Packages that cross international borders are subject to more handling and scrutiny as they travel, so packing them requires more care and consideration than domestic shipments. 

They're more likely to be pushed, dropped or even battered while they move through customs, less sophisticated sorting facilities and numerous vehicles on the way to their destinations.

Here are seven tips from international shipping experts that will help your items get to their destinations safely.

1. Don't skimp on the box.

It may be tempting to use what you have on hand, but boxes need to be large enough to accommodate the product and extra packing material. 

They also need to be sturdy enough to withstand the long trip, which includes many sorting and handling facilities. 

Don't try to "make do" with a box that's too small or that's made from flimsy paperboard. 

Use a corrugated shipping carton (also in video below) instead. If the item is pre-packaged in a paperboard box, keep the original packaging intact and ship the whole thing in a cardboard carton.

2. Check the box's weight limit.

A shipping box will usually have the weight limit stamped on the bottom flap. 

Overloaded boxes can rip or break, so weight your item and packing materials to make sure they're within the weight limits. 

Cardboard boxes lose strength over time, so if the box is old and the package is close to the weight limit, upgrade to a newer, stronger box.

Check out: Ways Online Sellers Can Reduce Their Shipping Costs

3. Cushion the item well.

Whether you use packing peanuts, foam pads or bubble wrap, line the interior of the carton with at least 5 cm (2 in.) of cushioning material.

 The item should also be wrapped in at least 5cm of foam or padding. Place the padded item in the box and fill the spaces with more cushioning material from the bottom up.

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4. Use the proper packing materials.

If you're shipping specialty items such as breakable collectibles, electronics, artwork or antiques, you need to be extra cautious when packing your box. 

Protect electronics with anti-static materials rather than foam, blankets or crumpled paper. 

Use at least 8 cm (3 in.) of cushioning material around fragile items. (link to “shipping fragile goods article here, i.e. painting)

5. Check for movement.

Before you seal the package, close the box and give it a gentle shake. 

You shouldn't hear anything move. If you can hear the items shifting around in the box, add more packing materials until the item fits snugly - there should be very little wiggle room. 

Items that don't jostle around in the container are less likely to be broken or damaged.

6. Seal the package well.

Make sure the outside of the box does not have any old markings, stickers or bar codes.

Don't wrap the package in paper which can tear or get caught in postal handling equipment. 

Use plastic tape to seal all the flaps and cover the seams. The heavier the package is, the more tape you need to reinforce the seams.

7. Label the package properly.

Addresses should be written in uppercase letters only to avoid errors by automated sorting equipment. 

The label should also include the full name of the country rather than an abbreviation. 

International addresses can be written in the recipient's language, but the country, city and province should be written in English. 

See also: The Consumer Psychology of Product Packaging Shape, Style, and Label

Write the foreign postal code above the country name to avoid sorting errors and delays. 

Most international packages also require a customs form, which should also be printed in capital letters and filled out completely. 

Take the customs form with you to the shipper, who will determine the best location to attach it.

Wrapping Up Your International Shipping Primer

Shipping a product internationally requires more care than shipping domestically. 

Packages that travel overseas or through multiple border crossings take more abuse, so always use sturdy boxes and don't overload them. 

Using extra cushioning, especially for breakable items, and packing them tightly will help protect them on the way. 

Clear, legible addresses in both the foreign language and English will also help the postal handlers get the package to the correct destination. 

Finally, properly completed customs forms will help prevent delays and get the item to the recipient safely when your deliveries require international shipping.

After the Checkout: Make Shipping Easy on Yourself with the Help of Fulfillment Bridge

Once you have your site optimized, from guests checkout options and pricing to images and user generated content, your sales will start to climb. Prepare to keep your customers happy and yourself sane by taking advantage of the full suite of Fulfillment Bridge Ecommerce solutions.

When you are ready to take your ecommerce shipping and fulfillment to the next level, contact Fulfillment Bridge

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