In the eCommerce world, customer bases can be from across the seas. To better serve your customers, it pays to dive into the basics of international shipping. Here are the three steps of international shipping.

Step one - find the right partner

First and foremost, you need to pick the right partner that can cover all the steps of shipping. These steps are: delivering goods from the warehouse to the port, clearing goods for export, freighting, finishing customers clearance, distributing and delivering goods to the customer's doorstep. If you're using a 4PL or 5PL partner, make sure they can assign their network of logistics partners to help you address each step of the delivery. To be considered, they need to demonstrate their capabilities for three factors: having an extensive and proficient network of partners, local presence and a robust tracking system.

Step two - package and fine-tune the details

Now you’ve chosen your ideal shipping partner. But before you start shipping your products overseas, take a step back and consider one fundamental basic: packaging. How can you ensure your customers will receive your goods in one piece? You don't want to ruin your customer's excitement by letting them receive a broken parcel. That's why it's wise to decide how to package your product and whether you want to add any additional materials. For example, you can pack your goods in boxes and add bubble wraps, or if they're flat or cylindrical, you can consider using mailing tubes.

Now you are one step closer to shipping your products. Sit down with your partners or carriers and agree upon the services needed. These details include delivery time, weight limit, tracking and responsibility in case of a shipment loss. If you have any other details you'd like to discuss with your partner, remember to include those in the negotiation.

Remember, when you're organising your shipping, it's always a balance between price and effectiveness - the more features there are, the pricier it is. Always strike a balance so you can deliver your goods without bearing too much cost.

Step three - send off the product

With everything finalised, it's time to send off the goods. To do that, you need to provide your carrier with a list of information so your product can go through customs at the destination. Typically, the list includes:

  • Sender's and recipient's address
  • Item's description and origin
  • Item's weight and quantity
  • Item's declared value and harmonised system code

Your courier will need to enter these details into the customs declaration form and shipping label. It's always good to make sure the information is as accurate as possible, so you can avoid trouble in the future. Also, always check for different regulations and requirements for different countries.

Once you have all the information ready, hand over the goods to the courier. They'll give you a tracking code so you and your customer can track the shipping process. With all the hard work done, you can relax a bit and pat yourself on the back.