So you’re ready to start shipping internationally? Good timing.
The holiday season’s the best time to take your business global. November and December drive 30% more e-Commerce revenue than non-holiday months.. And with more people around the world comfortable buying internationally — 57% and growing — combined with the fact that 41% of online shoppers bought something from a retailer they’ve never bought from before, this is your moment to take over the world.
But before you start giving Amazon a run for its money, you should make sure you have a trustworthy shipping partner for smooth international shipping. Here are a few tips to make it happen.
Share your deadlines...everywhere
Here’s UPS’s holiday deadline schedule. And here’s FedEx’s. Most shipping companies will have relatively similar deadlines. Knowing these, decide what your drop-dead dates are for international holiday shipping and make it really easy to see on your website. If you plan on closing over Christmas, account for that. The reality is that it doesn’t matter what that date is, as long as people know what it is. Not being able to order something is way better than ordering it and having it come late.
Know the rules
If you sell horror comic books, you can’t ship to the UK. If you sell musical instruments, you can’t ship to Iran. If you sell shoes, you can’t ship to Italy. Go through this helpful list of prohibited items so you can manage your visitors’ expectations accordingly. The last thing you want is for someone to get all excited about their great gift idea only to find out just before they check out that they can’t give it.
We’d recommend displaying a “Sorry we can’t ship to…” message as prominently as your drop-dead rates.
Plan to pack properly
You can generally count on Canadian ground crews to treat your shipments with respect. But depending on where you’re shipping to, that might not always be the case. That’s why bubble wrap and Styrofoam packing peanuts are your best friends when it comes to international shipping. And don’t worry about over-protecting your shipments. You can’t be too careful, especially with gifts.
And while you’re shopping for protection, think about a holiday-specific box or even some decorations for your regular box. Your customers will appreciate the effort.
Think about free shipping
Now that you’re set up for international shipping, and for attracting new customers from around the world, give them one more reason to buy from you. Free shipping is one of the best. In a recent AYTM survey, 75% of respondents said they’re more likely to shop when shipping’s free. So if you want to make the global splash you’re going for, set yourself up with a cheaper shipping option that gives you the ability to absorb the shipping costs. Think of it as a little gift for your new customers, and a long-term gain for you.