E-commerce has been the fastest-growing channel over the last decade, and COVID-19 has accelerated the shift in the U.S. and abroad. Worldwide e-commerce sales are on the rise, and they are expected to reach nearly $5 trillion this year. Fortunately, for retailers, international shipping has become extremely affordable within the e-commerce space, opening up new markets and opportunities to grow your business.
Worldwide e-commerce sales are on the rise, and they are expected to reach nearly $5 trillion this year.
Given that there are more than 7.5 billion people globally, and only 325 million of them are in the U.S., global e-commerce presents unlimited opportunities, said Kasia Wenker, director of supply chain solutions for ITS Logistics. “According to Forbes magazine, just 1 percent of the 30 million companies in the United States sell internationally,” she said.
Businesses worldwide are increasingly moving online and more and more customers every day are making purchases from stores based outside of their country. “E-commerce business owners have to stay up to date on the changing competitive landscape,” Wenker said, adding that social media has become a very valuable sales vehicle that can easily and inexpensively reach across international borders.
Cost-Effective International Shipping
One aspect of business that is constantly changing is shipping, and today’s global e-commerce is easier to execute and much more affordable. That is making it simpler for those in the U.S. to tap into a worldwide customer base, Wenker said.
“With the right solutions, you can minimize the shipping cost impact,” she said, adding that shippers can use a combination of tools to customize the international market just like a separate local market. “This is something that we’ve really been helping more of our customers with and having great success.”
Several providers, including UPS, have established specific e-commerce solutions for packages weighing less than 10 pounds. With UPS Worldwide Economy, for example, the shipping cost of a one-pound package to Australia is less than $13. The service delivers to 210 countries for packages less than 4.4 pounds and 42 countries for packages less than 10 pounds. “Global shipping is now easier to execute and much more affordable for even small to mid-cap companies,” Wenker said.
With UPS Worldwide Economy, for example, the shipping cost of a one-pound package to Australia is less than $13. The service delivers to 210 countries for packages less than 4.4 pounds and 42 countries for packages less than 10 pounds.
Retailers and consumer brands must compete on their digital capabilities, and the shopping and shipping process must be seamless for customers. With the right solutions, retailers can handle international orders themselves rather than via a distributor. That allows retailers to retain greater control over their customers’ experiences, Wenker said. It can also increase customer loyalty and repeat purchasing.
While there is a significant opportunity to serve markets outside of the U.S., retailers must address several critical components. “Building a localized e-commerce presence can be complex, but there are several tools to help address currency conversions and customs,” Wenker said, adding that 3PLs can help coordinate the best available technologies.
Today’s online shopping carts have reporting capabilities that can track users’ countries, which helps ensure appropriate fees are assessed at the point of purchase. “That way it’s a seamless process and the customer doesn’t get a package with postage due,” Wenker said.
Today’s online shopping carts have reporting capabilities that can track users’ countries, which helps ensure appropriate fees are assessed at the point of purchase.
These tools help easily establish all customs fees upfront at the time of purchase for International commerce. Merchants can prepay all fees or choose to charge the customers directly, and the package does not get stuck in customs or arrive to the customer with any cash-on-delivery request.
Historically, returns have also been a concern with global sales, but even reverse logistics has gotten easier. “We coordinate with experts who specialize in international returns and the entire process has become very manageable for the end-user,” Wenker said.
Take Advantage of Future Opportunities
As e-commerce sales continue to grow across the globe, demand from consumers will also increase, creating new opportunities for exporting in both business-to-consumer and business-to-business shipments.
“International shipments are increasingly important, and it is vital to growing during these challenging times,” Wenker said. “There are countless opportunities for exporting. As a 3PL, we can help businesses to serve those countries efficiently and at the lowest price point.”
“International shipments are increasingly important, and it is vital to growing during these challenging times,” Wenker said.
To learn more about how ITS Logistics can help you connect with global markets at an affordable rate, contact Director of Supply Chain Solutions Kasia Wenker at (775) 353-5160 or firstname.lastname@example.org.