This post was contributed by Chelsea Wettschurack, an eCommerce Business Development Manager from IMEX Global Solutions. IMEX Global Solutions has been a proud partner of ShipStation since 2015.
Holiday Prep for Shipping Internationally.
It’s that time of the year again as the Holidays are just around the corner! Time to make sure you are ready for what can be your most active and profitable shipping time of the year.
As an ecommerce business, being prepared for all aspects of the holiday season can really impact your bottom-line. Shipping is one of the largest costs for most companies. To make sure you aren’t overpaying, you should have a great shipping partner to help you through the year. If you don’t already use a consolidator, now is the time to consider shipping solutions that help save money, create faster transit times, and ease any worry about customer service. What is a consolidator? They are companies that resell postal services and consolidate the shipping volume of each customer to ensure the lowest shipping rates possible. They then pass that rate on to you, the client.
Here are four tips from IMEX GS on how to make sure you are prepared for the uptick in business this Holiday season.
- Don’t be afraid to make a change.
If what you are doing isn’t working or is not the best strategy for your business, find a solution and make the change. Change can be tough but you can make it easier for your team by communicating the reason for the change, your belief in how the change will improve the business, and providing ample training to the team. Even though this takes time, it is well worth the investment. The team will adapt to the change much easier and you will spend less time fixing mistakes.
For instance, if you are not currently shipping internationally, it may be something you want to consider for the Holidays. This could open huge opportunities for more revenue. If you don’t know where to start, this is where IMEX can help. Our experienced team is ready and willing to use their knowledge to help your company take it to the next level.
Technology upgrades are another great example. Since IMEX is integrated with Shipstation for labeling, we’re a good place to start. It is an easy connection into your system and you will be up and running in less than a week.
- Get the biggest bang for your buck.
Understanding the structure of your shipping rates can help to keep expenses low, driving profits up. For instance, smaller packaging will help to lower the weight of each parcel. You already know the size and weights of your products so now is the time to evaluate how many of your shipments can fit into a more cost effective (smaller sized) package. Once you have completed the research, decide if it’s worth the buy. This will help to keep your DIM pricing down and may offer better choices in shipping materials.
If you are shipping light weight items don’t forget about the USPS. At IMEX we resell USPS services that are more cost effective up to 4.4 pounds. The majority of ecommerce shipments these days fall under 4.4 pounds so it’s time to check your shipments and see how many would qualify under this weight.
When shipping internationally, ensure all your hs codes are listed correctly. This will help smooth the transition through customs leading to on-time deliveries and happy customers.
Clearly and accurately stating the value of each parcel when shipping internationally is also very important. Customs has the ability to open any parcel and evaluate if the claimed value is accurate. They can (and will) go on your website and see what you are selling it for. If you have claimed it incorrectly, they will charge your end-consignee duties and taxes for the item. It may even stop the delivery of your package which is not what you want during the most profitable time of the year.
- Market yourself.
Think about your marketing strategy for the next year. Not next year, but now! Adding an insert into your packages may help bring holiday customers to your website for additional purchases. It doesn’t stop with an insert or a coupon. Make sure you have a plan once they arrive at your website. Weigh your ROI. Is the cost of the inserts or coupons, along with the cost of extra clicks on your website, likely to generate enough return in purchases? Make sure it is, and start planning for a great 2018.
- Make the most of your relationship with your shipping partner
I suggest setting up a meeting with your shipping representative (like IMEX) now to get ahead of the Holiday hustle and bustle. Utilize this time to talk through any questions you may have and look at projections for the season. This is also a great time to also discuss ways to improve processes and ensure both you and your shipping partner are ready for the increased volume.