Author Topic: International Shipping Business / e-Commerce / Export  (Read 584 times)

YoungStache

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International Shipping Business / e-Commerce / Export
« on: August 10, 2018, 12:15:56 PM »
Anyone here do export or ship internationally?

I'm working on a e-commerce business that only ships internationally, from the US. Eventually, I'd have enough volume to get a warehouse. I'm trying to figure out the logistics, as there seems to be so many regulations, laws, customs requirements, international laws.

Aside from knowing what is prohibited in the consignee country, as well as customs restrictions, how do I go about piecing everything together?

What shipping carrier do you use? Do you contract with multiple (DHL, UPS, FedEx, USPS) and use their services on a case-by-case basis depending on cost?

Can you negotiate business partnerships to get preferred shipping rates? Do you compare each of the carriers and choose the cheapest one to save the buyer money?

Do you offer returns to overseas customers?

Are there any ancillary software or inventory or equipment specifically for sorting, repackaging, package fulfillment that would make life easier, and required to scale?

Am I missing anything? Seems like a steep learning curve.

PhoenixHeat

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Re: International Shipping Business / e-Commerce / Export
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2018, 11:33:27 PM »
Contact UPS and request to speak with the local account manager. UPS drools over export package volume. 2 packages a week can move the needle of a reps plan. Ask for their best price on teh export packages to all countries you are serving. If you get 65% and above you are getting their best price for starters..

Good luck. A little bird told me.

everyredpenny

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Re: International Shipping Business / e-Commerce / Export
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2018, 06:42:36 AM »
Anyone here do export or ship internationally?

I'm working on a e-commerce business that only ships internationally, from the US. Eventually, I'd have enough volume to get a warehouse. I'm trying to figure out the logistics, as there seems to be so many regulations, laws, customs requirements, international laws.

Aside from knowing what is prohibited in the consignee country, as well as customs restrictions, how do I go about piecing everything together?

What shipping carrier do you use? Do you contract with multiple (DHL, UPS, FedEx, USPS) and use their services on a case-by-case basis depending on cost?

Can you negotiate business partnerships to get preferred shipping rates? Do you compare each of the carriers and choose the cheapest one to save the buyer money?

Do you offer returns to overseas customers?

Are there any ancillary software or inventory or equipment specifically for sorting, repackaging, package fulfillment that would make life easier, and required to scale?

Am I missing anything? Seems like a steep learning curve.

I have a company that makes one product and a few accessories for said product. We ship internationally via USPS first class for individual orders.  We use USPS Express for international dealer orders.  On international orders, an itemized list will appear on the label, for Europe the duty is calculated from your declared value.  We had a few orders to Germany get held up because their customs needed to open the box and look at the pack slip.  Since then, we've started putting a duplicate packslip for all international orders on the outside of the box in a pouch and haven't run into the issue again.

The product is simple and works very well, and most customers love it.  We get very few returns, one return for every one or two thousand customers.   

As far as packing goes, we sell "cases" of 1, 5 and 20 so we order boxes to fit that number of units. We also have a 4" label printer. Nothing else that specialized, it is a niche product and we deal in small volumes at most a few orders in a day.

YoungStache

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Re: International Shipping Business / e-Commerce / Export
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2018, 09:06:03 PM »
Contact UPS and request to speak with the local account manager. UPS drools over export package volume. 2 packages a week can move the needle of a reps plan. Ask for their best price on teh export packages to all countries you are serving. If you get 65% and above you are getting their best price for starters..

Good luck. A little bird told me.

65 % discount? Or 65% of retail price???

Also, why not DHL? Isn't DHL world-renowned for international shipping?

YoungStache

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Re: International Shipping Business / e-Commerce / Export
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2018, 09:07:58 PM »
Anyone here do export or ship internationally?

I'm working on a e-commerce business that only ships internationally, from the US. Eventually, I'd have enough volume to get a warehouse. I'm trying to figure out the logistics, as there seems to be so many regulations, laws, customs requirements, international laws.

Aside from knowing what is prohibited in the consignee country, as well as customs restrictions, how do I go about piecing everything together?

What shipping carrier do you use? Do you contract with multiple (DHL, UPS, FedEx, USPS) and use their services on a case-by-case basis depending on cost?

Can you negotiate business partnerships to get preferred shipping rates? Do you compare each of the carriers and choose the cheapest one to save the buyer money?

Do you offer returns to overseas customers?

Are there any ancillary software or inventory or equipment specifically for sorting, repackaging, package fulfillment that would make life easier, and required to scale?

Am I missing anything? Seems like a steep learning curve.

I have a company that makes one product and a few accessories for said product. We ship internationally via USPS first class for individual orders.  We use USPS Express for international dealer orders.  On international orders, an itemized list will appear on the label, for Europe the duty is calculated from your declared value.  We had a few orders to Germany get held up because their customs needed to open the box and look at the pack slip.  Since then, we've started putting a duplicate packslip for all international orders on the outside of the box in a pouch and haven't run into the issue again.

The product is simple and works very well, and most customers love it.  We get very few returns, one return for every one or two thousand customers.   

As far as packing goes, we sell "cases" of 1, 5 and 20 so we order boxes to fit that number of units. We also have a 4" label printer. Nothing else that specialized, it is a niche product and we deal in small volumes at most a few orders in a day.

In the event that you scale and have high volume, what kind of inventory/tracking/sorting system/software/3rd party apps would you use?

Are the invoices just on the shipping carriers' websites?

Looking for ways to streamline. Anticipating high volume down the line. Only difference is it wouldn't be an eCommerce product. It would a package consolidation and international shipping service.

everyredpenny

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Re: International Shipping Business / e-Commerce / Export
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2018, 06:47:58 AM »

In the event that you scale and have high volume, what kind of inventory/tracking/sorting system/software/3rd party apps would you use?

Are the invoices just on the shipping carriers' websites?

Looking for ways to streamline. Anticipating high volume down the line. Only difference is it wouldn't be an eCommerce product. It would a package consolidation and international shipping service.

I hadn't really thought that far ahead since the target market is small and I sell only one product.  I am the only one that looks at the books right now and I use spreadsheets for everything.

The jobs that you mention are typically handled by an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system.  In my time as a software developer, I've built integrations with an number of different ERP systems so I know a little about them.  Different vendors specialize in serving different industries. There are ERP's for manufacturers and also ones designed for running warehouses, sometimes called Warehouse Management Systems.  You wouldn't use a vendor like that when you're just getting started though because they're expensive.  When you're ready, you'd find the appropriate vendor for your business and they would come in and help you get your business set up. 

If you google what you need, you can probably find suitable software for the specific need.  Look for ones that meet your needs and try them out.  Your problem starting out isn't going to be scaling too quickly, it's going to be not having enough customers.  I spent a lot of time when I started out building a custom eCommerce system that met my (assumed!) business needs exactly.  Turns out some of the features I thought I needed I did actually need, but many I did not need.  I switched to Shopify after a few years ago.  My primary reason for making the switch is I was spending a lot of time maintaining the software, it was also cheaper to host then my custom system. 

In short, start out with a solution that's a simple as possible and build it up from there as needed.