4 Ways to Improve Your International Shipping Delivery Experience
International shipping is a tremendous growth opportunity for your business. The world is wide, and reaching customers beyond your borders opens up vibrant new revenue sources. However, international shipping also comes with its own challenges, which can make providing a satisfactory delivery experience even more difficult than usual.
International shipping involves a longer delivery chain with more parties handling each package, which creates more instances where customers can lose sight of their orders. And those unexpected gaps in visibility can lead to a frustrating, unpleasant experience for all parties involved.
As an online retailer, your most important job is to make your customers’ delivery experience exactly what they expect — whether you’re sending their orders across the state or around the world. Think about this as a two-part goal: setting customer expectations appropriately, and choosing a shipping service that can meet those expectations.
Set Customer Expectations
First of all, it’s critical to make sure international customers’ delivery expectations are in line with what you can provide. Providing accurate tracking updates are a big part of this, but you can start even earlier than that.
Displaying estimated international delivery windows on your order pages will make sure your customers are operating with the correct frame of reference. With luck, this upfront estimate will reassure them if a few days pass without tracking updates.
It’s also important to think about how destination countries can influence the delivery experience. Most countries around the world have reasonably robust postal infrastructures, but certain countries still handle international deliveries differently. For example, some international packages may be delivered to a centralized access point, rather than directly to customers’ homes. Clearly communicating these differences to your customers — on your order page, or in subsequent tracking communications — will help avoid unpleasant surprises.
Evaluate Your Shipping Services
Clearly setting customer expectations is a key part of improving the delivery experience, but in the end, your carrier and shipping service will have the biggest impact. Accurate insight into package progress depends on the number of scans a carrier can provide, as well as the delivery windows they’re capable of achieving.
You have a variety of international shipping options to choose from, and each service offers a different level of visibility. Some premium options offer door-to-door tracking with regular update scans throughout. Others provide few to no location scans, but may come at a lower cost — another critical factor in the customer experience.
The ideal option for your business will depend on your packages, the countries you’re shipping to and your budget, among other factors. (Wondering which shipping option to choose? This quiz can help.)
In the end, not all shipping partners approach international shipping in the same way. If a carrier doesn’t have strong partnerships with international postal authorities, they can only provide minimal visibility, and your customers will receive frustratingly limited information. In these cases, it may be worth your while to consider other international shipping partners that can meet your needs better.
To learn more about how OSM helps ecommerce businesses make international shipping easier and more cost-effective, contact us today. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have or provide a personalized quote.