World globe surrounded by packing boxes

Keep your online customers happy with fast, efficient international shipping that doesn’t bust the budget.

Smart e-commerce retailers know how to save on international shipping. Cutting down your freight costs will help you compete against local players that charge lower delivery fees, and ensure your customers are getting the best deal possible on international shipping.

Follow these five tips to reduce your international shipping costs:

1. Use a freight aggregator

While it’s tempting to offer your customers flat-rate international shipping, this can be a mistake for two reasons.

Firstly, as shipping costs vary between package sizes, destination and delivery timeframes, you’ll have to pay any difference between your flat-rate fee and the actual freight charge.

Secondly, flat-fee shipping doesn’t always deliver the best deal to your customers. Instead, use an online freight aggregator that gathers quotes from a range of freight providers and offers your customers a choice between higher cost and faster delivery versus lower cost and slower delivery.

2. Speed is not always in need

When it comes to international shipping the formula is simple. The faster the delivery, the more expensive it will be.

Don’t automatically assume that your customers expect to receive your product in the fastest possible time. Rather, they may be willing to wait an extra few days in order to save on shipping costs. You need to keep customers happy- consider ways you can make their experience better.

Give your customers the option to choose from various delivery timeframes with reduced shipping costs for longer waits.

3. Optimise your packaging

While it’s important to securely package your products to reduced returns, going overboard on the safety front will add to the weight and size of your parcel – and increase the shipping cost.

Ensure you’ve selected a box size that fits your product with a minimum of wasted space, and select lightweight packaging materials such as air bags.

If appropriate, you may also choose to use packaging provided by your freight provider in standard sizing that will eliminate the need for more expensive custom box size quotes.

Read up on import restrictions so you don’t get caught out with a fine.

4. Create an assembly line

Even small e-commerce retailers can benefit from creating an assembly line to pack orders. Break the packing process into a few logical stages (for example, box construction, box fill, and box sealing) to save time and get your orders out faster.

This will not only encourage you to process orders in batches for better productivity, but individual packing stations are easier to manage to ensure all your orders are being packaged in the same way to meet shipping guidelines.

5. Consider a fulfilment warehouse

As your e-commerce business grows, it may pay to consider engaging fulfilment warehouses in your destination countries to handle your packing and delivery from a local base.

This can reduce delivery timeframes and lead to significant international shipping cost savings, however you’ll need to be sending a high volume of goods overseas to make it worth your while.

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