International Shipping: Why Businesses Need To Go Global

We’re Experiencing an Unprecedented Rise in Global Ecommerce

The majority of consumers from around the world are already engaged in the global market. This means that online orders are happening cross border more than ever before — an estimated $4.8 trillion in total global ecommerce sales by 2021. 

And as purchasing power has steadily shifted from the United States and Europe toward Asia, we see a rise in the number of foreign marketplaces creating opportunity for US-based merchants, as well as certain countries total annual spend on global ecommerce.

map of Asia, showing China's market potential, with $672 billion invested in ecommerce in 2020

Consumers in China, for example, spent $672B on global ecommerce in 2018, nearly double what was spent in the US during the same year. In an effort to capitlize on this, many US brands have begun localize their brand for various foreign markets.

It may sound cliche, but there is a whole world of consumers — with billions of potential customers — that want the type of products sold by US merchants. Additionally, established marketplace channels are looking to surface more products to more consumers around the world, making for a ‘perfect storm’ of opportunity.”

Krish Iyer, Head of Industry Relations and Strategic Partnerships, ShipStation

Shipping internationally could help you expand your ecommerce brand and enter new customer segments.

But, just because there is demand does not make for an easy journey. International shipping comes with a host of complications and intricacies that can be hard to navigate, even for bigger, omnichannel brands. The key is understanding these complexities so you can determine the best way to set your business up for international success. Because, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy.

What’s Preventing Businesses From Expanding Internationally?

  • Lack of an international customer base
  • Unpredictability of shipping costs, due to customs, taxes, and duties
  • Inability to provide transparency around shipping fees to customers
  • Need for a localized brand presence in each market
  • Insecurities around meeting consumer expectations (shipping costs, speed, returns, etc.)
  • Having to manage orders in multiple currencies
  • Limited resources and carrier connections

In an effort to learn more about our users needs, we recently conducted an informal survey in regards to cross border shipping. 45% of surveyed users — who were currently shipping internationally — said that the unpredictability of shipping costs was the most difficult element of their global fulfillment strategy.

And, of those who had yet to expand to offer cross border shipping, more than one third said not knowing which HTS codes to use was the primary reason why they had not entered a foreign market.

Why Determining International Shipping Rates Can Be So Intimidating

It’s no coincidence that both seasoned international shipping veterans and businesses that have yet to ship internationally feel the same about international shipping costs. With customs, duties and taxes changing frequently, total landing cost can be really hard for businesses to nail down.

That’s the driving force behind ShipEngine’s latest release, the Total Landed Cost API for international shipping. Making fully landed costs simple, automated, and more predictable.

This new feature lets you shop international shipping rates easily by giving you cost breakdowns that are inclusive of postage plus any relevant duties and other taxes. Our API uses your harmonized tariff codes to calculate the expected cross border costs, and then communicate them back to you. ShipEngine can also generate harmonized tariff codes for your products if you’re not currently selling internationally.

Want to Learn How to Navigate The Complexities of Cross Border Shipping?

Expanding Borders: The International Shipping Playbook ebook

Are you ready to start seizing opportunities in foreign markets? Check out our International Shipping Playbook to reveal industry best practices and market potentials in regards to cross border commerce.

This ebook will demonstrate your vast opportunities for growth, help you determine your place in the global ecommerce market, provide you with tips for navigating the complexities of international order fulfillment, and set you up with key strategies for success. 

Download the ebook to find out more!

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