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Everything You Need to Know About International Shipping from the UK

Over recent years, more and more online selling companies have started to ship their goods internationally. With the rise in buying and selling products online, it has also become much easier. If you’re considering expanding your online business, it is likely that at some point you will have to organize the international shipping of your products from the UK to your customers over the world.

Unlike the straightforward world of sending parcel across the UK, shipping internationally can be uncertain territory for UK sellers.

So what do eCommerce business owners need to know about how to ship internationally? In this article, we outline some useful considerations that need to be made when it comes to international shipping from the UK.

Has Brexit Impacted Commercial Relations?

Since the UK left the EU, small businesses may worry about increased exporting costs, the changes in regulation and what they mean for accessing EU markets and. The UK is less likely to benefit from the open borders that previously enabled the freedom of movement of goods into Europe. With stricter customs regulations for packages entering and leaving the UK, some British products may be restricted or even prohibited.

Additionally, shipping times could be longer when making the journey across the border.

As the consequences of Brexit on shipping make themselves known, it’s best to plan your strategy beforehand so that you are prepared for any scenario of shipping to Europe and to the rest of the world.

What do I need to know about International Shipping from the UK?

Thanks to technology, it has never been easier to sell your items online and to ship them to all corners of the globe. Expanding to foreign markets creates a huge opportunity for eCommerce businesses, but it doesn’t come without its challenges.

There are several considerations that need to be made when shipping internationally from the UK. Including:

  • Transit costs might be higher: Sending parcels to far and wide destinations will naturally incur higher costs. However, by selecting the right carrier you can adjust your expenses to ensure you get a good return on your investment.
  • Customs documents require careful management: It may take some time to understand and get to grips with customs paperwork, but our guide will help you to understand the documentation you need to ship and deal with customs.
  • Resources needed might increase: Including needing extra time for admin, or physical resources like extra packaging or software. Risk of loss or failure to deliver might be higher: Like with any kind of delivery, international shipping comes with significant risk. Making sure that you fully understand the process and choosing a partner with a good reputation will help you mitigate these risks.
  • Making sure to choose the right carrier: Make sure to choose a reliable carrier aligned with your needs, objectives and budget. And if you’re having a hard time finding a good match, don’t hesitate to resort to expert in logistics that offer broad ranges of courier options and pre-negotiated shipping prices that you might not be able to obtain on your own.

Can I save money on international shipping?

There are several things you can do to help to keep your costs as low as possible when you ship items internationally, without compromising the quality of service.

Here are some ways you can save money when shipping items across the globe:

  • Reduce packaging where you can: The smaller your parcel, the less you will spend on shipping. The biggest benefit of reducing packaging is to the environment, but that should not come at the cost of the quality of your service.
  • Offer alternative delivery options: Some customers may not need their products urgently, so why not offer them cheaper shipping by showing them a variety of delivery options? Customers will appreciate being offered the choice and it will certainly benefit your pockets too.
  • Ship to service points: Shipping to service points rather than directly to the customer’s door will help you to save money as well as giving customers the flexibility of being able to pick up their packages at a time that is more convenient to them.

International shipping: What can and cannot be sent overseas

Every single country has its own laws surrounding what is and what is not accepted through the post. If the goods you send internationally do not comply with customs regulations, they will be held up at customs and will not make it to their destination.

In the United Kingdom, for example, you cannot legally ship products such as pesticides, matches, or foreign lottery tickets. You also cannot ship fragrances or aerosols, but they can be sent using a mail fulfilment service.

Make sure you thoroughly investigate the regulations in place in the countries where you desire to expand your business.

Should I include the cost of shipping in my prices?

Understanding the cost of shipping is a crucial part of running your business successfully. International shipping can also be one of the most expensive aspects of selling online, and a mistake that is often made by ecommerce businesses is underestimating the overall cost of shipping.

So what are the international shipping rates to take into account? They actually vary depending on a range of factors, but you should have a guide of shipping costs available on your website so that customers are not stung by unexpectedly high shipping costs at the checkout. Alternatively, state that you may be able to reduce the cost of shipping if multiple purchases are included in one shipment.

In addition to the location, other factors of shipping costs should be considered. These are:

  • The size and weight of the package
  • How it is being sent (class, courier, recorded delivery etc)
  • How it needs to be packaged (eg- polystyrene for delicate products, vs envelopes for clothing)

As you can see, when it comes to shipping your products internationally, it can seem like a lot to understand, particularly with the new rules about shipping to the EU post-Brexit. The most important thing is to take the time to do your research, making sure that you understand the responsibilities you have as a business owner. Consider the needs of your business both now and in the future.

Don't hesitate to take a look at some of our useful guides and you should soon be able to take the global market by storm!

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