Do you have your own eCommerce store? Do you wonder how the world of international shipping, dropshipping, warehousing, and supply chain management works? Whether shipping domestically or sending parcels abroad, it’s essential to understand 3pl logistics and supply chain management.
Ecommerce has expanded rapidly, with more business owners transitioning online than ever before. 3pl logistics and warehousing are some of the most critical aspects of the future for online shopping. If you need to store items, offer faster delivery, ship worldwide, then you want a trusted partner. You want to work with a reputable 3pl company that can handle your inventory, streamline the shipping process, handle paperwork, and work efficiently for you.
Using tech-forward Solutions, Selazar is an end-to-end eCommerce platform that has revolutionized the order fulfilment process. They provide effective global fulfilment operations helping eCommerce businesses to thrive. Let’s discuss the most critical elements of international shipping and UK dropshipping for your eCommerce business.
Table of Contents:
What is international shipping?
International shipping is the method of sending a parcel or global freight to a recipient in another country. Essentially, the country the package was shipped from will be different from the country in which it will be received. This means of transportation for international shipping can be via maritime shipping, air travel, or truck delivery across borders.
International deliveries differ from domestic shipping.
Domestic shipping is the method of sending a parcel or freight to a recipient in the same country. Basically, the country in which the package is being shipped is the same country in which it will be received. Domestic shipping is typically much easier due to less paperwork and more precise delivery times.
When shipping internationally, you will be dealing with customs, plane manifests, and ship cargo, which can be a bit more challenging. Selazar offers both domestic and international shipping. They work with the most reliable courier network for both speed and efficiency.
The benefits of shipping globally
Being able to offer both international and domestic shipping is important because international delivery service increases your customer market size. Global delivery can potentially boast more profits for your own eCommerce business, allowing you to expand.
Sounds pretty good, right? Why not offer the same services to another country if you have a good product and a good service?
The process of global shipping can be quite tedious at first. You must decide things like how much it will cost to ship internationally. What insurance do I need? Will I be sending parcels directly to the consumer, or will I ship to a 3pl warehouse in the country I’m selling to? Also, what specific details do you need for customs declarations? It seems like a lot; however, it is entirely manageable with good old fashioned hard work and research. Or, by speaking with experts like Selazar.
Once you do figure out the process, you can then refine it and automate it. It could significantly impact your bottom line. Selazar makes this process easy for you through innovative tech, automated paperwork, pick and pack, and sending parcels.
Another benefit of shipping globally is brand advertisement. The more a brand is in the public eye, both nationally and internationally, the more customer loyalty it develops. The more online traffic it generates as a consequence, the more relevant it becomes on search engine rankings. There are many upsides to shipping globally.
What is Dropshipping?
Dropshipping is kind of a funny-sounding term. No, dropshipping does not refer to dropping a package en route… Suffice to say; not everyone quite fully understands what it is exactly. The actual dropshipping meaning refers specifically to the process of selling and sending a parcel online without the seller personally having to handle the merchandise.
Typically, someone with a dropshipping business will source products from a third-party provider. This provider could be anywhere in the world. China is very popular as a third-party provider with services like aliexpress dropshipping and Alibaba dropshipping. They allow sellers to purchase products at wholesale prices; then, they send the products directly to the customer or a 3pl warehouse where they can be packed and shipped (like Selazar). In essence, the seller will work as an intermediary between the supplier and the customer. The third-party product provider is happy because they made money. The seller is happy because they made a sale, and the customer is satisfied because they received the product they ordered.
There are many dropshipping website resources such as Shopify dropshipping and Woo Commerce to assist with the entire dropshipping process. They help to facilitate this process by providing easy to use website templates, as well as plugins that integrate with third-party product providers. Sellers can easily advertise the products they want from abroad (or domestic) and then send them to their online customers.
Sending parcels abroad: What you need to know
When you start looking into sending parcels abroad, you will want to make sure you are prepared for everything involved — things such as commodity codes, customs, and tariffs. Let’s discuss this in more detail.
Every different country you ship to will have customs clearance that needs specific forms. Customs forms are a way of declaring the contents of your shipment(s). It’s crucial to have all the details filled out correctly, or it could cause delays or even returns. You want to have all relevant information on your customs forms such as: Name and address of the sender, complete address and name or customer, item descriptions, the quantity of Items, weight and dimensions of items. Ahead of time, you also need to investigate commodity codes for your products. Product listing pages and alignment between displayed and provided information is also being considered by Customs Agents in recent times.
For international shipping, commodity codes are administered by different government organizations. They will be a sequence of numbers made up of six, eight, or ten digits – dependant on the country. You need these codes, whether importing or exporting goods to a country. They detail the type of products that are being moved as well as determine what tariffs will be assigned to it, if any.
For example, if you’re shipping goods in and out of the UK, you will use the Trade Tariff Tool.
If you’re shipping goods in or out of the United States, you will use the World Customs Organization (WCO). They will assign an HS Code. This stands for harmonized commodity description coding system.
If you’re shipping goods in or out of the EU, you want to use the Access2Markets Database.
So, you’ve got your product. You know your profit margins. You’ve calculated your shipping costs. You found your commodity codes and customs declarations. What’s the next critical cost to factor in? Tariffs.
Tariffs are taxes imposed by governments on goods and services imported from outside countries. The tax you pay will depend on the commodity code/the goods you send. A tariff is also known as import duty.
Depending on what country you’re shipping to and what you’re sending will determine the amount of import duty. Each country is different. Countries have their own rules and rates. Sometimes there are free trade deals between countries, meaning no extra tax, so it would be beneficial to know these details.
