5 International Ecommerce Shipping Considerations

19th February 2021

A great thing about having an ecommerce business is that you can conduct business anywhere! You’re not limited by borders and can ship your product all over the world. Before you start printing shipping labels to let your goods take the journey around the globe, we want to cover 5 things you should consider when shipping your ecommerce international.


First on the list of questions you should be asking yourself is if there is an actual demand for your goods international? Chances are you’ve already had some folks request your goods from overseas. But is this widespread? You should do your research and see what is currently being offered in the countries that have requested your product or that you would like to ship to. Look for the competition in these countries to see if they have a similar product and how they are selling it.


Keep in mind that international customers do not shop the same way your national consumers do. However you’ve built your national customer base, you will want to try and repeat that to get your product in front of your target audience on the international side.


Second thing to consider is if your goods are even suitable for international shipping. Once you have determined if there is indeed a demand for your product overseas, you need to know if they can even make the trek across the water. Are there any import and/or export restrictions? Things like aerosols, alcohol, flammable liquids, and fresh fruits and vegetables are typically prohibited from international shipping. Top of that, the way your package your goods should not only make for a safe journey, but allowed by the carriers. The size of the pallet, boxes or crates should be taken into account when choosing the carrier to send out your goods.

Third item to keep in mind when shipping your ecommerce is to decide on which shipping service you are going to utilize. Going international with your ecommerce store for sure brings some challenges both seen and unforeseen. Have you factored in shipping costs, delivery times, tracking capabilities and guarantees and shipments all should play a role into which service you will ultimately select. Choosing the wrong one could be very costly and loose you precious hard earned cash! And keep it mind that this is not a one size fits all type of a situation. Not all international shipping services are created equal.  International carrier options like DHL and UPS  have years of experience in the business and are a great fit and backing for small to medium sized businesses. They also offer a higher range of door to door services for you to choose from. You have to make sure you have done your research and know what the right fit is for your company.

Fourth on our list of things to consider is knowing and understanding the correct shipping terminology. Look, the logistics business like many other businesses out there has its own language. Harmonized Tariff Code, Duties and Taxes, Customs Documentation, Export declaration, Certificate of origin, do you know what all of that means? All of these are terms you should be familiar with so that you can have educated and informed conversations with the carriers to make sure your goods get to where they need to go.

Last but not least, the fifth item on our things to consider for your international ecommerce shipping needs is to know what is restricted or not! We briefly touched on this earlier but you really should be familiar with what can and cannot be sold, imported or exported to the country you are trying to do business with. You may not be aware that your product is illegal to be imported into a certain country. On top of that, it might even be illegal to export your goods from your country of origin. Customs can be a nightmare and if you are not aware of what can and cannot cross borders, it could be a very costly mistake for you and your business. It might be because of the material your product is made of, or maybe the packaging it comes in, either way, trying to navigate customs and what is allowed and not allowed can be tricky and stressful.

It’s no question that going international with your ecommerce business can greatly expand your company and strengthen your bottom line. But navigating these markets can be tough. What has been your experience with going international with your ecommerce business? What hurdles have you come across? Reach out to us and let us know.