Avoiding The Most Common Mistakes When Shipping Goods Internationally

If you sell goods worldwide -- or even just to a handful of other countries -- you'll need to refine your international shipping processes. Shipping internationally doesn't have to be complicated, but it can be expensive if it's not handled properly. Here are a few of the most common mistakes vendors new to international shipping may make.

Not Looking Up the Local Regulations

Every country has regulations regarding shipments. In fact, just domestically in the United States some states can receive alcohol by mail while others cannot. It's absolutely critical that you look up the local regulations regarding the countries that you are shipping to. Otherwise you run the very real risk of your goods being taken in by customs.

Not Being Specific About the Item

When shipping items internationally, you need to declare the item with as much distinction as possible. Otherwise you could run into problems later on -- the shipping agencies may need to verify whether or not the goods are allowable. Further, it's not a good idea to try to "fudge" the value of the item; this can get you in trouble if the item is lost or damaged, as you won't be able to claim the true cost of the goods.

Not Checking the Label

Every country has its own method of formatting labels, and these methods can look quite unusual for those accustomed to domestic addresses. It's important to use a tool to verify the address beforehand; otherwise something that you thought was insignificant or just punctuation could reroute a package entirely. 

Not Getting Quotes from Multiple Vendors

FedEx, USPS, UPS, and DHL Express all ship goods internationally -- but depending on the country, the service that is better or more affordable can vary. This is because it's all based on the infrastructure that exists within the country of destination. It should never be assumed that a specific shipping company will be cheaper. Instead, you should compare quotes from multiple vendors for each similar shipment. Contact a place like ARP Postal for more information. 

Not Packing the Shipments Carefully

Many vendors make the mistake of packing their international shipments identically to their normal shipments. International shipments will usually go through much rougher and continuous handling than domestic shipments. They need to go farther and they may be traveling through infrastructure that is not as finely-tuned. Because of this, additional care needs to be taken whenever packaging a shipment for international transportation.

Your shipping companies can give you more information regarding the requirements to mail specific packages and where to mail them to. Nevertheless, it's important to do as much research on your own as possible, if you want to save money long-term.