International shipping is one of the big step-ups businesses make along the path of growth. We might think that investing in international shipping (which is usually accompanied by a corresponding investment in inventory, fulfillment, and marketing reach) is one of the real investment checkpoints that separates a small business from a medium sized one.
Small companies simply cannot afford a reach that wide, and they haven’t drummed up the product interest to facilitate it either. For companies investing in international shipping, it is clear that profits and cash flow are sufficient for engaging in this expansion – and reaping the rewards.
But it’s not just the money. Expanding into international shipping is something that has to be assiduously planned, and even then a company should expect something of a learning curve. Unlike some other investments which promote growth – for example outsourcing fulfillment – you cannot take the step up to international shipping without making some other investments too (most notably acquiring enough inventory to sell so far and wide).
Thankfully, there is much advice about how to manage this, how to cut costs, and how to get the most out of the new markets international shipping can open to you.
Sometimes, a company expands into international shipping specifically because they have attracted interest from overseas; sometimes, they do it to go and actively seek that market.
What to Sell?
A big question for many companies expanding into international shipping is what type of things they are going to sell overseas. Is it to be more of the same things in greater quantities? Has local market research led to some conclusions that certain new products would sell well in new places? Sometimes, all of this is still to be worked out when a company starts shipping overseas.
A safe bet if you find yourself in this situation, therefore, is to turn to the eternal winners where inventory is concerned. If you have regular access to a customer base that frequently purchases a certain product, then you are likely to find like minded customers overseas. In such cases, all you need to do is to increase quantity.
Other safe bets are the general products that sell well all the time. These are usually purchased via wholesale, as they are the kind of small inexpensive items which sell because they are always useful, attractive, and not expensive to buy per unit.
Olympic Eyewear, suppliers of wholesale sunglasses, note that inexpensive wholesale designer sunglasses are a classic example of this type of product. People need them in France as much as in California.
If you are expanding into overseas sales, here follows some further tips:
Partner With the Right Courier
And that means right for you. You can compare the prices of shipping individual orders versus bulk loads, and with a proper analysis you should work out the most cost-effective way to ship. A sign of a good courier is one that will help you to work this out.
Keep Packaging Costs Down
When your products are going overseas, you risk the maximum fulfillment costs. Accordingly, making savings here and there is wise. Decreasing packaging size, shipping in combined or bulk loads, and using cheaper materials are all things you can do to keep costs down.
Work Out Tax, Duty, and Tariff Costs
When your products cross international lines, there are all sorts of taxes, duties, and tariffs the destination country may require you to pay. This should be foremost in your mind when you plan your budget.
Expanding into international shipping is an undoubted step up for your company – if you can plan it right.