How to Use Third-Party Fulfillment to Break into Global Markets

By | February 21, 2020
shipping internationally
Large container ship arriving in port.

Ecommerce has changed the way businesses operate. Advancements in technology have enabled companies to sell to customers across countries with just a few clicks. The prospect of opening your business to global customers might seem daunting. After all, shipping nationally is already a nuanced process. However, global fulfillment can rapidly grow your business and increase your brand recognition exponentially. The most efficient way for any business to sell online is to use a third-party fulfillment service. Fulfillment services handle the entire shipping process for you, saving you time, money, and labor. Offering your products and services to customers outside your home country has a multitude of benefits.

How can shipping globally help my business?

Global eCommerce revenue is expected to reach $4.8 trillion by 2021. By 2022, cross-border purchases will make up 20% of all worldwide eCommerce. China’s domination of global eCommerce is a great example of how shipping internationally can grow a business. With 55.8% of all global eCommerce retail sales revenue in 2019, which is expected to reach 63% by 2022, the country leads the global market. They do this by offering more international shipping options than any other country. The following are ways international shipping can grow your business:

  • Product range – Global markets vary much more widely than domestic ones. Different regions have different product needs. Shipping internationally will allow you to sell a wider range of products.
  • Customer base – International shipping will give you access to a significantly larger number of customers.
  • Brand awareness – Introducing your brand to the international community will increase your visibility and provide opportunities for thought leadership and market innovation.
  • Business growth – Opening up your business to the global community can increase your website traffic and sales exponentially.

International shipping can be difficult, as there are different rules and regulations from county to country. If you run an eCommerce business, consider the following tips for using third-party fulfillment to enter the international market.

Do some research

An important first step is finding out where you’re getting international interest. Start circulating surveys and encouraging website visitors to fill out forms telling you where they’re located. Ask them if they’d like to be able to purchase your products. Use website traffic tracking tools, like StatCounter, to collect data on who is viewing your website. You’ll notice trends in where your viewers are located. For example, you might be getting traffic on your website every day from India. If you don’t ship to India, you may be missing out on potential sales.

Identify global demand

Consider whether there is an international need for your product. You might be selling something about which there isn’t a lot of global knowledge. However, if you’re selling something more universal, international shipping can be effective. For example, people use lamps all over the world. However, things like air conditioners, garbage disposals, and various food products, might not sell well to a global market.

Find a fulfillment service that ships internationally

Now that you’ve decided to ship internationally, you need to choose a third-party fulfillment service. The first thing to look for is whether they offer global shipping options. Many services only ship domestically, so you’ll want to be certain they offer this.

Make sure your service handles every step of the process

A third-party fulfillment service should take the stress of shipping globally off your shoulders. International shipping is a tricky process. It involves dealing with tracking, duties, tariffs, insurance, shipping costs, customs, free trade zones, and delivery. The complications of international shipping often keep businesses from entering the global market. Your fulfillment service should be able to manage all of this for you. If they aren’t taking the hassle and stress of this process off of you, they’re not doing their job. Click here for more on choosing a reputable fulfillment service.

Shipping speed

Your fulfillment service should also be able to meet international delivery-time expectations. Most people don’t want to wait weeks at a time for their order. If they have the option to buy domestically and have their order delivered within a couple of days, they’ll probably take it. To compete within a global market, you need to be able to offer fast, affordable shipping. Make sure your fulfillment service can do this. Many services that offer international shipping have warehouses in other countries. If you’ve gotten a lot of interest from India, for example, look for a fulfillment service that has a warehouse there, or somewhere nearby.

Keep costs down

Shipping internationally can be very expensive. Working with a fulfillment service should eliminate some of these costs. Your service providers should be experts in using localized global warehouses and government carriers that don’t charge customs brokerage fees, as well as streamlining bulk shipping from your office to their warehouse. Some third-party fulfillment providers offer bulk discounted shipping rates to other countries.

In conclusion

Overall, international shipping can enable your brand to reach millions of people. It can allow you to tap into new markets with significantly less competition. Because shipping globally is a complex, confusing process, using a third-party fulfillment service is the best way to implement it as part of your shipping strategy.

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