4 major tips to help you be the king of international shipping!

So your e-commerce brand is expanding well in France and you want to extend internationally: what could be more normal! In France, nearly 50% of online shops receive orders from abroad. But even if the international market is full of opportunities, it also involves some constraints. Exporting abroad requires adapting to different logistics rules. To succeed in such a change, it is best to take your time!

By
Julie Ribeiro
Created
June 26, 2020
Modified
June 26, 2020

How to organize the efficient delivery of your products internationally?

E-commerce represents 6% of French exports, so there is no time to lose to avoid being behind others! But it is also more cautious to anticipate your development abroad, to avoid logistical expenses and international discredit.

As far as delivery abroad is concerned, the rules are different: the laws in force are not the same, the carriers vary, the competition does not play on the same elements... In short, a new marketing and logistics strategy is needed. And when it comes to making choices, some options are better than others. Here are 4 tips to keep in mind when exporting to and from the European Union! 

1 - The choice of logistics partners based on the country of destination, for a fast and efficient delivery.

One of the main questions when an e-commerce company organizes its export is which carrier to choose? Depending on countries and customers, requirements and constraints may vary. The ideal carrier is the one who gets your parcels to their destination without a hitch. But how do you choose one?

The usual carriers to speed up the delivery of your package

Your international shipments can always be handled by your local partner, such as La Poste. Its international Colissimo delivery service allows you to send large letters or parcels up to 20kg in amore or less long time.

The undeniable advantage: it's a well-oiled machine, with no unpleasant surprises. You have an online price list and a calculator to estimate delivery times according to the weight of the parcel, the delivery route, and the circumstances. Convenient for your reliability!

Using private carriers such as FedEx or Chronopost is also an option, especially for express deliveries. These carrier shave platforms all over the world, which allows for faster delivery.

That said, if speed is favored, costs are also a factor. Depending on the weight of the parcel and the distance travelled, delivery rates can rise quickly. So, if you are in doubt, you may wonder what your customers abroad want: to receive their product quickly, or to benefit from more affordable delivery rates?

Contact specialized delivery services

To avoid any risks, it is also possible to work with a logistician who has experience in international parcel shipping.For example, Trôpicfeel has chosen to work with Bigblue for its worldwide deliveries. From order preparation to the last mile, everything is planned to provide a high-quality delivery experience for your customers! It's all about finding a logistician who you can count on.

Some carriers are specialized in delivering parcels abroad and in underserved areas, such as EasyDelivery. The steps involved are quite simple. Let's take the hypothesis in which you sell jewelry. One of your customers who comes from an area outside the Customs Union wishes to place an order for a daisy necklace. If you propose a delivery by EasyDelivery, here is how it will happen:

  • Your customer creates an account with EasyDelivery.
  • This registration results in the creation of an address in the name of your customer, in the EasyDelivery warehouse closest to his home.
  • Once the order is placed, your necklace is sent to the EasyDelivery warehouse.
  • EasyDelivery receives the order and sends a summary to the buyer: size of the chain, status, etc.
  • The buyer accepts the order, and EasyDelivery resends the daisy necklace to their home address through carefully selected carriers.

So, even if the shipment takes time, your customer benefits from accurate parcel tracking and trouble-free reception! 

Bigblue tips: When creating your e-commerce website, it is strongly recommended to set up a tracking system. Not only does this reassure your customers about the delivery of the product, it also provides you a legal proof of shipment in case of litigation. Also, it is important to choose a carrier that provides insurance. Some only insure the product up to the French border, while others cover it until delivery. Choose what best suits the needs of your customers!

2 - Analysis of international shipping costs, to avoid unpleasant surprises

Before you expand abroad, find out about shipping costs and the different rules to follow, as they can vary greatly from one country to another. So much so that a delivery in a foreign country may not be financially worthwhile for your e-commerce business. 

Customs fees

Larger parcel shipments within the EU do not generate customs duties, but only the payment of VAT, which is therefore included in the delivery price. When shipping outside the EU, the costs vary depending on the destination country, the nature of the goods, their value, and their origin.

Customs charges are different from one country to another, as are shipping constraints. For example, having your daisy necklace delivered in Switzerland and Germany does not involve the same steps.For any delivery outside the Customs Union, there are additional declarations that must be completed. For example, on the parcel sending the necklace to Switzerland, you will have to provide the CN 23 declaration and an invoice estimating the value of the necklace. Any omission of official papers may delay or even cancel the shipment of the package. And of course, the return is at your expense!

Transparent communication for every order

For your export, research is not the only condition for success: communication plays an important role. According to the circumstances and regulations of the receiving country, your buyers may have to pay additional costs.

