As part of our international e-commerce campaign to help businesses get ready for the Christmas shopping season, DHL Express UK share their five top tips to help you make sure your products arrive in their destination safely and on time.
1) Clearly state your international shipping terms and conditions on your e-commerce platform, including your final order dates for delivery before Christmas
Using express shipping providers will allow you to fulfill orders after the postal cut-off date has passed. This will make your business especially attractive to last-minute shoppers!
2) Christmas is a key time of year to maximise your return offering – consider extending your returns window to boost sales
Most of us have received an unwanted Christmas present – so it’s even more important to make returns as easy as possible at this time of year. Consider free shipping and / or returns as an option (which can boost your sales significantly) or extending your returns window, to the end of January for example.
3) Make sure you’re set up as an international trader with UK Customs, have in place correct international shipping documentation – check if your products are restricted in any potential target markets.
When international shipments are delayed, it’s often due to missing information required for Customs processing in the UK or at destination.
To trade internationally from the UK, you need an Economic Operator Registration Identification (EORI) number through HMRC (UK Customs). Additional key documents include detailed invoices with precise descriptions and export / import licences. You may also be required to provide additional documentation such as a Certificate of Origin, EUR1 forms, ATR certificates and CITES certificates. For details, watch our overview for understanding the Customs and documentation process
Remember that certain goods may not be allowed to enter specific markets – especially those containing alcohol and specific foods.
4) Remember that your customer may receive destination tax and duty invoices – this is especially important to avoid if they’re sending their purchase as a present – and when sending perishables, don’t assume your shipment will be in a temperature-controlled environment
Many online shoppers aren’t aware that duties and taxes may apply at destination – so once you exceed the low value threshold, a tax and duty invoice will be sent to the customer from their local Customs regulator. Several shipping providers offer a DDP (Delivery Duty Paid) service, which means that the shipper receives those destination tax and duty invoices. Using a DDP service allows you to provide one all-in cost to your customer and means they don’t face unexpected charges. You can calculate your landed costs using tools such as DHL’s Trade Automation Services.
Also plan ahead to avoid unpleasant surprises if your products include perishables such as chocolate – don’t assume your shipment will be in a temperate controlled environment!
5) Make sure your shipments are properly insured, and choose a shipping provider who can provide tracking services.
Insurance will give you peace of mind in the event of shipment damage or loss. Types of insurance commonly used in international shipping include export credit insurance to protect yourself against non-payment, and cargo insurance to cover you for damage, loss or delay. DHL also offers several ways of tracking your shipments when they’re en route to their destination both for you and your customer.
So here are DHL Express UK’s tips – you can also catch up on previous week’s tips here.
This week we’re be looking at OC&C. Don’t forget to follow our daily tips and share your own experiences – and if you have any questions about planning your Christmas 2014 e-commerce strategy, just post them in our @OpentoExport (#XmasEcom).