Let’s face the facts: international shipping is hard. Too many international retailers still don’t know how to ship across borders, and don’t even know where to begin with an international shipping strategy. There are several reasons for this. Managing last-mile carriers across various countries is difficult. There are carrier fees, country-specific taxes and duties and product restrictions to consider in each market; all of them are different. In some cases, shipping carriers add on fees and surcharges to deliveries, resulting in additional shipping charges that online retailers might not have expected. And passing these charges on to global consumers is not ideal as it risks negatively impacting your conversion rates.
Then there are the ever-increasing expectations by online shoppers of free, fast, hassle-free shipping. No matter how great a deal is, or how high-quality an item may be, consumers don’t want to deal with hidden shipping fees, long delivery times, or the inability to track an order. These global consumers don’t care if the merchant’s shipping hub is down the street or thousands of miles away; they expect the same level of service and convenience. Recent research from Flow shows that 84% of global consumers across all countries surveyed expect free shipping. And even those who don’t expect free shipping on their purchases do want flexible options, such as shipping tiers that are tied to the amount they spend online or how quickly they can receive their goods. Offering your global customers multiple shipping options provides a range of speed and pricing that increases the likelihood that they will buy from you. More than ever, shipping cost, flexibility and convenience are becoming deciding factors for international shoppers. To gain any sort of advantage in global markets, cross border retailers must remove the friction associated with international shipping.
Given the risks of a poor shipping experience, it’s best to bring in a partner to support your shipping strategy. The right partner will help brands and retailers properly manage relationships with international carriers, connecting all the dots on the shipping journey. That includes order fulfillment at the warehouse or distribution center and ensuring a seamless cross border delivery to the buyer. It’s important to find a partner who can offer a hubless solution that can integrate with your warehouse management system. The right technology solution should offer support on all aspects of international shipping, in addition to providing full flexibility and control over shipping lanes, methods, and pricing tiers, in addition to removing any intermediary warehousing, or “hub”, before shipping the order internationally.