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As an online seller looking to scale your business, you may be thinking about selling internationally. After all, global ecommerce is on the rise, and there is great opportunity to be had. Global selling, however, has a myriad of challenges, and before you can move forward, you’ll need to take a hard look at your current infrastructure to see if you can truly support a high volume of international orders.
Price and convenience continue to be significant factors influencing purchase decisions, according to the UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper. For the seller, this means keeping your costs down while ensuring packages are fulfilled quickly and correctly.
In this article, we look at the top challenges global sellers face, and how automation and technological solutions can help you build the optimal framework for global selling.
Carrier Rates and Guidelines for International Shipping
Running a global ecommerce business can sometimes feel like swimming in a sea filled with complicated processes involving logistics, taxes, customs, and hidden fees. Shipping rates will vary depending on package size, package weight, departing country, destination country, insurance, carrier, and other factors.
Fortunately, most major carriers, such as UPS, FedEx, DHL, and Australia Post, provide shipping calculators on their website. Each carrier also maintains their own specific set of guidelines, regulations, and customs forms.
With all these moving parts, global shipping can be extremely tedious when done manually. An alternative is to find a shipping automation software that’s integrated and partnered with these major carriers, so you can easily find the best rates, get discounted rates, and manage international orders faster.
International Payments, Sales Tax and Legal Requirements
When you ship internationally, you need to be mindful of each country’s rules and regulations, which change from time to time. Certain products may have specific rules, especially when it comes to food, drugs, alcohol, weapons, and antiques.
You must also pay attention to sales tax requirements, which will vary from one country to another. Finding a shipping management software that provides sales tax automation will help tremendously. We also recommend having a legal framework in place should any disputes arise.
Dealing with international customers, markets, suppliers, and vendors could also lead to payment delays when each locale has a preferred payment method. Consider using international money transfer services to simplify currency exchange and save significantly on transaction fees. A little automation can go a long way in helping you build a strong global ecommerce infrastructure.
Bottlenecks in Shipping and Order Management
According to a recent shipping software user report, 35% of businesses ranked managing incoming orders as the biggest bottleneck in shipping. Other respondents also mentioned creating labels (19%), finding the best rates (12%), and analyzing operational data (10%) as similarly time-consuming aspects of shipping.
These problems are exacerbated when shipping globally. Spreadsheets may be able to store order information, but manual tracking cannot scale without proper automation. Fortunately, most shipping software vendors understand these pain points and offer solutions that can automate these processes.
Retailers that use shipping software have identified the top 5 benefits of shipping automation. These include:
- Batching orders for faster shipping (27%)
- Setting up rules for tagging and prioritizing orders (23%)
- Cheaper shipping from carrier rate shopping and discounts (20%)
- Quicker to sync accounting data (17%)
- More accurate tracking (14%)
Tracking is especially important when selling on international marketplaces or from multiple facilities.
The Significance of Inventory and Order Transparency
According to a survey of 558 online shoppers, 47% of respondents would not order from a retailer again because of poor order transparency about their shipment status during the fulfillment and delivery process. You’ll need to provide more visibility for your shoppers, from the moment they place the order to the moment their package arrives.
Inventory control is equally important. Whether you ship using FBA or warehouse facilities across the globe, you will need to maintain optimal inventory levels to reduce delays and backorders.
When shopping for a shipping software, it’s important to find a solution that provides robust inventory management features, such as real-time visibility, forecasting capabilities, and vendor management. Laying the groundwork is the first step to succeed in any ecommerce business.
Your Next Steps
Interested in automating your global ecommerce business? OFX readers can get 50% off their first month of service when signing up with Jazva. Schedule your free demo today and witness the power of an all-in-one ecommerce management solution.