Avoiding the pitfalls of international eCommerce shipping


Selling internationally can help you reach more customers and achieve worldwide business growth. Retail eCommerce sales across the world amounted to £3.9 trillion in 2021 and its estimated to almost double over the next four years, reaching £6 trillion by 2025! But, it’s easy to feel intimidated by the operational complexities of international eCommerce shipping. So how can you avoid the pitfalls of cross-border delivery and returns to maximise your global growth opportunity?

Deciphering Duties and Taxes…

47% of customers are put off from buying from international sellers due to lack of transparency over custom charges, and as every country has its own duty and tax requirements, tax compliance is one of the biggest challenges of global eCommerce shipping.

You can’t bury your head in the sand when it comes to Duties & Taxes. Don’t pay the correct amount or submit the correct documents, and your parcel could either be held at customs or the costs will revert to your customer – which will only annoy and frustrate them if they’re not expecting it.

There are a number of tools and services that can make it easier to manage Duties & Taxes. For example, shipping with IOSS (to the EU) or DTP (Duties & Taxes Paid) and having a Duty Deferment account can help manage compliancy, as well as cash flow, so you can ship to customers worldwide without tax complexities impacting your customer.

Get all the facts on international eCommerce across the world

International eCommerce delivery in a multi-market world

Will Delivery Make or Break Your Customer Experience

A recent survey found that 36% will switch to another retailer after a negative delivery experience, but what makes a great experience in the UK, might not be the same in the USA, China or Brazil.

Offering a wide range of delivery options, for customers both at home and abroad, will help customers choose the best delivery for them. Whether they want to pay a bit extra for an express service, or would prefer to Click & Collect, offering choice puts the onus on the customer to make a decision around what suits them best, making them far more likely to feel satisfied with their delivery and overall shopping experience.

Not sure where to start with international delivery options? GFS International eCommerce Services can do the leg work for you.

Cracking Global Returns

Returns are already a real bugbear for most eCommerce businesses and this feeling is only amplified when it comes to cross-border returns. Longer transit times, higher costs and lack of parcel visibility can make cross-border returns time-consuming and costly. But returns are unavoidable and customers expectations are increasingly becoming more demanding – and these can vary from country to country.

Paperless returns can help you offer dynamic returns options to customers, so they can choose the best method for them, delivering a smooth and seamless omnichannel shopping experience no matter where they are in the world. From an operational perspective, taking returns online creates a singular view of all inbound inventory and returns data, offering greater visibility and control of cross-border returns for retailers.

Intrigued? Why not see if paperless returns could work for you? Watch our demo of GFS Global Returns Pro!

600% increase in parcel volumes in 8 years

Taking pressure off internal operations

There is no one single carrier that can do it all. Some carriers are limited by the countries they delivery to, and some may be more costly in certain countries than others. For this reason, working with multiple carriers is essential. However, working with multiple carriers does come with its own challenges, from managing different contracts, to comparing costs to ensure you are getting the best value. Working with multiple carriers also means having multiple IT integrations specific for each carrier, but this can lead to hidden costs and complexities.

Working with a multi-carrier global partner like GFS gives you access to a wide range of international freight solutions at competitive rates, without having to manage the relationships and contracts. All with just one technology integration that allows you to offer different delivery and returns options, transparency and compliance with duties and taxes, track and trace, and a customer service team. Check it out below!

GFS International eCommerce Services explained

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Giving customers a seamless delivery and returns experience is vital for successful international selling Once you have the right mix of technology and expertise, you can crack the global eCommerce shipping challenge with a full loop service that is simple and easy, even across borders.

References: Statista, 2022, Sendcloud, 2021, RetailX eCommerce Delivery Report, 2021