Most businesses, at some point, will be ready to expand and reach new markets. The advent of eCommerce and globalization has made it easier than ever to expand internationally and reach customers globally. With the expansion comes need to ship products to customers in multiple countries. As a small business owners you will need to worry about tax and custom implications when you start to ship products to other countries. Fortunately, there are tools and companies that specialize in this area and can help you alleviate the pain associated with international expansion. Here are the steps you need to look at before you jump in.
Make sure your product is suitable for a broad audience
Some products play best in certain markets, and that’s where your international knowledge comes in. For example, products geared toward certain weather will do better in warmer/colder climates. If your product is weather-specific, you may not be a viable option to people of a particular market.
So, widen your market. Have a global strategy in place and make yourself universally appealing. If possible, shift your product focus to an item that won’t falter at language barriers, or certain weathers. Manufacture the product in several different languages if possible. You won’t be ready to become a global force until your product matches your vision.
Stock up on shipping supplies
The absolute worst thing that could happen to your business is that, upon making a sale online, you find you have no boxes or packaging to ship the item in. So stock up before it’s too late! Customers expect items to be prompt, so be sure you’re ready to start shipping at a moment’s notice. You can browse supplies at a site like PackagingSupplies.com to make sure you have enough to fulfil your requirements.
Additionally, make sure you’ve factored in shipping supplies for all your items. You may have some products that are larger than others, so get appropriately sized boxes.
Check that your product complies with country regulations
Different countries have different laws that govern certain items. Some countries even ban certain items altogether. For example, Saudi Arabia has banned western calendars, and China recently banned the movie Deadpool. So, if your business manufactures calendars or Blu-Ray discs, be careful!
Jokes aside, it’s important to take into consideration the rules of another country. You wouldn’t want to promise a customer an item, for it to be rejected overseas. You can check shipping regulations by country from a number of sources, so brush up on the subject before doing business.
Enlist the help of a shipping service
Depending on the size of your business, you’ll need help with all those orders. It’s alright selling one or two items on eBay, but if your company relies on online commerce to survive, you’ll have a lot to shift.