More often than not, growing your business means expanding to bigger markets. However, a recent survey from ShipBob revealed that 1 in 3 business owners are concerned about the post-Brexit red tape on shipments to the EU. Plus, it also showed that almost half of business owners see rising shipping costs as their biggest challenge over the coming year.
When you throw the latest increases in fuel prices, and higher-than-ever customer expectations into the mix, cross-border shipping is becoming all the more complicated. Here are 7 ways your e-commerce business could benefit from using third-party fulfilment to sell in Europe and beyond.
Big savings in time and resources
The biggest benefit of outsourcing vs. handling fulfilment in-house is the savings you’ll make in time and resources. If you’re a small-scale business, picking, packing and sending orders can be time-consuming. But when you take into account high stock volumes, taxes and duties, and seasonal staff shortages, things will only get tougher — especially if you have an influx of orders. Third-party logistics take away that pressure, giving you time back to concentrate on sales, marketing and product development. So all that’s left for you to do is focus on growing your business.
Local returns and exchanges: taken care of
When you’re selling overseas, the cost of returns (in both time and money) only multiplies. Plus, local customs charges make returns at a cross-border level a complex business. A third-party fulfilment provider will work with local partners to take care of any taxes and duties associated with returns and exchanges, so you can offer different returns options to customers based on their location. And when it comes to reselling, you’ll have a better idea of what’s coming back into stock as well as turnaround times.
More competitive shipping costs
For many consumers, free shipping can sometimes be a deal breaker. But with everyone now feeling the pinch, offering shipping to customers that’s low cost, and as fast as possible, is harder than ever. By outsourcing your fulfilment, you’ll be outsourcing the search for the best rates. A third-party provider pulls together buying power, helping you get the best rates from multiple local partners and passing on any savings to you. They can also advise on how to become leaner with your fulfilment costs, for example, how to make changes to the size and weight of your packaging to save on international shipping.
A better user experience = higher conversion rates
When it comes to ordering online, expectations are higher than ever. Users want fast, low-cost shipping — without the hassle of additional charges at customs. A Delivery Duty Paid service ensures all delivery costs are shown up-front, at the checkout. And a more straightforward path to purchase — paired with faster shipping — means higher conversion rates. Plus, if your product arrives safely on time, or even faster than expected, then it’s a big tick in the customer retention box.
More sustainable selling
If you’re looking for ways to become more sustainable as a business, then third-party fulfilment can help you get there. If you’re selling goods with an expiration date, they can help you reduce waste by ensuring the right products leave the warehouse first. They can also help you introduce initiatives such as “less than perfect”, where products that may have slightly damaged packaging are sold for a discounted price. Plus, many work with charity donation partners, so you have other choices if you find that reselling returned items isn’t working for you.
Want to discover more about selling across borders with Shopify? You’ve come to the right place. Talk to our team today.