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How to Handle International Shipping

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International Shipping Requirements & Best Practices

An International eCommerce System requires advanced shipping services. It includes the basics, such as the option to choose different shipping carriers and delivery timelines (overnight, within a week/month, etc.). It also involves dealing with cross-border shipments. These require managing and tracking documentation for customs clearance and payment of duty, regulatory oversight. You also have to keep the restrictions for specific products in certain regions in mind.

Therefore, having a robust shipping system for your international eCommerce business is a very detailed and complicated requirement.

Here is what you need to know.

Integrating External Cost Estimates

Third-Party Shipping Carriers

Due to these shipping carriers, there will be a lot of third-party shipping cost estimates. It is essential to integrate them into your eCommerce application seamlessly. This will ensure that the information is delivered to the end-user quickly, and with minimum overhead.

Each time a user enters their shipping address, the application should find a warehouse closest to it. You want your eCommerce application to be dynamic and do all the heavy lifting. It should be able to go through the inventory levels, different locations of warehouses and manufacturing facilities, etc.

So, if an item is out of stock in a local facility, it can inform that to the end-user. Or if the selected item is available, it can calculate an accurate delivery time and shipping cost depending on where the item is stored.

Incorporating Industry Best Practices

International Customs and Duties

Another significant aspect of international shipping is customs and duties. There are many challenges, just around the picking, packing, and fulfilling the shipment.

One of them is related to boxes and grouping of items. You must be able to logically and intelligently group everything. So, depending on your business model, you may incorporate the shipping charges into the cost of the products. Or you may choose to show the shipping details, as well as the customs and duties charges.

The end-user, this way, will be aware of all the details during the checkout process. It will not only avoid confusion, but your business will not have to bear the variable cost of shipping, custom, and duties.

Leveraging a third-party API can incorporate customs and duties forms for all the different regions and locations covered by your eCommerce business. It will help you understand and keep you updated continuously regarding product restrictions, different rules depending on the various locales, and how different regions handle their customs and duties. You can also know if a package will be considered an LTL-type of shipment or will go through customs and duties.

Since there are many regionally based carriers and a lot of different customs and duties to be accounted for, starting out with an off-the-shelf, third party API can make things a lot easier. It costs relatively less. Moreover, you can also integrate it with your international eCommerce platform for updated shipping quotes by different carriers. They take care of the customs and duties, forms, and documentation for each transaction.

If you want a seamless process, we encourage finding a partner who is familiar with this process and has experience. Their platform should have all these capabilities because shipping carriers and customs and duties call for a bit of setup and configuration. We would suggest starting out small and from there; build it up into a robust system.

How Can Clarity Help

Clarity International eCommerce Experts

You must gauge the capabilities and limitations of each eCommerce platform you evaluate. If they are incapable of carrying out more advanced functions such as running LTL shipments, providing detailed customs and duties data, etc. you might end up restricting the flow of your business. Therefore, we encourage you to take a step back and truly think through all the different options available to you. This way, you will end up with a long-term solution as opposed to a short-term throwaway.

We would like to end this topic here. If you have any more questions, you can find more information about international eCommerce in the resources provided below. You may also get in touch with our knowledgeable and friendly experts for a complimentary analysis. We certainly look forward to answering your question and talking with you about your upcoming international eCommerce project.

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