In today’s interconnected world, where we are no longer limited by geographical boundaries, cross-border e-commerce is now a norm. The global pandemic, while unprecedented, has unlocked many opportunities for businesses in the e-commerce sector. Such is its growth trajectory, by 2025, the total revenue generated by e-commerce activities is expected to exceed US$7.3 trillion, reports Shopify.
With the internet, it is now possible for any organisation to go global as they expand their reach to tap on th3e various regional markets. With the wide variety of payment methods, as well as shipping and logistics options to choose from, connecting with customers from all around the world is easier than ever.
When the pandemic struck, it sparked off a domino effect, as supply chains were disrupted and businesses with physical stores soon found themselves having to close due to a lack of customers. This chain of events led to consumers searching for alternative means to shop for items, and with e-commerce shipping, it helped solve a variety of issues, as there is no longer a need to physically go to a store or stand in line to purchase items. Instead, consumers can simply order their items online and have them delivered to their doorstep.
This has made e-commerce shipping a popular option for busy consumers who do not have the time to go out and shop in person. Fundamentally, e-commerce shipping allows you to expand your business, venture into new markets, and reach a wider audience; hence the term cross border e-commerce. However, there are some considerations to take note of before you make the decision of embarking on global expansion.
Some of the biggest roadblocks to adopting international shipping solutions in the e-commerce business are the costs involved and a list of rules and regulations to comply with.
Additionally, for businesses with no experience in the shipping of their e-commerce products to overseas markets, the clearing of customs can be challenging, as they might not be familiar with the various countries’ importation rules and regulations. This can mean a potential incident of having your goods detained or confiscated at international checkpoints, and consequently resulting in a delay in deliveries and having to incur additional costs due to refunds or replacement of the goods ordered due to the inability to fulfil orders.
In order to build trust with customers, it is important to be upfront at the start about the total cost they need to pay. No one likes to be surprised at the checkout page with extra shipping fees or hidden costs, this will mean a difference between having a successful transaction or ending up with a disgruntled shopper’s abandoned online shopping cart.
Stepping into the world of e-commerce international shipping can seem daunting at first, but here’s how you can get started:
Look out for emerging overseas markets where there is growing demand for a particular range of products and/or services. Instead of adopting a catch-all approach, it is better to expand slowly and strategically, starting with a country or two, or a specific region (e.g, Southeast Asia).
Once you have identified potential markets to expand into, evaluate the various variables and conditions of these markets. These would include local culture, political and economic climate, as well as existing competition. These factors will determine how you can structure your international e-commerce strategy.
A useful resource to draw upon is the country commercial guides on Export.gov. Based on your current trade operations, these guides will provide vital information as to how you can research new markets and identify the consumer markets.
Even though there might be potential demand for your products, you will have to find out if there are any particular rules and regulations in a particular country that you should be taking note of, as you will face challenges and punitive measures being imposed on you if you do not adhere to the specific country’s rules and regulations.
Prohibited items might seem obvious, but it’s the restricted items that are less straightforward, and in-depth research is required to export and sell such items in the various countries that you plan to expand into. Some may impose restrictions on the import of items such as plant seeds, meat, or raw materials.
Once international shipping for your e-commerce business comes into the picture, things can become challenging as you try to juggle the domestic and international streams of your business. Partnering with an experienced international shipping company like DHL Express with expertise in global logistics processes can alleviate the stress of managing your global supply chain operations.
As the world’s largest international express delivery network, DHL Express helps e-commerce companies connect with clients in over 220 countries and territories. Comprising a sophisticated fleet of more than 280 aircraft, cutting-edge facilities, and a committed team of customer support specialists, DHL Express is the trusted brand for global e-commerce delivery solutions.
With the diversity and expertise of DHL Express’ international shipping solutions, you can expect deliveries to be timely, efficient, and affordable all at once. Sign up for a DHL Express business account today to gain access to exceptional shipping solutions worldwide.