Getting the right shipping partner to deal with your eCommerce deliveries can be tricky. Getting it wrong means disappointing your consumers and damaging your store’s reputation. Look out for these 3 before you commit to your chosen logistics partner.
While searching online on how to start shipping your products internationally to your customers overseas, you may come across some of the many shipping horror stories that fill the internet, from customers finding their package contents stolen and replaced with junk to having their shipment stuck in customs for months.
To avoid this happening to you and your customers, you need to be cautious about choosing the right logistics provider to ship with, especially when the decision can have lasting consequences on both your day-to-day operations and customer satisfaction. Mistakes made by your carrier could mean that your package might be damaged during delivery, delivered to the wrong address or stuck in customs, leading to loss of sales and damaging your reputation.
With such high stakes, take the time to carefully assess and evaluate available options before selecting the carrier that will best fulfil your business’ logistical needs. To help you evaluate your shipping partners, here are three important factors to consider:
Extensive & Proficient Network
Accurate Tracking System
Your customers may not all be in an accessible, urbanised area. For example, Indonesia consists of more than thirteen thousand islands divided into thirty-four provinces. While major cities like Jakarta and Surabaya are well connected by roads and other transport routes, rural towns have less-developed infrastructure and may not lie in every carrier’s delivery route.
To cater to customers who reside in more rural areas, work with a shipping partner that has a transport network extensive enough to provide a wide area of coverage capable of reaching your target customers. There are also some service providers who manage a network of other third party logistics providers which provides them excellent coverage of your target country.
A good carrier should be able to advise and assist you on how to move your goods most efficiently to your customer. Their knowledge in navigating local routes allows them to make deliveries faster and provide you with a more consistent turnaround time.
At the same time, you should also consider the proficiency of their network. During the shipping process, the shipping partner should act as your sole point of contact when negotiating with relevant carriers, customs, and other parties. An effective shipping partner will eliminate the need for you to individually liaise with the multiple players in your supply chain. Hence, your shipping partner needs to be knowledgeable and authorized to carry out your negotiations and transactions with these parties on your behalf. Having a shipping partner with a proficient network would give you ease of mind, allowing you to focus on driving sales knowing that your package is in safe hands.
Finding a shipping company with a physical base of operations in the destination country, extensive knowledge of documentation requirements and experience operating in the local landscape is important, especially in cross-border shipping. If any issues occur in the foreign country, it can be difficult to get a detailed understanding of what’s happening on the ground.
Having shipping partners with a local presence will help to reduce instances of packages being delayed in you target country. For instance, their experience can help them at places like customs where they would be able to quickly respond and resolve any problems that may arise. Prolonged delays may lead to additional costs as well as customer dissatisfaction if their packages do not come on time.
Shipping partners who have an established presence in a country are also able to provide local expertise, such as knowledge on preferred payment methods and the means to facilitate it. For example, cash on delivery requires carriers to have the necessary payments infrastructure and processes in place, which are different from those used in online payment systems such as PayPal.
Choosing not to offer cash on delivery, because your carrier does not support that payment method, would deprive your eCommerce business of a significant proportion of online shoppers in certain countries.
For example, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission reported that 41.7% of online consumers paid for their eCommerce purchases via cash on delivery in 2016. Similarly, in Indonesia, a significant 49% of online shoppers has made payment through cash on delivery in 2017, as reported by Statista Global Consumer Survey. Not supporting cash on delivery could potentially lead to close to half of your customers in these Southeast Asian countries abandoning their cart.
Being able to support a widely-favoured payment method will help facilitate your eCommerce sales. Expanding your payment options could also reduce the rate of cart abandonment and increase the revenue for your eCommerce business.
A good shipping partner is someone who can provide peace of mind to both you and your end customer once they take the packages off your hands and move it down the supply chain. When dealing with cross-border shipping, both parties want to be sure that their package will arrive safely and on time to its destination, and that’s how an accurate and user-friendly track and trace can come in useful.
Find a shipping company that has a platform where your customers can easily use their provided tracking number to check on their package’s delivery status. An accurate tracking system should give your customers full visibility on the movement of your goods, such as the stage of delivery, its geographical location and estimated delivery timing. Customers can find out if the package is still in the origin warehouse, transiting via air freight, or en route to their address. This transparency can help reduce the costs spent on customer service while giving your customers full autonomy during the delivery process.
It should also give you real-time updates on your package’s delivery status. It will inform you on whether your package has been delivered successfully and if it failed, it should provide information on why it has failed, e.g. the customer wasn’t home during delivery. A good logistics provider will also be able to provide solutions on how to rectify these failures.
Cross-border shipping can seem difficult at first. The thought of dealing with unfamiliar carriers, supporting more payment options, and tracking your package when its overseas can make you want to avoid global shipping entirely. Working with the right logistics partner that has the features mentioned in this article can make this transition into international shipping smooth and ultimately help to grow your business.
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If you’d like to find out more about how we can solve your SEA eCommerce cross border delivery needs, come and have a conversation with us.
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