How we Improved our international business 40 Percent

We raised our international business 40% recently. Our international packages, before this change, reflected approximately 9.6percent of all shipments. Since we made this change, they now account for 13.4percent of all packages shipped.

We achieved this by decreasing our shipping prices. Duh, right? Well, not so fast. We could reduce our prices by approximately 50% while maintaining the same level of support and without losing a penny.

UPS provides an international mailing service specifically designed for packages under 4 pounds inside their Mail Innovations product lineup.

The way their service functions is becoming very common: They associate with the USPS. You ship your international packages to a UPS sorting facility which prepares each bundle to be inserted in the USPS system. For doing this job for the post office, UPS is given much cheaper prices than you can get directly from USPS.

What is fantastic about this service is that the prices are fixed regardless of country of destination. It’s the identical per-pound rate if you are sending to Australia or if you are shipping to India. This makes implementation a snap.

What is even better about this service is that you’re charged based upon fractional pounds! This means that if your per-pound rate is 6, you’d only be charged $9 for a 1.5 pound package. Typically, UPS rounds a 1.5 pound bundle up to 2 pounds. Not with this particular service. Here is how it works: UPS weighs each the packages that you give to them for daily and applies your per-pound rate to the total. They don’t apply the per-pound speed to each individual package.

You have to send at least 5 lbs or be exposed to a 5-pound minimal charge. No big deal. Just hold on to the packages until you reach 5 lbs. We tell our clients to expect the package to take 15-20 days to get there. No complaints thus far.

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Since the package is being sent via USPS First Class Mail International, you should not expect any monitoring visibility. However, for the prices your clients will be paying, this should not be a difficult sell. We have not had much trouble with it.

Selling internationally requires a enormous upfront commitment concerning learning about duties, taxes, harmonized tariff codes, customs forms, etc.. You will also be opening yourself up to more episodes of fraud. You’ll probably need to begin by restricting the countries to which you will ship. You will also need to make it abundantly clear to international clients when and if they will be exposed to taxes and duties upon delivery. Additionally, be very clear about your policies concerning lost packages. With USPS methods (including the one I described above), there’s absolutely no delivery confirmation. Consequently, you need to decide if you are going to buy insurance (there are some terrific 3rd party suppliers ) or self-insure your own packages.

If you sell goods which are rather lightweight (under 4 pounds), you have got a excellent chance to market to international customers via UPS Mail Innovations.

Please be aware that I’m fairly sure FedEx provides a similar solution. There are probably another email consolidators / aggregators / zone skippers that provide similar solutions. In our experience, these companies require a much larger minimal (typically 50 bundles per day). The UPS minimum is very low and is easy to setup in case you already have a UPS daily pickup.