Five common mistakes when selling internationally – and how to fix them

I set up My Parcel Delivery specifically for SMEs because, as a small business owner myself, I found it incredibly inconvenient to spend an hour a day queuing at a busy Post Office and not getting the best deals.

By agreeing discounted deals with a multitude of carriers, such as DPD, UPS and Parcelforce, which includes dozens of different delivery options across the world, I wanted to offer start-ups and small businesses an alternative that was much more efficient than the de-facto Post Office option.

Take a look at my top five tips for more efficient EU delivery and international delivery. Avoiding problems from the offset saves time and money for business owners – and no one wants angry customers contacting them!

Misspelling foreign words

We may not have accents or umlauts on our keyboards but it doesn’t mean they’re not important! They are certainly important to speakers of that language and more significantly, if the parcel cannot be delivered, because an address is incorrect or misunderstood, then your business can be liable for the return postage.

We recommend typing the address into a search engine before cutting and pasting the correct spelling, along with accents or umlauts, into the address field.

Confusing customs officials

If you’re posting a parcel outside of the EU, it will be subject to passing through customs. We recommend that you stick five copies of the pro-forma invoice to the outside of your parcel, so customs does not have to unwrap and wrap it up again. It is also a good idea to put your business name, address and telephone number on the outside of the box in case there are any queries - some countries like Canada actually require this.

Not predicting potential delays  

Any Bank Holidays or national holidays can delay a delivery. If your business regularly sends to certain countries, it’s a good idea to become familiar with any national holidays or other seasonal disruptions, so your customers can be made aware of possible delays.

Not checking out restricted items

It’s obvious to most that you can’t post some food items or that there are restrictions on weapons and knives, but did you know each country has a list of specific items that are banned or restricted from being posted or imported? For example, China has a restriction on baby powder being imported, while you’re not allowed to send a pair of matching shoes to South Africa, Mexico or India! It’s worth understanding the full list of restrictions so you don’t accidentally fall foul of customs regulations.  

Not giving customers the choices they want

Don’t assume that all customers have the same priorities – when you’re talking international customers, they certainly don’t. Global ecommerce research found that the majority of UK shoppers are looking for free delivery, while the essential factor to German shoppers is speed, with next day delivery being most important.

In order to keep all customers happy then consider different options including free delivery and next day delivery.

International delivery options can be daunting but with ecommerce industry growing at a rapid rate, it’s worth understanding the options available in order to grow your business. 


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