For far too long the fulfilment side of selling online lagged behind when it came to global commerce. Your website is visible in each and every country in the world. Whilst customers no longer see national borders and boundaries to fulfilling their every consumerist wish. People sat in their arm chair looking out of their Brisbane apartment can transact as easily with you as someone stood at the top of the Empire State Building with their smartphone or sat on Acapulco beach with their tablet PC. The ‘small island’ mentality that many online retailers had for far too long has finally been lost with the current crop of ecommerce platforms and the solutions that plug into them – and we celebrate and embrace that.
The premise of Cloud Fulfilment is that any company with products customers want to purchase has the ability to keep keenly with multinational companies with established and refined marketing channels. We want each and every company to have the tools to take on any company of any size.
We’ve talked about the advantages of outsourcing your order fulfilment in terms of helping make the day-to-day functions of your company work more efficiently, we’ve mentioned how we can help you seamlessly promote your products on Amazon, eBay and Play.com and we’ve looked under the hood with how the service works. But here we look at how you can quickly gain an international presence using Cloud Fulfilment and our selection of courier partners.
What matters most with international ecommerce fulfilment?
One of the most important factors that help with converting foreign customers is the cost of international shipping. If you retail products that cannot be purchased in your customer’s country those customers are less sensitive to international postage costs, but, by-and-large, keeping these costs to a minimum will allow you to compete more aggressively on price and give you greater scope to run promotions. As a result of our efforts we can offer Cloud Fulfilment customers incredibly attractive shipping rates. Those prices can be found here. Essentially, an average order weight of 1kg to the rest of the world (not mainland Europe) would cost in the region of £8.99+vat to send abroad using our International Post packet rate (May 2014 prices) whilst a 2kg parcel within the EU would cost in the region of just £8.86+vat. We also have specific courier rates per country destination which applies to boxed orders.
Speed of delivery
All EU and ‘Rest of Europe’ packet orders are despatched on a 3 to 5 day basis. Courier shipping to Europe may take as little as 2 days to Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands and others. We also have expected shipping times of 3 days to the Caribbean, including St Lucia, Barbados, and Bahamas. For more popular international delivery destinations, you could expect orders to the USA to reach their destination in 2 to 3 days, Canada in the same time, New Zealand and Australia in 3 to 4 days and China in 3 to 5 days.
Paperwork – Customs Documents and Pro Forma
When you are handling your own picking, packing and shipping the paperwork aspect of international commerce can be a bind. Our system looks at the destinations and not only establishes the most efficient service to be used but also produces the necessary paperwork for the destination custom’s officials. You will need to ensure that all items have prohibitions or exclusions for each country you allow customers to have items shipped to. It is essential, that you read and understand our Terms and Conditions.
One of the aspects that many international customers are concerned about is the ability to track orders through the various stages of delivery – and especially if the items are held up at customs. Each of the couriers that are connected to the Cloud Fulfilment service facilitates the ability to track orders. The primary advantage of this is that often customers will be in a position to answer their own questions related to the current location and status of an order.
There are likely to be only a small number of countries that will order from you in any great number, but there should be some comfort in the fact that we can connect your store to over 180 nations and that should you take an order from Puerto Rico we should be able to get their order to them within two to three full days from ordering.
When you set up a new ecommerce store it is very easy to forget about the international trade aspect and just set it live with default shipping rates across all countries. It is vital if you want to make sure you that you do not make net losses on international orders to download your fulfilment provider’s shipping rates and add your mark-up and then configure the shipping rates for each country individually.
You may also wish to focus on Europe and a handful of other countries and make the rest prohibitively expensive until you have time to work those rates out.
Another tip is to set your customer’s expectations on your shipping information pages. Allow extra time to those we, or your provider, sets out as although delays are rare, they can cause undue alarm with customers.
Ensure you have a suitable returns policy for international orders. Returns may be prohibitively expensive so do ensure that your systems account for this.
When it comes to global fulfilment the Cloud Fulfilment solution finds itself at the intersection of great pricing, wonderful convenience, accountability and reliability. Give us a call and find out how we can help you with your specific needs.