Instead of worrying about extra tax, should your company instead be doing business only with another country that has a free trade deal agreement? The United Kingdom for example has free trade deals with 36 countries currently. Countries such as: Canada, Turkey, Ukraine, Vietnam, Japan, Norway, Kenya, and Mexico. These free trade agreements are not affected by Brexit.
To see a list of global tariffs, see a list at the World Trade Organization (WTO) here.
For UK dropshippers who have a business in the United Kingdom and have items travelling from there to Europe, you need an EORI number. This number is a European Union registration and identification number for businesses that import or export goods in or out of the EU.
To get an EORI number, you need to submit a form to HMRC to get one. That can be done here.
The next thing you must consider is the potential fallouts of shipments. What if your goods get damaged or lost in transit? Or, your goods are stolen? What if the product is not delivered for some odd reason and the customer demands a refund? Well then, it’s good to have insurance.
Having insurance for goods travelling across continents is a smart idea. Many large transportation suppliers (like cargo ships) typically have insurance to cover the costs of goods should anything happen in transit. However, it may still be prudent to get your own if the cargo ship policy isn’t that great. Insurance is also suitable for refunds.
If you’re already successful with your eCommerce store, chances are you’ve already dealt with refunds due to lost or damaged goods. If you haven’t yet, then it’s best to be prepared. So, instead of having to always pay that loss directly from your profits, you can get all your packages insured.
You will want to investigate different insurance carriers in your country. Most of the plans will not be called “dropshipping insurance,” but things like general liability and property insurance. Many general businesses get these two types of insurance for domestic in-house operations. However, your dropshipping business specifically needs to make sure to have insurance plans such as Inland Marine Insurance and online retail insurance.
These two types of insurance cover loss, theft and damage of property while in transit. The goods being shipped to your customers require this coverage specifically. Many of these plans will cover transit liabilities and warehouse cover, loss of income, and operational liability. Not all companies will cover global operations, so you will need to do some research.
International shipping has changed recently after the UK left the EU. For the full impact of how this has affected international selling around the UK read here.
Offshoring, Reshoring, and Nearshoring
Outsourcing is a process that has been popular for a long time. It is the business strategy of contracting work to a third party. Outsourcing can be for labour as well as product development. It has many aims.
Most of the time, it is to cut business cost with cheaper labour and operations. Dropshippers like it because they can source products at low wholesale prices or just run a business without developing any products themselves. Many companies simply do it to focus on more crucial aspects of the business.
There are a few types of outsourcing, and you want to understand these different business processes for the best eCommerce dropshipping solution. One may benefit you more than the others. There are three types of outsourcing, such as Offshoring, reshoring, and nearshoring.
Offshoring refers to operations overseas. Countries like India and China are popular destinations for offshoring. Pros of this include cost benefits, access to low-cost labour, and a 24/7 warehouse model. The cons include longer supply lines, different time zones, and communication issues.
Nearshoring refers to operations being moved from far afield locations closer to home. This is a popular option in Europe, such as the country of Turkey. Many EU companies benefit from the lower cost of labour there. Mexico also offers cheap labour for many United States companies. Pros include lower freight costs, shorter supply lines, time-zone advantages, and improved cultural alignment. Con would be that labour may be a bit higher.
Reshoring involves returning outsourced operations back within the same country. The rising cost of offshoring and many political/economic dynamics and timing concerns have gained lots of momentum. Pros include no culture gap and closer availability of products. Shorter supply lines make for more robust networks, less vulnerable to global crisis like Covid-19. Cons include higher labour costs.
There are pros and cons to all these types of outsourcing. It’s important to understand your business and which one would benefit you and your customers most.
How to get started with dropshipping and international shipping for order fulfilment to customers
As mentioned, both Shopify and WooCommerce are Selazar’s partners. They are two of the biggest and best dropshipping suppliers when it comes to dropshipping websites. Our customers can effortlessly integrate their shop with the Selazar platform, our warehouses, and courier network through technological collaborations with these companies. For Shopify stores, you can find out how to do it here. For Woo Commerce integration, it can be found here.
From there, business owners can input all the product information online. They can add the necessary details for customs declarations and product descriptions. Then, when they ship their products to a Selazar warehouse, everything is automatically scanned and stored.
Getting a standard eCommerce store integrated with Selazar and sending your product to the warehouse for storage and shipping can be set up within just a few days to a week. It is a complete end to end solution that is innovative and easily managed.
A full customer support team is also available to answer all your questions for storage, fulfilment, custom packaging, and online portal support to manage your orders.
7. Understanding our Courier Network
Selazar is proud to be partnered with some of the best and biggest international shipping companies and domestic delivery partners. Our trusted courier network can get packages in the hands of customers domestically within 24 – 48 hours. Internationally parcel delivery will range from 2 days to a week, depending on the country and express international shipping choice. Our partners are:
One of the most popular and trusted brands globally, UPS takes care of domestic and international freight. UPS international shipping offers global tracking. Sending parcels abroad is easy with UPS.
Hermes internationally delivery also offers domestic and global tracking with next day delivery.
Whistl is our partner within the United Kingdom who deal solely with domestic fast delivery.
Yodel delivery offers UK tracking as well as global tracking and next day delivery.
Have any questions about our delivery partners? Let us know in the comments.
That’s it! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to the blog? If you are interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider, do not hesitate to check out our services.
As the writer and content manager for Selazar Matt’s aim is to provide useful content on logistics, technology, marketing, and strategy for eCommerce businesses. He wants to help businesses and retailers thrive by staying updated on the latest trends while also learning the best practices to expand their operations.