Shoppers worldwide say that 25% of their online purchases are made with e-tailers outside their own country.

It’s exciting news when an e-tailer goes global. It means that consumers can finally order and receive the products they want without searching for alternative products or delivery methods – such as finding a friend to bring them overseas, or paying hefty shipping costs.

Although shipping products cross-border is costly to consumers, they still make the plunge 25% of the time. Just think how often consumers would make repeat purchases if the company became global and their products were more in reach.

One of the best opportunities the Internet provides companies is the ability to sell to customers in previously unreachable marketplaces. It is no surprise that as the U.S. retail market matures, global e-commerce is rapidly staking a claim.

But if the world is your market today, you know that while the ability to ship products globally can contribute to the success of your company, it also presents a new set of challenges and could potentially damage the customer experience.

Customers today want low shipping rates but fast arrival times, and as Postal Technologies explains, “Warehouse Managers are continually challenged to find new solutions to increase the efficiency of their processes to save time, reduce risk of error, and ultimately satisfy the customer.”

So why is global shopping so appealing? Well, the top reasons that consumers shop from international retailers are:

  • 43% found a lower price
  • 36% wanted something unique, not found in local stores
  • 34% liked the products or brands that are not available locally

Unfortunately, when a retailer first decides to ship internationally, mistakes can lead to customer complaints and costly expenses. What’s the fun in sending a package to a new customer in the UK just so it can get sent back to you because of a wrong label, incorrect customs requirements or documentation? That equals one unhappy customer and two expensive shipping fees.

Carrier compliance is a key success factor for companies who have tapped into the international market. However, it’s a complex process that involves knowledge of import tariffs, packaging specifications, customs rules and regulations. If these aspects of the shipping process are not handled properly, this could lead to incurring additional fees, major delays in your deliveries or possibly even having the deliveries returned.

The right multi-carrier shipping software can help companies gain a competitive advantage in the global shipping world. The ideal software should provide not only sophisticated rate shopping from a wide variety of global carriers and services, but should also integrate seamlessly with your existing systems and technologies. Multi-carrier shipping software can not only simplify the shipping process, but also handle the many complex details of international shipping.