E-commerce: shipping skincare products abroad (mainly EU and US)
We are a small skincare company and currently only shipping to the UK. We have received some interest from overseas customers and would like to offer international shipping for purchases from our website.
My query is whether, for sales direct to customers from our UK website with no physical presence in any of these countries, we would need to comply with foreign requirements for labelling and permitted ingredients – even within the EU there may be requirements for translation of particular information. The products are, of course, compliant in the UK.
Practically, this would be difficult not only because of the cost of new packaging but also because we would not know where online orders may come from and they would be fulfilled by our warehouse once an order is made online. I am aware that we would need to consult our insurers about product liability cover.
I would really appreciate any opinions and advice on this. Thank you in advance for your time.
Receiving interest from abroad is a great thing and I would certainly embrace it best you can. I don’t think that ultimately this will be as difficult or expensive as you may think.
I used to export goods for a company that produced health supplement products and they fulfilled both commercial orders and individual orders with the same packaging and labelling all over the world.
You are certainly right to check this because there are so many products out there which makes it difficult to give you the specific advice that you may need – definitely take a look at the services HMRC and the UKTI offer to see how they can help. Some generic links below may help you get started:
Before exporting anything, you would need to register for a EORI number so that customs have a reference number for you but this is a very straight forward process (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/eori-supporting-guidance).
I imagine you would be looking at selling small volumes B2C so it would then largely just be a case of finding a suitable courier/couriers to ship your orders. They would require the paperwork (predominantly the commercial invoice) to enable them to export the goods so just a case of making sure all of the needed info is on there (lots of guidance on this on the internet).
Let me know if I can be of many more help! Best of luck though, and remember, it is in everyone’s interest to help you on your way 🙂
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