If you’re searching for new ways to grow your business and unlock additional revenue in 2024, expanding beyond local borders could be the ideal option. Studies show the average order value of an international sale is up to $9 more than a domestic sale.
Plus, international expansion gives you an opportunity to reach new customers and markets you never encountered before.
Unfortunately, while selling internationally can be an excellent way to increase revenue, it is not without its challenges. One of the biggest issues you’ll need to overcome involves figuring out how you’re going to ship your goods safely and efficiently overseas without breaking the bank.
International shipping comes with more challenges, risks, and expenses to consider than standard domestic shipping. Fortunately, there are ways you can simplify the process and improve your chances of global success.
Step 1: Work With An Online Freight Forwarder
One of the best and most effective ways to simplify international shipping for the year ahead is to work with the right partners. Freight forwarders are often essential to global companies, helping to connect brands with logistics providers and shipment companies worldwide. They can give you access to cheaper shipping rates, as well as extensive support with cross-border logistics and management.
It’s worth thinking carefully about the type of freight forwarder you want to work with. A digital or online freight forwarder can offer all of the same benefits of a traditional freight forwarding partner, as well as some extras.
With an online forwarder, you gain access to a convenient digital platform where you can get instant insights into real-time shipping rates, consolidate shipping documents, communicate with third parties, and even track orders as they travel. This makes it much easier to maintain agile control over your logistics strategy, and so reduces the risk of unnecessary delays.
Step 2: Learn More About International Rules and Regulations
Navigating customs and cross-border logistics are the two biggest challenges small businesses face when expanding internationally. Each country or region has its own rules to consider, and it’s important to ensure you know exactly what you’re going to be dealing with when preparing documentation and shipments.
For instance, some countries can prohibit the entry of certain items, while others limit which items you can send overseas. Different countries may also have specific rules on what you need to include on shipping labels and documents. Your online freight forwarder may be able to offer some assistance with navigating customs, but it’s worth expanding your own education too.
Companies like UPS offer tools where you can examine the territory-specific rules and regulations in each country you want to serve. You can also research any questions you might have about customs management online.
Step 3: Invest in Order Tracking Technology
Mastering international shipping isn’t just a matter of ensuring you’re sending products overseas securely and efficiently with the right methods and carriers. You also need to ensure you can keep a close eye on your shipments, so you can respond rapidly to any issues or delays.
Your logistics strategy can be affected by a wide range of factors, from geopolitical problems to environmental concerns. The quicker you learn about potential shipping problems, the faster you can re-route your shipments or make changes to your initial plans.
Order tracking tools will help you to monitor your shipments throughout the supply chain. Plus, they’ll give you the insights you need to share information about problems transparently with your customers. This can help to improve your brand reputation and relationships with clients.
As we said before, most online freight forwarders include real-time order tracking within their platforms.
Step 4: Experiment with Innovative Tools
Technology can help to optimize various aspects of the shipping process, regardless of whether you’re building a domestic or international supply chain. The chances are you’re already using inventory and warehouse management tools to enhance your operations.
However, as the digital world continues to transform, it’s worth taking a closer look at innovative tools that might simplify your shipping journey and save your business time and money. For instance, supply chain management tools enhanced with artificial intelligence and machine learning can help you to predict potential problems with your shipping strategies more effectively, so you can mitigate these issues before they harm your brand’s reputation.
Intelligent tools can also help you to automate certain processes, like tracking inventory counts, forecasting future inventory needs, and even sending updates to your customers about the location of their products or purchases.
Step 5: Use Data To Inform Future Strategies
Finally, the world of international shipping is complex, dynamic, and ever changing. If you want to ensure you’re unlocking the right results for your business, keeping costs low, and constantly streamlining your strategies, you need to be able to adapt.
The best way to do this is to collect and leverage as much data as you can when making decisions about your future logistics strategy. Pay attention to which shipping suppliers and logistics partners constantly deliver the best results for your company. Carefully evaluate the difference in ROI between various shipping methods, such as air freight versus ocean freight.
Additionally, pay attention to the feedback you get from your customers. Ask yourself whether your current shipping strategy is living up to consumer expectations for speed and efficiency. This will help you to make the right decisions for your company’s future.
Expanding Into International Shipping
Taking your business into new territories and countries can be an excellent way to increase revenue and access new opportunities in 2024. However, before you can reap the benefits, you’ll need to ensure you’re taking the right approach to international shipping.
Use the steps above to ensure you’re developing a global shipping strategy that’s simple, cost-effective, data-driven, and optimized for future business success.