May be you have an online business and wants to tap the international market potential of the products that you sell or you simply think that your products appeal to the large NRI community. Remember US alone has over 2.6 million Indians. Not to mention the higher margins involved while selling globally. With such a large market it’s natural for you to think of expanding overseas. Now that you have decided to sell internationally, many questions might come to your mind like how to ship internationally, documentation, how to ensure on time delivery, freight charges and most importantly choosing the right international courier partner. Sit back and relax. In this article we’ll look into all these aspects in detail.
First thing first. We come across this question very oftenly. Why can’t we make use of international parcel delivery service offered by the postal department or more precisely India post?
While it is true that the postal services can most of the time be cost effective compared to private international courier, it may not really the kind of service that you would need while selling globally. Let’s check out the difference
International courier vs postal service
A postal service is a service provider usually operated by national governments like for example India post where as courier service is a company normally a private company that facilitates shipping of parcels and important documents. Most professional international courier service companies cover an array of shipping services with worldwide destination
Speed & efficiency: To preface this point, we’re not saying postal service is slow & inefficient but it comes out that private international courier firms usually outperform postal services when it comes to speed and efficiency.
Fewer size restrictions: Professional international courier has fewer weight and size restrictions compared to postal services.
Real time tracking: Yet another feature of courier services and how they differ from postal services is their ability to provide real time international courier tracking. That’s not say that postal services don’t offer tracking. They do provide but private couriers offer real time and more specific international courier tracking
Duties and taxes:
Private couriers and their shipping experts assist you in handling the complexities involved with regards to duties and taxes while shipping globally.
Again this can vary from carrier to carrier and by and large depends on the courier that you choose. Depending on the courier they can provide you with a variety of services like consolidation, repacking, storage and more. When it comes to postal services they tend to offer a one size fits all approach which works perfectly for some requirements but not all.
Why use a private international courier service for e-commerce?
Well, by now you would’ve got an idea regarding the difference between traditional postal service and courier. Couriers services are more flexible as they understand your requirements better and can offer you tailor made solutions. Customer service teams at the courier can offer you expert guidance on shipping globally and plus the international courier charges are competitive. They also offer volume based discounts meaning the more you ship to a destination lesser your charges will be.
7 rules of international courier for e-commerce
Although there are many good international courier service in India, picking the right one is critical.
“Shipping can be a powerful point of differentiation for your brand. On time & cost effective delivery is critical to the success of your online business”
- Personalize your online store for your target country. One size fits all isn’t the best option when going globally
- Look beyond big names. When starting off its better to choose an international courier service in India that can offer you a more personalized service as you might need additional support in the beginning. Larger carriers may not be able to provide you with dedicated support and a tailor made solution unless you do a minimum volume.
- Avoid last minute surprises. You heard that? Be familiar with all applicable duties and taxes.
- Try out multiple carriers before you finalize long term tie ups. This would give you better insight
- Evaluate your merchandising strategy. Bulky products with low margins may not necessarily be a good choice as higher international courier charges can take up most of your margins and may not be worth the time and effort you are putting in. Be choosy and pick your products carefully.
- Scale your business through local market places. They come with many advantages although it’s less profitable most of time compared to selling directly.
- Automate.Automate. Yes whenever possible automate a process if it can be automated as it can help you save time and money which is especially important if you have a small team size or you’r just starting off. For example, ask if your courier offers documentation as that would help you save lot of time plus error free documentation is critical to smooth shipping.
- Reduce your shipping costs. Lower carrier shipping rates isn’t the only way to cut down costs. Consolidation, efficient packagings are all effective ways to bring down cost. This is where a good shipping partner can be of help. Shipping experts at the courier can advice you with shipping efficiently ensuring timely delivery and within the budget.