Whether it is because you have forgotten or because of a fixed reception fee, parcel shipments sometimes imply the payment of charges on receipt. And to avoid disappointing your customers, it is your duty to clearly communicate these risks. For example, sending your daisy necklace to a French overseas territory is not free, even if the territory is technically French. As soon as it is received, your client will have to pay VAT, dock dues, regional dock dues and customs duties if the value of the necklace is higher than 150€. If your customer is not aware of the additional costs, they may not place an order with you anymore!

Bigblue tips: When establishing your export strategy, remember to make all the information available to your customers on your website. We advise you to dedicate an entire page to the rates, lead times and costs involved in shipping outside of France. The more transparent you are, the better you will be able to anticipate the unexpected.

Once you have established yourself on the international scene, you can limit the risks associated with delivering a broad by providing several storage and processing locations. Fewer surprises, and faster delivery!

3 - Find out about the legislation before shipping orders to play it safe.

In France, 24% of products sold in e-commerce are returned to the sender. No matter the reason for the return, it is often at the expense of the seller, which can quickly become expensive. To avoid this kind of situation, find out about the laws enforced in the country of delivery!

The legality of deliverable goods

In addition to the customs declarations, some details about the goods must be displayed on the package. For example, for fresh or particularly valuable products, labelling rules vary from one country to another. Composition regulations are not always the same, and if you forget to display them, you may have to return the product.

Plus, all countries are different when it comes to prohibited goods. For example, if a customer living in Vietnam wants to order the daisy necklace you sell, study the regulations carefully! Indeed, in some countries it is forbidden to export jewelry and precious metals.

Regulations for returning a shipped order

Regulations are also very important when it comes to returns. Indeed, purchases within the European Union are subject to a cooling-off period of 14 days. After receipt of the order, a customer therefore has two weeks to return the product. For all sales outside theEuropean Union, there is no right of withdrawal. It is therefore often the law of the selling country that applies.

To avoid additional charges, you can go even further and study the regulations country by country. Indeed, in the event of a product return, it is important to define who is responsible for paying there turn costs - you or the buyer? The regulations vary according to location.For example, in France it is the buyer's responsibility. In Germany, however, it is only buyer's responsibility for goods with a value of less than 40€. Not being aware of these particularities can cost you in the long run!

Bigblue tips: As a French e-merchant, don't offer delivery to all foreign countries without prior analysis! According to French law, every seller is bound to their offer once it is issued. In other words, if you offer delivery of your daisy necklace to Vietnam and a Vietnamese customer places an order, you will not be able to retract your offer, and you will be obliged to carry it out. 

4 - Studying your competition's modes of delivery to better adapt to the market

The final touch for successful international delivery is competitive intelligence!

Study the local market

As with your product launches in France, it is preferable to study offer and demand before launching on the international scene. Conduct detailed research to find out if the goods you are selling a rein demand abroad, or if they are even known.

Here are some simple, but crucially important questions to ask yourself: is my product being sold by local companies? Is there enough demand to secure my place in the market? To find the answers to these questions, you can contact the Public Investment Bank. Based on well-founded statistics, you can minimize the risk for your development abroad.

Analyze your competition and their shipping methods

For more pragmatic solutions, it is sometimes enough to observe local competition by searching on the net.

You will then obtain information on the fastest carriers and the most efficient logistics strategies. In addition to giving you a real view of the state of the local market, studying your competition allows you to identify cultural specificities.

More concretely, Louyetu, a French jewelry brand, sells its products all over the world. Its website is designed in white and pastel colors. Even though these types of colors represent purity and may catch the eye of the European customer, this will not necessarily be the case for every country or culture. In China, for example, white is a symbol of mourning.So, this jewelry brand won't exactly be a big seller in China!

To sell your daisy necklace in China, you could therefore study Chinese jewelry sites to make note of some marketing and design tips. Adapt your website to the countries and customers you are targeting!

Bigblue tips: In addition to spicing up your website, don't forget about the packaging. Your product's packaging makes all the difference, especially when it crosses borders. Your packaging should be well thought out to avoid logistical problems, but also to appeal to customers. So, don't hesitate to take a look at the packaging offered by your competitors. The choice of color or shape can make all the difference!

What is the right behavior for delivering abroad?

The development of your e-commerce on the international scene requires some thought. To ensure your success, nothing should be left to chance: the choice of the logistician, the marketing strategy, the delivery options, the regulations to be followed...

In order to successfully export your products abroad, put yourself in the shoes of your target customers - what do they want?By adapting to the tastes of your buyers and local particularities, you put luck on your side.

Anticipation is the key to success!

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Exporting to Switzerland: how to manage it as an e-merchant
Julie Ribeiro
Marketing specialist and content writer at Bigblue.
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