The Most Common International Shipping Mistakes You Should Avoid
Customer satisfaction hinges on several factors.
Besides the quality of your products, you also need to provide smooth shipping. Otherwise, you risk incurring unnecessary costs or losing your clients due to sluggish transportation.
We’ll help you prevent this scenario by telling you how to avoid the most common international shipping mistakes.
What Are the Common Problems That Exist in Shipments?
You probably ask yourself many questions when looking for weaknesses in your transportation strategies:
- What are the most common international shipping errors?
- What are the major risks in the international transport of goods by ships?
- What is the most important document used in shipping internationally?
The answers can reveal many problems with your methods. Here are a few potential issues:
- Internal and external delays – On one hand, external delays are normally caused by bad weather, delivery vehicle problems, heavy traffic, and similar outside factors. On the other, internal delays have to do with your planning. Unlike external factors, these can be controlled.
- Incorrect shipping information – Another common shipping mistake is sending your product to the wrong recipient. This usually happens when you enter the information manually rather than using automated transportation software.
- Customer’s refusal to pay – In some cases, your clients might not want to pay your outstanding order amount because they want to return the product. There can be numerous reasons for this. The goods might have been damaged, or the customer might have made purchased the wrong item.
- Preparing your products for shipment – Shipping products internationally is already a time-consuming process, but it can take even longer if you have a poorly-organised warehouse. It keeps you from dispatching your goods because your cluttered inventory makes them hard to find. The longer it takes you to package the item, the less satisfied your customers are.
How to Prevent International Shipping Mistakes
Here are a few ways to avoid the above and some other international mistakes.
Time Your Import and Export Properly
Efficient cross-border transportation rests on many factors, such as getting your exports and imports right. In particular, you need to safeguard against mistiming imports and exports to avoid international shipping mistakes. This lowers the chances of delays and poor customer satisfaction.
Fortunately, preventing the mistake is relatively easy:
- Maintain constant communication with a freight forwarding company.
- Obtain your shipping quote at least 30 days before transporting the goods.
- Perform in-depth research to determine how long you’ll need to import and export your products.
- Set up a shipment plan that matches your freight forwarder’s quote.
Look Beyond the Freight Price
You may look for affordable freight rates when shipping internationally, which makes sense since you want to lower your costs. However, companies that offer extremely low prices usually provide low-quality services. Consequently, your products might not reach their destination on time, and they may get damaged in the process.
To prevent this error, you should take your time when selecting your freight forwarder. Research their reputation to recognise any problems and determine the responsiveness of their customer service. If possible, obtain reliable recommendations from friends or family and read authentic reviews by prior clients.
Package Properly for International Shipping to Avoid Mistakes
How you package your goods can make or break your chances of retaining clients. Any mistake in packaging can lead to damaged products, leading to unhappy customers. For example, failure to secure the items correctly can result in movements and accidental falls. Your clients then need to return the goods, increasing delays and lowering their satisfaction.
There are several ways to avoid this mistake. Primarily, you need to use a properly sized box for each product and make sure it’s filled with robust materials that absorb the impact of shakes and fails. Additionally, use sturdy packages for heavy-duty products and familiarise yourself with guidelines on specific materials, including wood.
You can minimise delaysby deeply understanding regulations while the international shipping partners you’re working with do their best to meet your customers’ expectations.
Companies transporting their products across borders must know that every nation has specific regulations for this process. Failure to understand these rules in depth puts you at risk of losing money or having your items seized by customs agencies.
Take the following steps to help ensure you don’t get in trouble with the authorities of the country you’re shipping your products to:
- Verify the packaging requirements are in line with the country’s laws.
- Fill out and prepare your documentation.
- Inform yourself about the nation’s customs requirements and trade laws.
- Obtain further information about the regulations from trade attorneys.
Use Appropriate Labels
You can incur unexpected losses and expenses by using an improper address on your product labels. This extends the delivery of overseas shipping packages. Your items can even be returned, which raises storage fees. The overall transportation charges increase, and there’s even a risk of damaged goods in longer transit.
To prevent international shipping errors, use the right labels, which ensures the items go where they should. Double-check each product before transportation. Moreover, only work with a reputable freight forwarder because they’re more experienced in dealing with different types of labels. Finally, you need to understand the labelling laws in different destinations.
Insure Your Products
Here’s another thing you should do to avoid international shipping mistakes – understand your insurance options.
Long-distance transportation is tricky. Therefore, you must be prepared for all the risks that accompany the process, including accidents, natural disasters, damaged ships, piracy, and stolen goods. These events can cause many shipment problems and delay deliveries. Unless you insure the goods, you might be in for substantial losses.
As the consequences of uninsured goods can be severe, you want to avoid them at all costs. Besides researching your insurance options, you should also understand the kind of goods you’re exporting and importing. You may need to change your policy accordingly.
Furthermore, find out what the policy covers and if there are some provisions that may reduce your coverage.
International Shipping Done Right
International shipping can be daunting, especially if you’ve never done it before. Nevertheless, you can be proactive about protecting your goods and avoiding delays. Don’t cut corners when preparing your shipments, and your customers will appreciate it.
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