One of the great things about running an online store is that you’re not bound by geography. You can sell your products to anyone, anywhere; it doesn’t matter if they live in the same city or even the same country where your business is located.
But while there are many benefits that come with selling to an international audience, there are also certain responsibilities to keep in mind. In this post, we’ll fill you in on some of the considerations you’ll need to keep in mind when selling across international lines, particularly things that wouldn’t apply when selling locally.
Setting Your Audience
The first thing print on demand sellers should understand is that, just because the Internet allows you to sell to anyone anywhere, that doesn’t mean you should try to reach the whole world’s population with your marketing messaging. Simply put, nobody has the resources for that!
Instead, you’ll need to define your target audience. If you’ve already seen interest from buyers in particular countries, that’s a good place to start. If you’re looking to expand your audience, you might start with other English-speaking countries. For instance, if you’re already selling primarily in the USA, it would be fairly easy to adapt your marketing collateral for Australia or England.
Anticipating Fulfillment Times
It’s also important that you set the proper expectations with your customers, particularly with regard to fulfillment times.
Many of us have grown accustomed to the same-day and next-day deliveries offered by Amazon. However, if you have to print, package, and ship custom products to international customers, that can take a little time.
Check with your fulfillment partner to see what they say about turnaround times. It will be helpful to have a ballpark figure in mind so that you can properly calibrate the customer experience.
Of course, there are also some important factors to consider when it comes to international shipping.
Hopefully, you have a print on demand fulfillment partner that boasts distribution centers across the world, allowing you to take advantage of domestic shipping for some of your international customers. And if you have more ambitious expansion plans in mind, talk to your fulfillment partner about ways to offer the fastest and most cost-efficient shipping. This is usually a matter of finding the closest possible distribution center to the country in question.
Something else to consider is that surprise shipping rates are among the highest reasons for shopping cart abandonment. All of that’s just to say that you’ll want to be very upfront about the types of rates you offer customers. In particular, be upfront about whether you offer a flat rate (depending on product category and destination) or a live rate (which may be variable according to things like package weight).
You’ll need to ensure that customer addresses are added accurately, and with proper formatting. Otherwise, the packages may not get delivered. Some specific considerations:
- Some carriers will place a hard limit on address length. You can avoid any problems by limiting address length to 35-40 characters at checkout.
- While deliberately shortening addresses can be problematic, especially if it means leaving out crucial information, using abbreviations can usually keep you within the necessary character count.
- Try to always ensure the addresses are input with Roman letters and Arabic numerals.
Chances are, you have American dollars as the standard currency for your online store. Check with your eCommerce partner to determine what other types of currencies you can accommodate, allowing you to better serve international shoppers.
Also note that taxes may be collected depending on the locality to which you’re shipping. It’s typically best to include these taxes in the product price itself.
Select the Best Print on Demand Fulfillment Partner
As you consider the options for selling your products across international lines, there are obviously a lot of moving parts to consider. To help you keep these parts in sync, you’ll need to have a fulfillment partner you can trust.
We’ve helped thousands of businesses sell their on-demand products internationally and we’d love to help you expand your global reach.