With the UK market getting crowded in almost all areas, it’s understandable that many companies see more potential in overseas customer bases. If you’re an online retailer who primarily relies on an e-commerce website or other sales channels, a key part of your business model will be the methods you use to transport goods overseas after making sales.
This can bring a lot of associated costs with it, but it’s possible to minimise these as long as you do your research first. Here are the top considerations you will need to factor in if you want to make international shipping a part of your day to day business operations.
Have the right packing materials
One crucial element here will be having access to appropriate packaging supplies to send your products between countries. Smaller items are less of a problem if they can be sent in small boxes or envelopes, but larger shipments may require more specialised supplies such as pallet boxes to be packed into wooden pallets, shrink wrapping to protect awkward items and so on.
Find a suitable storage solution
If you’re immediately going to be shipping large quantities of products, or at least producing them on a large scale, then perhaps you will need your own dedicated warehouse. However, many smaller companies are increasingly making use of more flexible storage services, where warehouse space is hired out as required. This increases efficiency and cuts down costs, so it’s an excellent option to consider.
Arrange transportation and delivery
Of course, after your products have been produced, stored and packed up for shipping, they will need to be transported quickly and efficiently. This may typically include several different types of vehicle, especially if you’re shipping to customers abroad where door-to-door delivery drivers would not be an option. Whether your packages will be travelling by road freight, sea, air or all of the above, make sure you pay for an appropriate service to get them to their destination quickly and safely.
Partner with other companies
If possible, a good strategy when you’re getting started in the international shipping business is to pair up with other companies and create mutually beneficial partnerships. For example, you could arrange a long term contract with one particular shipping company, so you’ll get a discounted rate in exchange for the promise of regular work for them. This increases efficiency for everyone and allows you to offer a more reliable service.
Make sure your plans are scalable
Most businesses looking to sell their products abroad tend to be doing so in the hope that they will later be able to expand their business even further. The international market has effectively no saturation point once you reach a certain stage, although progress may be slow at first. Be sure to start with realistic expectations and design your business model to fit the size of your operation, but bear in mind your growth plans for the future and try to come up with solutions that could be seamlessly expanded in future if your business takes off.