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5 Frequently Asked Questions About Shipping Internationally

wrapped package for shipping internationally

Did you know that shipping internationally can increase your potential customer base to as many as 7.6 billion people throughout the world? That's a huge opportunity for an increase in sales!

Not all businesses sell items that are good candidates for international shipping, however. Whether or not you should ship internationally depends on a variety of factors. Read on for five frequently asked questions about international shipping.

Can I Ship Anything Internationally?

Unfortunately, no. Many businesses won't have issues shipping their products, but there are some surprising restrictions. It's a good idea to be aware of carrier restrictions and trade laws before you open up to the international market.

Different carriers have different restrictions. The United States Postal Service won't ship aerosols, alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, nail polish, or perfumes internationally. UPS, however, will ship alcohol internationally if the shipment meets specific criteria.

Check with different carriers for their list of restricted items.

Are There Specific Regulations for Shipping Internationally?

Yes, between the United States and the country of destination, there are plenty of regulations to go around. International import and export law rules when you're shipping internationally.

In addition to trade laws, different countries have rules about what can come into their country, some normal, some truly bizarre.

For example:

Vietnam won't allow the importation of foreign calendars. So save that ‘Dog of the Day’ calendar for a customer in another country.

Selling shoes? Don't send them to South Africa, Mexico, or India! They've banned matching pairs of shoes from importation unless you have a license. Always verify that the receiving country will allow your item into their country, even if it seems like a safe item to ship.

Should I Ship Everywhere?

This is one of the most important things to consider when creating an international shipping policy.

There are two things to consider: the cost of shipping itself (what the carrier charges), and the duties the receiving country will charge.

The cost of international shipping is an issue if you sell items that are particularly large, bulky, or heavy. If your product is heavy and inexpensive, shipping internationally will likely be too expensive. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of international shipping costs.

Duties apply when an item has a value over a certain dollar amount. If duties apply, you will have to decide whether you will pay them or the customer will pay them.

How Do I Save Money on Shipping?

If you have a high-volume business, it is worthwhile to look into using a package fulfillment service. Fulfillment services charge a flat fee to the business and then handle everything from shipping to customs to trade regulations.

Consumers can save money on shipping by using a parcel forwarding service. Customers simply purchase an item from an international business and have it mailed to an address within that country. The forwarding service sends the item to the customer in their country.

Parcel forwarding services are also available for businesses. Many offer shipping discounts and a hassle-free shipping experience for business owners.

How Do I Calculate What to Charge?

The best way to determine what to charge is to use an international shipping calculator.

Carriers also offer quotes if you are uncomfortable with online calculators. Simply call the carrier and tell them what and where you're sending your package.

Check Out Our Website for More Information!

Shipping internationally is a great way to shake up your business and bring in more income. Be sure to look into international import and export laws, shipping rates, and duties charges in order to minimize your costs and maximize your profits.

For more information on international shipping, check out our blog!