How to Set Up Your Business for Cross-Border Ecommerce

The best thing about ecommerce is you can reach customers across the world. To set up your business for cross-border ecommerce, there are a lot of things to consider, from calculating shipping costs to understanding international shipping rules and regulations. ,

Cross-border ecommerce isn’t easy and can take up a lot of time and money. That’s why many global ecommerce brands partner with an international fulfillment provider like ShipBob with fulfillment services across the globe.

We are all about the entire customer experience, so international shipping is very important to us. We ship to 55 different countries and all 50 states. When I found out ShipBob was expanding into both Canada and Europe, I knew we wanted to expand our physical footprint with them.

Nikolai Paloni,

Co-Founder of Ombraz Sunglasses

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What is cross-border ecommerce?

Cross-border ecommerce involves the ability to distribute ecommerce inventory across a global fulfillment network to easily expand into new markets and offer customers across the world with fast and affordable shipping.

3 ways to set up your business for cross-border ecommerce

Here are a just few ways to get your business set up for cross-border ecommerce:

1. Measure, weigh, and pack correctly

Check the dimensions of your different order sizes. Dimensional weight may apply to your shipment and cause the shipping cost to change, so entering weight and dimensions helps ensure accuracy of the amount charged. It’s a best practice to round up on weights at the pound or ounce level.

Ensure fragile items are packed well as international orders can travel via truck, plane, and/or boat. Rough, long trips through different climates can damage items easily. Some items will also need certain packaging requirements to go overseas.

2. Calculate shipping costs ahead of time

Generally, a slower delivery time can save you more money, while expedited international delivery services are more expensive. Ecommerce businesses can take it a step further and calculate the total shipping and handling costs to account for operational costs of getting products out the door.

3. Estimate international shipping times

Where you are located or shipping from and where you ship to will impact delivery timelines. While some customers will be fine waiting a while for their package to arrive, others will need it as soon as possible. Providing both standard and express international delivery options can help cater to different people. Exact delivery times will vary across carriers and services.

How ShipBob helps you sell worldwide

Here is an overview of why ecommerce brands choose to implement a cross-border ecommerce solution.

Reach international customers

One of the biggest benefits of partnering with ShipBob is the ability to reach all of your customers, wherever they are in the world. ShipBob offer a growing fulfillment center network, with location across the United States, as well as in Canada, Poland (EU), the UK, and Australia.

“As we expand our online presence into Canada, both directly and selling through Walmart, we knew we needed a trusted fulfillment partner with a physical presence in Canada.

We have seen that Canadian customers order more when they know the order ships from within Canada and they do not need to worry about additional taxes if the order comes from the US.

From our history through the years with ShipBob, it was a no-brainer to expand into other markets with them, knowing that they have done their due diligence to meet the ShipBob standard.

Marc Fontanetta, Director of Operations at BAKblade

Save on shipping costs

With ShipBob, there are multiple ways you can reduce shipping costs for international orders: you can choose to store inventory domestically and take advantage of ShipBob’s negotiated carrier rates, or you can bulk-ship inventory to one of ShipBob’s international fulfillment locations, so you can ship domestically in other parts of the world.

“When COVID-19 hit, shipping methods suddenly became more limited and expensive to the point where it would not be feasible to ship through the Australian Post to fans in the United States (costing about 20 USD or 28 Australian dollars per package and getting stuck in transit).

With ShipBob, I’m able to offer competitive shipping rates within the US and move more units than I would shipping from Australia with ridiculous postage prices.”

Lee Nania, Founder of SubSubmarine

Manages administrative tasks

While international delivery is great for expanding your customer base, it will add a heap of administrative tasks for merchants. Opting to use ShipBob takes away the paperwork and arduous tasks for you, giving you more time to focus on acquiring and retaining customers.

“I used to ship orders myself through the Australian Post. I had to manually fill out customs forms, put together the box, pack every order, and run to the post office myself. It would take me a full week to send out over 100 orders and I would spend up to two hours at the post office.”

Lee Nania, Founder of SubSubmarine

Offers best-in-class technology

ShipBob has proprietary technology that gives merchants real-time updates on inventory stock levels, orders being processed, and international tracking for orders that have shipped via UPS, DHL, and FedEx.

“ShipBob has multiple fulfillment centers and all locations filter back into one centralized warehouse management system, so everything is under the ShipBob umbrella.”

Wes Brown, Head of Operations at Black Claw LLC

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Distributed inventory

With ShipBob’s network of fulfillment centers, you can strategically split your inventory across our locations to get your products from point A to point B more quickly and affordably. Storing inventory near your customers helps reduce the shipping zones and costs associated with shipping orders to faraway destinations.

Distributed inventory also helps you stay competitive by offering fast shipping to your customers. When an order is placed, ShipBob’s algorithm automatically selects the warehouse and carrier that will give you the quickest turnaround at the best price. This strategy has helped our merchants bring 13% savings to their bottom line.

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100% Coverage Across the Continental US

If you’re looking to expand into the United States, ShipBob has 2-Day Express Shipping that provides 100% coverage in the continental US from even just one fulfillment center.

You can also distribute your inventory across ShipBob’s fulfillment centers across all regions of the United States. We leave it up to you to decide where you want us to store your inventory.

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Order management

At ShipBob, we track your orders from A to Z. Filter orders by status, search for specific orders, see a quick timeline view of where your order is in the fulfillment process (e.g. when an order is picked, packed, or shipped), easily find shipping-related information (e.g., weights, dimensions, or carrier service), and get a quick snapshot of any orders that require action.

With order management software for your direct-to-consumer and wholesale shipments, you can manage subscriptions, make changes to your orders post-purchase, map your store’s shipping options to ShipBob, and automatically share tracking information with your customers.

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Reporting and analytics

To provide you with visibility into our operations and performance, and also hold ourselves accountable, ShipBob’s free analytics tool is packed with charts to help you with everything from year-end reporting, to better supply chain decision-making.

Data can be a competitive advantage, and our reports show an analysis of which fulfillment centers you should stock, days of inventory left before you run out, impact of promotions on stock levels, each shipping method’s average cart value, shipping cost, and days in transit, your fulfillment cost per order, storage cost per unit, and much more.

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End-to-end customer experience

We care about the customer experience as much as you and strive to be an extension of your team. From custom branded boxes to free plain packaging, ShipBob works with you to provide the unboxing experience you want. We also help you offer the fastest, most cost-effective shipping options to meet your customers’ expectations.

As soon as an order ships, tracking is pushed back to your store. We also offer return management services, allowing customers to generate return shipping labels and track returns, while getting your products processed and back into your available inventory as efficiently as possible.

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Save on fulfillment costs

Coffee creamer brand Prymal joined ShipBob in 2019 and was quickly able to save $8,000 per month on fulfillment costs, while at the same time achieving 4x growth.

Learn more about Prymal’s growth

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Improve your conversion rate

Not only was BAKblade able to scale internationally by partnering with ShipBob, but they found adding 2-Day Shipping increased their conversions as well.

Learn more about BAKblades’s growth

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Store, ship, and grow internationally

Sunglasses brand Ombraz distributed their inventory across 3 fulfillment centers in two different countries. This has allowed them to ship to 55 countries on seven continents.

Learn more about Ombraz’s growth