International logistics can get tricky when you’re expanding into new markets or growing your business abroad.
Avoid getting your packages held up at customs or your parcels being abandoned by your customers by simplifying your cross-border planning with these five tips.
1. Find the Right Fulfillment Location
If you’re traveling to the U.K. from the United States for vacation, it makes a big difference whether you’re departing from New York or Los Angeles. The same is true for shipping your international parcels.
Third-party fulfillment allows you to position your inventory as close to your customer base as possible. Compared to self-fulfillment, where your company ships, houses, and packages the parcels onsite, third-party fulfillment takes most of that work off your hands and enables you to respond rapidly to changes in global demand for your products.
If you’re shipping to Latin America from the U.S., you may choose a fulfillment center in Miami; if you’re shipping to China or Japan, you may choose to fulfill your goods out of Hawaii or California.
Finding the right fulfillment location helps keep costs and shipping times down for your customers.
2. Do Your Paperwork Ahead of Time
Paperwork is one of the most common stumbling blocks for international merchants—getting it right before your products leave the country can mean the difference between a happy customer and your merchandise being abandoned at customs.
If you choose to forgo using a third-party logistics company like SkyPostal who can handle all of this paperwork for you, check out the U.S. Government-run www.Export.gov for the most up-to-date documentation requirements. There you can determine which forms you need to complete for each country. Say you’re shipping to Chile: according to Export.gov, you’ll need a commercial invoice, certificate of origin, bill of lading, freight insurance, and packing list for standard goods.
3. Choose the Simplest Approach to Duties and Taxes
Most countries determine how much your shipment will be taxed based on what you’re shipping. They do that by classifying goods according to different systems, including the Harmonized System (HS), although many Latin American countries utilize their own independent classification systems.
Duties can be a big stumbling block at customs; if you don’t give your customers a clear estimate of what they owe, they may get sticker shock and abandon their purchase mid-shipment.
Avoid the duty drama by outsourcing collection through a third-party service provider like SkyPostal or a customs broker. With SkyPostal, for example, your customers can use our secure portal to see and pay exactly what’s due before the package even leaves the U.S.
4. Localize Your International Logistics as Much as Possible
One of the most challenging parts of international logistics is the fact that your company might not do business in the same language as the place where you’re exporting.
Localization—otherwise known as translating and adapting your products and services to specific regions—can boost your business potential overall in those areas. It can also help you avoid hold-ups at customs and potentially deal-killing errors with your customers.
For international logistics, localizing encompasses a lot of steps. According to FitSmallBusiness, localizing can include where you fulfill your packages, the currency you charge your customers in, and translating shipping documents and bills of sale into the local language. These steps can speed up the process, and help your customers avoid unnecessary delays and costs.
5. Partner With a Third-Party Logistics Company
International logistics can be a daunting task if you’re new to the region’s markets or your business is expanding rapidly. Rather than handling it all in-house, utilizing a third-party logistics company can “free up all sorts of time to spend on things like marketing, sales, web design and more,” according to eCommerce Platforms.
Contact us today to see how SkyPostal can simplify your Latin American logistics by handling all of your customs clearance, fulfillment, package tracking, and final mile needs.