Streamline International Taxes and Duties for Your Cross-Border Business

2019-08-26T13:44:07-03:00August 28th, 2019|Best Practices Duties and Taxes|

Starting an online clothing line can be a rewarding experience for a creative entrepreneur with the vision and tenacity to see it through. And with the continuing growth of cross-border e-commerce, emerging direct-to-consumer brands and retailers now have opportunities that weren’t possible before. But growing a fashion brand takes much more than creativity. There are numerous operational requirements and details that demand attention: manufacturing and production, order fulfillment, shipping and delivery, marketing and customer service, just to name a few. Then there are the complex responsibilities that become relevant when expanding your brand to global customers. 

No designer dreams of dealing with delayed delivery times or order refusals due to problems with calculating and processing international taxes and duties. But too often, brands and retailers who are new to global e-commerce run into these barriers. Shipping internationally can expand a fashion business’s reach and reputation and provide a big boost to the financial bottom line. But becoming an international e-commerce merchant can create massive headaches when it comes to calculating tariff and duty rates. Every country has its own laws and tax rates, and they can vary wildly depending upon the retailer’s country of origin. Failure to properly calculate the applicable taxes and duties can impact delivery times, or create other unpleasant surprises. Our research shows that in three top global e-commerce markets (Canada, Brazil and Australia) taxes and duties ranked as a critical barrier to cross-border shopping (33%, 30% and 61%) among consumers who never shop outside their home countries.

This was the case when environmentally-sustainable brand tentree entered new global markets. Based in Canada, tentree was hoping to grow revenue in other countries, but soon found that they weren’t seeing the international conversion rates they’d expected. One major challenge: an ongoing struggle to accurately calculate and display the corresponding duties and taxes in each country. This was resulting in unexpected charges for the international customer when the item arrived at their doorstep, which in turn increased delivery refusal rate of tentree orders. 

After evaluating a few other technology providers, tentree turned to Flow for help. The company needed an end-to-end solution with the ability to deliver real-time duty, tax and restrictions feeds for purchases anywhere, with any website display option. Flow’s solution gave tentree the power to display accurate tax and duty information, right on the localized e-commerce site, giving customers the option to pay upfront with no surprises. This resulted in a 125% increase in international revenue, a 24% increase in global conversion rates, and a 50% reduction in delivery times.

By leveraging Flow, fashion brands and retailers can create a truly localized experience for international customers. With seamless integration of local pricing, tax and duty capabilities, Flow offers the perfect solution for painless international expansion. Don’t let your designer dreams get crushed by the operational barriers of selling your goods to a global audience. Contact a Flow international e-commerce expert today. 

Written by
Juliana Pereira is Vice President, Marketing at Flow Commerce. With 15 years experience in marketing and ecommerce, Juliana joined the Flow team after serving as Vice President of Marketing at Smartling. Previously Juliana worked across a variety of verticals and industries, from non-profits and publishing to tech and fashion, including management positions and key contributing roles at Ralph Lauren, The Met Store online (at The Metropolitan Museum of Art), Ziff Davis, and eMusic.