If you’re looking to grow your ecommerce business, expanding beyond your borders could be a great next step—but that means you need to figure out how to ship internationally.

To do international shipping right, you’ll need a strategy that works for you and your business. You don’t need to know everything about shipping, but you do need to understand the available options, and find an approach that will work again and again.

There are a lot of reasons you might not be shipping internationally right now. Maybe you’re just starting to consider it as an option. Or maybe you’ve even tried once or twice and you’d rather stick to your local or domestic market.

Selling beyond your borders can be an important growth area for your business, even if you only ship some products internationally, so it’s worth tackling the logistics head-on. Consider these figures:

-According to Oberlo, one out of every four people you see is an online shopper.
-Statista reports that retail ecommerce sales is going to grow from $3.53 trillion USD to $6.54 trillion USD in 2022.
-Statista has the average order value of an international sale at $147 USD. That’s 17% higher compared to an average domestic sale.
-Retailers who offer premium international shipping grow 60% times faster than those that don’t.

These figures show that online shoppers have come to expect international shipping, and ecommerce businesses are increasingly meeting that expectation. Shipping internationally creates an opportunity for stores like yours to sell to a larger audience.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this post so you can make better ecommerce shipping decisions and expand your business on your terms.

-Building an international shipping strategy
-Shipping internationally through WPC Logistics
-What to charge international customers for shipping
-Finding country regulations
-Preparing packages
-Working with multiple carriers
-Pricing out your shipping

Building an international shipping strategy
While it’s difficult to give a definitive list of best practices that apply to every business, there are a few central decisions you’ll need to consider for your international shipping strategy.

Where and what you’ll ship
You’ll first need to identify where in the world you’ll ship to and which products you’ll ship.

Unsure which markets you should expand to first? Here’s a few indicators that can help narrow it down.

Start small. And close. By keeping the shipment close to home, you can set realistic expectations for customers on delivery times and rates. Starting small and close also allows you to get a feel for what it takes to expand your shipments.
-Track current demand. Check out your shop’s traffic analytics and see which markets or countries are already visiting your online store. You can also gauge interest by direct customer requests to sell to their market. Repeat visits or high traffic could show interest in your products or offerings.
-Consider the main languages of any market for expansion. Communication is essential when dealing with customers. If you’re fluent in a few languages, consider expanding into the countries that speak those languages first. If you only speak one language, find other countries or markets where that language is prominent.
-Ensure there’s product-market fit for your target country. Are there markets around the world that you feel suit your business better than others? Some research may be required here. Checking into ecommerce penetration could be a good first step (explore that data here). Dig into the consumer trends and tastes of those markets. An item that’s a celebratory gift in the US may mean something different in South Korea, for example.
You’ll now need to consider what to ship. You may want to offer your entire product line. However, before you start shipping all over the world think about these aspects of your products and your business.

-Building on the points above, are there items that would appeal to the international market(s) you’re looking to ship to?
-Lightweight and smaller items will be more cost effective to ship and easier to package.
-The more durable the packaging, the better. Shipping fragile products that may be damaged in transit if not packaged properly may increase the chances of a less-than-satisfactory delivery. If you decide to ship them, invest in sturdy product packaging.

Get familiar with country rules and regulations
Once you have an idea of what regions offer the most immediate opportunities, and which products you’ll be sending, it’s time to check into country-based rules and regulations.

Some countries prohibit items outright; others may limit them. Being informed on the rules and regulations that exist and which may impact your shipments can help ensure a smooth delivery.