One of the advantages of an eCommerce business is that you can tackle the global market.
Selling your products across the world is an exciting prospect. The problem is that you aren’t the only one involved in distributing your goods.
If you as a business owner had complete control over customer experience from top to bottom, there wouldn’t be anything to worry about.
But once the product leaves your door, it’s out of your hands, and you have to rely on other parties – who may not share your values, urgency, or motivation – to deliver on the promises you made to your customers.
The key to mitigating shipping challenges is foresight and preparation. If you can deal with issues before they arise, you can ensure that your wares get to your international customers in a timely manner.
First, let’s take a look at the challenges you will be facing in global sales.
The Main Challenges Associated With Global Shipping
Are you aware of the different challenges that come along with shipping overseas?
You can’t deal with issues if you aren’t aware of them.
Here are the main challenges:
Let’s consider each of these factors:
Payment & Payment Processing
How well do you know the markets you’re selling to?
People in different parts of the world prefer to pay using different methods. If you aren’t ready to accept payments in a variety of different forms, you aren’t ready to sell internationally yet.
From credit cards to PayPal to other specialized payment methods, you need to be aware of how your customer prefers to pay, and be able to accept their payments using the appropriate eCommerce technologies and tools.
Physical goods have to be shipped out and distributed to the right locations in a timely manner.
If you’re selling cross-boarder, you need a strong logistics system in place. Period.
Understand that there are costs associated with shipping your goods around the world. Understand that finding reliable logistics providers can be challenging. You have to ensure synergy between your organization and theirs.
Also, don’t forget about returns:
If getting the goods to the customer was a complex process, then getting the customer to return unwanted products is also going to be a headache. This can be a particularly complex area to handle, and many eCommerce businesses choose not to.
Regulations are constantly changing.
Some countries treat international companies differently than domestic enterprises. You need to have legal support on your side in case anything goes wrong. Every country has different rules around what can be sold to whom.
Don’t expect to find consistency with taxes and legal regulations in the countries you ship to. Be sure you are aware of the specific requirements around different products, especially weapons, antiques, food, alcohol, and others.
You must stay up-to-date on regulatory issues, and have a legal framework in place for dealing with potential disputes.
Is your company ready to start selling overseas?
This probably seems like a simplistic question, but it’s one you need to think about before opening up to a global market.
How well do you know the markets you plan on selling to? Do you understand their cultural nuisances? Do you have a firm understanding of customer expectations?
On an organizational level, you need to make sure that you have the right staff in place, and that they understand the markets you’re selling to.
Assess the readiness of your organization before plunging headlong into international eCommerce.
There may be some complexities that come along with selling internationally, but for many businesses, the rewards far outweigh the problems.
Just remember to put the right systems in place. Without the proper infrastructure and a deep understanding of your global markets, you’ll run into issues you never anticipated.