When it comes to the problems with international shipping, we’ve heard it all – it’s expensive, international customers are demanding, our products are restricted, we can’t figure out customs.
Simply put, those are not good enough reasons to avoid shipping your products cross-border. Here’s why:
Your customers are out there
You have the supply, but is there demand? Survey says: Yes.
Demand is only growing. Forrester reports that cross-border shipping will make up 20% of eCommerce by 2022, with sales equaling $627 billion. This is in part because eCommerce giants like Rakuten in Asia, Flipkart in India, and Amazon all over the place are rapidly introducing new populations and markets to online shopping. Familiarity with eCommerce, along with streamlined payments processes, mean more and more consumers all over the world feel comfortable shopping online.
If you’re curious about expanding into a new international market, you can first head over to Export.gov and see a frequently-updated overview of economic conditions in the country or region where you’re planning to sell.
Your competitors are doing it
DHL surveyed 1,800 retailers and 71% of those expected their cross-border sales share to increase.
Pitney Bowes also found that a third of the 1,200 online retailers surveyed considered international selling their top growth lever. In the same report, 93% percent of online merchants either already offered cross-border shipping or planned to by 2019.
For U.S. merchants, going international only makes sense because the U.S. share of global eCommerce sales is steadily decreasing as new markets emerge.
You have the data
The key to your first cross-border market may be hiding out in your website’s analytics right now.
According to the same DHL report, a large-scale analysis run in cooperation with SimilarWeb of the top 1,000 shopping websites in each European country showed that more than 1 in 4 of them had significant international traffic, even in smaller, less-connected markets such as Ireland or Croatia.
Fashion and electronics were the top cross-border sellers, but up-and-coming product categories included beauty and cosmetics, pet care, food and beverage, and sporting goods. Tools like ShipperHQ can provide analytics showing you where your customers and potential customers are located.
It’s getting cheaper and easier
When we talk to eCommerce merchants about international shipping two major concerns crop up over and over again: the cost and the hassle.
When in the U.S. you may be accustomed to shipping a parcel from Massachusetts to California for a few bucks, international shipping costs can appear staggering. And that’s without the addition of customs and duties. Further, unless you’ve nailed down relationships with carriers and set up shipping methods, your items can slip into a sort of a transit black box, with neither you nor your customer knowing exactly where the parcel is nor when it will arrive. Further, online shoppers now demand that their packages arrive quickly after they click “Buy Now.”
Fortunately, as cross-border commerce becomes more common, carriers are meeting the needs of both eCommerce sellers and customers. For example, premium or express shipping solves both the problem of parcel tracking and delivering the order to the customer within the expected time frame after the purchase.
Or, to let numbers do the talking, DHL’s survey found that online retailers offering premium cross-border shipping were growing 1.6 times faster than those who did not.
…And more profitable
According to Statista, the average order value of an international sale is $147 USD, which is 17% higher than an average domestic sale. Further, DHL’s survey found that around 20% of cross-border purchases were worth over $200 USD. Perhaps savviness around shipping charges has your international customers demanding more bang from their buck (or Euro or yen) in each transaction.
Are you exploring cross-border shipping? ShipperHQ has over 10 years experience with thousands of merchants large and small in the international space.