Forming a global shipping strategy: Everywhere is different

2018-10-16T19:45:30+00:00October 25th, 2018|Best Practices, Shipping|

When it comes to global e-commerce shipping and logistics, you need to think about each market individually and present an experience that meets your global customers’ unique demands and expectations. But attempting to localize all the points of sale can become complex and overwhelming. Having a basic strategy in place will ensure the process is smooth and the pricing is right to cap off a great customer experience.

Forming the right international shipping strategy for your business will help conversion rates and ensure that the customer’s last steps in their online purchase are positive. Ignoring the details within this stage can lead to frustration and confusion for the customer, which can often result in them abandoning their cart and leaving with a less than positive impression of the brand.

Here are three important factors to consider when developing your strategy:

Research the Market

Once you’ve identified the markets you want to sell to, spend the time looking into what kind of consumer information is available. It is helpful to answer questions like: What are their expectations at checkout? What shipping and handling options are they used to? What shipping tiers do local retailers offer?

Knowing these answers can help you be competitive and offer the right customer experience in the target market. Being forced into one shipping option is never good for the customer but providing them choice and giving them options that make sense empowers them and promotes action.

Whether you term the tiers “Standard” or “Express” or something more locally recognized, make sure the costs are carefully researched and clear to the customer. Shipping can sometimes make or break a sale so you want to be sure the prices you offer are in a competitive range.

Review the Competition

Going hand in hand with your market research, it’s also important to look at what your competitors are doing.

First, look at local retailers already in the market to see how they might be handling some of these shipping challenges. When breaking into a new market, seeing what is done locally will give you a good idea of the customer’s basic expectation. If you can’t stay competitive with the local retailers, your conversion rates will likely suffer.

Next, look at other global brands you compete with and take note of how they are tackling those different markets. How local is their shipping experience? What are they calling their shipping tiers?

Customers are becoming more tech savvy and can jump to other sites quickly to compare prices and shipping. It’s common for one product to be bought over another because the cost of shipping is less. Knowing where your shipping prices stand compared to other sites, particularly competitors, is essential.

Employ Technology

Now that you understand what your customers want and know what your competitors are doing, it’s time to execute. But easier said than done.

Managing dozens of carriers in different markets alone can quickly become unrealistic, so partnering with a technology solution will help streamline the effort and put your shipping strategy into action. Further, having a solution in place allows you to react more quickly to changes in customer or competitor behaviors.

Cloud-based, SaaS systems, like Flow, can simplify the operation and have you poised to engage dozens of international markets in a very short time. The technology provides flexible, customizable options by country or market for landed costs and shipping so that your business can compete with local ones.

The right partner will help manage the relationships with all the carriers and connect all the dots along the way – from picking up the orders at the warehouse or distribution center and getting it all the way around the world to the buyer’s door. Making sure the technology makes this process seamless is critical.

If you’re ready to put together your international shipping strategy and want to learn how to do it, schedule a demo of the Flow console today.

Written by
Garrett is passionate about keeping up to date with trends in cross border e-commerce. Garrett is one of the most tenured members of the Flow team and has deep expertise that touches all areas of cross border from pricing strategy to payments to taxes and duties to shipping and logistics. Whatever your cross border challenge, Garrett has seen it all before.