This article provides considerations and best practices for shipping your ecommerce products through cross-border trade.
Last Published: 10/28/2016

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Have you considered international fulfillment and shipping tools & services?

A fulfillment service provider is something you may want to look into to help you with managing your online orders.  When an order is made on your website, your fulfillment service provider with either pick up the product from your business or will have it already stored in its warehouse.  From there the fulfillment service provider will then pack, complete shipping paperwork, and works with the shipping provider to deliver it to your customer.  Shipping cross-border ecommerce goods is the same process as international shipments and export shipments.  Make sure you conduct your due diligence on your ecommerce shipping service provider’s services, pricing, rules, and applicable regulations.

Would your customers wait an extra week or more for your product to be delivered?

You need to provide shipping terms on your website for your international clients, so that they know there may be additional costs and shipping times due to the cross-border nature of the transaction.

Are you familiar with Incoterms?

You should be familiar with Incoterms  (International Commercial Terms) as they will play a direct role in the landed cost your consumer pays.  Incoterms are the same for traditional exporting as they are for cross-border ecommerce.

Who is your shipping service provider, and are they suitable for your specific needs?

Each shipping service provider has their own set of strengths, specialty service offerings, and levels of service that sets them apart from their competition.  It is up to you to decide which services and specialties you require to make cross-border ecommerce an enjoyable experience for your clients. 

Are your shipping terms and costs clearly explained and identified?  

You need to clearly state the shipping options, timelines and costs associated with international shipping. Be familiar with Incoterms (International Commercial Terms), tariff codes, and customs as they will play a direct role in the landed costs your consumer pays. Depending on the shipper/fulfillment provider you choose this should be easily viewed and understood by the customer. 

USG provided resources:

We always recommend contacting a local International Trade Specialist or Global eCommerce Specialist within the U.S. Commercial Service’s worldwide network to receive free counseling.  Through our International Expansion Blueprint service, our trade professionals can help map out a global ecommerce strategy and to determine which markets might be best for your product or service.  Also, you can do some preliminary homework by taking advantage of the Country Commercial Guides (CCGs).  Produced by U.S. embassies and consulates abroad, the CCGs provide the latest “boots-on-the-ground” market intelligence on more than 140 countries.


Industry provided resources:

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For Further Consideration:

•    Protect Your Online Brand
•    Choosing an eCommerce Channel Mix
•    Identify eCommerce Market Opportunities
•    Optimize Your User Experience (UX)
•    Build Your Digital Brand
•    Getting Paid from Cross-Border eCommerce
•    Manage After-Sales Service
•    Price Your eCommerce Products


This article brought to you by the eCommerce Export Resource Center

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