boxes for your products
- Make sure boxes are filled with adequate materials to cushion the effects of falls and shakes
- Use sturdy packaging for heavier items
- Understand regulations on certain packaging materials, including wood
6. Not Using the Right Labels
Many online businesses incur unexpected expenses and losses by not using the correct addresses on their labels. This often delays the delivery of international shipping packages and in some cases, can result in packages being returned. When this happens, businesses can incur higher shipping charges and the possibility of their goods being damaged in transit.
Here's how to prevent shipping errors like these:
- Use reputable companies
- Always cross-check your labels
- Understand labelling requirements for different destinations
Know How to Handle Cross-Border Deliveries
International shippping can be a minefield and mistakes are easy to make. Not understanding customs regulations, choosing the wrong logistics company, failing to insure your goods or even not packing them correctly can all result in heavy losses for your business.
Here at Easyship, we understand the challenges that come with international eCommerce and logistics and are committed to helping you deliver your products to your customers. Sign up for an account today and let us help you with cross-border solutions to various parts of the world.
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