Thinking of selling online goods overseas? Here’s what you should know

Thinking of selling online goods overseas?  Here’s what you should know.

E-commerce has exploded worldwide. While there are some dominant players in the space like Amazon and Alibaba, there is still plenty of opportunity for smaller businesses with the right
combination of technology platforms and unique product offerings.  When exploring the potential to extend your e-commerce offerings overseas, here are some key considerations to take into account.

The cost of freight – Speed versus Cost

The challenge with supplying orders overseas can be finding the right balance of price versus speed of delivery. Traditionally goods have been transported overseas by ship to keep costs low. But today’s consumer want their goods sooner, not later. On one end of the scale you have express international courier. This is the fastest, most direct service available and delivery takes days, not weeks. A courier collects the item from you and you have full track and trace visibility. This is typically the more expensive option. At the other end of the scale is international postal delivery. This is usually the lower cost option, but requires a trip to the post office, and you’ll only know it’s delivered once the receiver says so. In the middle is a specialised service like the New Zealand Couriers ePost offering. This hybrid service combines the features of courier with the lower cost levels of postal. A courier collects your item and places it into the international mail system – but with track and trace visibility.

The knowledge gap – Dealing with customs

All exporters must understand the laws and documentation requirements of the country they are shipping to. This can be difficult, though, because every country is different. Understanding a particular country’s laws can present a real challenge, and small business owners often don’t have the time or resources to investigate this, so it sits in the ‘too hard’ basket. This is where having a knowledgeable partner can make a big difference – who is familiar with, and can advise on the customs requirements for different countries.

Technology levels the playing field

Smaller players can foot it with the bigger players now by using specialised overseas freight applications. These IT systems produce all the customs declarations and documentation required.
You fill in delivery details, the destination, and service to be used and the system populates the required documentation ready to be printed. Businesses that thought they would have to set up all new processes, or create a new export despatch team, were delighted to find how IT systems actually made it as easy to send internationally as domestically.

Global opportunity awaits

Is your business ready to take a slice of the global e-commerce pie? Connecting with the right team can make what seems like a daunting barrier, very manageable. So, why not start!