International e-commerce is a growing market. Research from Pitney Bowes Inc. found that around 40% of consumers have purchased goods online from another country. By 2020, the value of cross border e-commerce is forecast to reach US$1 trillion. However, while the market is thriving – and growing – it also presents a number of unique challenges for any e-commerce business looking to expand internationally. These pain points can cause real issues, and can sometimes even catch online retailers by surprise.
How can I overcome my international delivery challenges?
Higher Shipping Costs
Inevitably, it will cost more to send items over a greater global distance than to ship locally. This often means passing some, or all, of the cost over to customers, which many businesses find difficult to do. Higher shipping costs are a reality for every enterprise shipping overseas and being able to manage this successfully is a crucial part of optimising an e-commerce venture for global success.
Rules and regulations
Crossing international borders means taking into account the rules and regulations of the jurisdiction that you’re shipping into. Deliveries within the EU are fairly simple for European retailers but once a business begins shipping to other destinations there is a lot more to consider. Many countries have some unusual restrictions on what can be sent into the country, for example, and customs documentation can be complex.
Fees and taxes
Another consequence to sending goods across international borders is that they may then attract fees and taxes. These are most often payable by the customer before they can collect the sent item. Many countries have thresholds below which there will be no fees or taxes to pay but these can be low and tend to differ from location to location.