Finding the cheapest international shipping can mean the difference between a profit margin and taking a loss for many e-commerce businesses engaged in cross-border selling.
When it comes to international logistics, year-over-year trends show that costs rise along with monetary inflation, higher energy prices, and increased cargo loads. That’s why it’s important for cross-border e-commerce companies to constantly evaluate their shipping partner to ensure they’re getting the cheapest international shipping possible.
According to a new report by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, logistics costs rose 11.4% to $1.6 trillion in 2018. This rise was driven by a double-digit increase in e-commerce spending, and faster delivery—more specifically a focus on syncing physical deliveries with online transactions.
As the price of international shipping goes up and consumers demand cheaper, faster shipping, international e-commerce companies must strike the right balance. This means finding the happy medium between cost and service to compete against e-commerce giants like Amazon, MercadoLibre, and local brick-and-mortar competitors.
What You Need to Know Before Shipping Internationally
Before you set out to choose the cheapest international shipping option for your company, it’s important to get a complete picture of your international logistics needs.
Answer these questions before entering into any agreements with an international shipping carrier:
What Will My Company Be Shipping Internationally?
The cost of international packages is typically determined by the weight of the item(s) being shipped and limited by the dimensions of the package. Before choosing a logistics provider, identify the lightest/smallest and heaviest/largest items your company ships so you can determine the price range from your low-end to high-end shipping needs.
If you offer flat-rate shipping to your customers internationally, you can use these figures to help you determine the right flat rate to offer customers while still maintaining profitability.
Where Will My Company Be Shipping Internationally?
Not all cross-border e-commerce destinations are the same, nor should you assume that one carrier can provide the cheapest international shipping to every region you sell and ship to. In the long run, it pays to evaluate carriers for every region or, better yet, every country where you’ll be shipping your goods. When it comes to the cheapest international shipping to Latin America, SkyPostal is often the best option.
What Level of Service Will My Company Offer Customers?
The term “international shipping” covers a wide variety of levels of service you may offer your overseas customers:
Mode of transportation, which can include ground, sea, and air shipping
Speed of service, which can range from days to several weeks
Technologies and services, which can include package tracking and reverse logistics
When your company is looking for the cheapest international shipping options, it’s important to take into consideration every part of the logistics process, not just the cost of shipping a flat-rate package.
What Are My International Customers’ Expectations?
Globally, the trends in consumer expectations regarding shipping reflect Amazon’s imprint on the marketplace: shipping should be fast and free. According to a survey cited in Supply Chain Dive, “fast delivery times and easy return policies were the most important factors consumers considered when choosing among online retailers.” When consumers encountered slow shipping or costly returns, they reported abandoning carts at a high rate.
In terms of international shipping, offering same or next day shipping and free returns typically isn’t feasible for cross-border e-commerce retailers, but fast(er) and cheap(er) shipping is still an option. Keep in mind, though, that consumers in Latin America often pay higher prices for imported goods. That’s because getting shipments through customs can take up to 18 days in the region, depending on the country--although using a courier often helps cut down on the customs clearance time. This makes local brick-and-mortars and manufacturers stiff competition for international e-commerce companies importing goods into Latin America. Still, foreign e-commerce companies sell many unique and hard-to-obtain products that Latin American consumers are motivated to purchase internationally.
Who Handles the Rest of the Logistics Process?
For international e-commerce companies that sell and ship even a modest amount of products every day, the logistics process might start to exceed the capabilities of the internal logistics team. From fulfillment to warehousing, finding international shipping and logistics partners that can help meet all of your needs is important to support your business growth. When shipping to Latin America, SkyPostal can handle local processes and streamline returns.
Cheap International Shipping and Customer Loyalty
Once you have a solid understanding of what your international logistics needs are, you can start to get a full picture of what offering “cheap international shipping” really means beyond the cost of a single package. Just look at Amazon: in 2018, they spent nearly $28 billion on shipping—a record for the company. The true cost of shipping is massive for Amazon, but small retailers may find it hard to absorb if they don’t plan carefully.
Shipping is a competitive differentiator that can help you cultivate loyal customers. To better meet consumers’ shipping expectations, you will need to modify your approach to the specific complexities and costs of international shipping that your business faces. This means considering consumer expectations for customer service, returns processing, and final mile delivery—among other preferences.
If you do a significant amount of business in a region outside of your home country, you’ll likely need an experienced shipping company like SkyPostal as a partner. A shipping provider with regional knowledge can help you:
Grow your business
Handle seasonal variability
Reduce overall shipping costs
Provide the best, localized customer experience
A good international shipping provider can ensure that your order and delivery process drives customer loyalty for the long run.
Comparing Options for the Cheapest International Shipping to Latin America
If you’re looking for the cheapest international shipping to Latin America, the unique aspects of the region make for a different business dynamic than other parts of the world.
As we’ve discussed in the past, there are a variety of challenges that influence e-commerce international shipping in the region:
Since most Latin Americans speak Spanish, Portuguese, French, or native languages, international companies may need significant help navigating customs and customer service.
Many consumers don’t use traditional banking, so your company may need to offer more payment options.
Customs and tariffs vary widely throughout the region across different countries, governments, levels of infrastructure, and technology.
Unique logistics challenges pose difficulties for international companies selling to Latin America, such as inconsistent addresses and underdeveloped transportation.
When evaluating the cheapest international shipping to Latin America, you should choose a shipping partner that has the experience in the region to help you tackle these issues.
Compared to global carriers like USPS and DHL, regional carriers like SkyPostal can offer a shipping experience tailored to the region in which you specialize.
Choosing Between USPS/DHL and SkyPostal
Our customers have found that for many scenarios, SkyPostal can offer not just the cheapest shipping for their customers, but also the best overall experience.
The United States Postal Service offers a variety of choices for shipping to Latin America. While the costs may be manageable, the shipping times range between 10 and 20 days, depending on the level of service.
Furthermore, USPS has strict weight and size limitations. As the weights go up on USPS First Class Parcels, for example, the cost can exceed $50.
To find a detailed breakdown comparing the costs of USPS with SkyPostal’s services, visit our comparison here.
Compared to DHL’s Express Worldwide shipping, SkyPostal can save you 50-75% per package. Not only that, we don’t charge additional handling fees upon delivery. While DHL has shorter end-to-end times in some instances, SkyPostal provides comparable shipping times for lower costs—helping you strike the right balance between the cost savings and shipping duration.
To find a more expansive breakdown comparing our services with the costs of DHL, visit our comparison here.
Besides price and shipping times, SkyPostal provides more value and service that global carriers can’t offer. We have a network of local carriers and customer service partners in the region who can help your business provide localized support. Local representatives are critical when your customers need to process returns. SkyPostal has been doing business in Latin America for decades, and we have the personnel on the ground that can help you close any gaps in your logistics in the region.
Our established presence in Latin America has also given us the ability to develop modern logistics conveniences and a robust final mile approach that other carriers can’t match. With our technology offerings, we can provide integrated solutions and package tracking that gives your customers door-to-door visibility. Our partnership with local carriers makes it less likely that packages get lost en route or refused because of incorrect addresses.
As you look for international shipping partners to help your e-commerce company break into Latin American markets, remember to consider the entirety of the logistics process. It’s important to account for the full customer experience, not just offering the cheapest international shipping possible.
Partner with SkyPostal for the Cheapest International Shipping to Latin America
SkyPostal has decades of experience specializing in shipping to Latin America, and we’re ready to help you get the most out of your international shipping to the region.
Contact us today to learn how we can customize the international shipping experience for your business.