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Should You Offer Overseas Shipping for Your Online Store?

If you offer overseas shipping from your online store, you can reach a much larger audience of potential customers in many different countries worldwide.

However, shipping goods to overseas buyers isn't always straightforward.

Here are some points to consider before deciding to offer overseas shipping.

Importation Restrictions

Certain goods cannot be brought into certain countries.

For example, one country that has particularly strict importation regulations is Australia. Certain food products, plants, cosmetics and several other products are not allowed to enter Australia. There are restrictions on other types of goods.

A full list of the prohibited and restricted products can be found on the website of the Australian Border Force.

If you send goods to a country where their importation is prohibited, they will either be destroyed or returned to you for an extra fee. 

Your customer may not know that they are not allowed to import certain items if they have never ordered them from overseas before.

Therefore, it is important to let potential customers know that they are responsible for finding out if importation of the product or one of its ingredients is banned or restricted.

Customs Charges

All shipments will pass through customs when they reach their destination country.

For certain items going to certain countries, the following fees may be added:

  •  customs duties,
  • importation taxes,
  • goods and services taxes (see VAT compliance for more),
  • handling charges.

For example, Value Added Tax (VAT) is charged on certain items entering certain European Union (EU) countries. Compliance with VAT is compulsory once your shipments to a region reach a predetermined threshold.

Customs and importation rules vary from country to country, so make it clear in your shipping terms and conditions that buyers are responsible for paying all these extra costs upon delivery.

Advise potential buyers to ask the customs agency in their home country how much these extra charges will be before they buy an item from your online store.

Returned Items

It's important that your customers know how you will deal with a package that is returned to you by an overseas customs authority. Therefore, include your policy on returned items on your website.

You could, for example, offer a refund if the item is returned in unopened and unused condition, minus shipping charges (including return shipping charges) and other fees charged by the authorities in the destination country.

Online Tracking

Postal services in certain countries can be unreliable. Therefore, it's a good idea to use a delivery service that can track shipments online.

However, tracked international delivery services are usually more expensive than non-tracked services. If you offer a non-tracked option, make it clear that the item will not be tracked, and no compensation would be available if it was lost in the mail.

Wrapping Up: International Shipping for Ecommerce

Offering international shipping can extend your customer base significantly.

However, certain issues can arise, especially when you send shipments to particular country for the first time. These issues may take you some time to deal with, and there may be costs involved too.

Despite this, the overall benefits of shipping to customers worldwide usually outweigh the occasional pitfalls.

Get Started International Shipping for Your Ecommerce Store with 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.

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

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Kais Khadhraoui


I'm the CEO & Founder at Fulfillment Bridge. I spent more than 12 years providing cutting edge financial solutions to global banks and stock exchanges and running successfully Multimillions projects at global scale. I decided 8 years ago to start my entrepreneurial adventure in the eCommerce industry. I discovered similarities in both fields which made it easier for me to provide high quality eCommerce related services inspired from the Fintech world. My ultimate goal is to create a leading eCommerce solution following the high standards adopted in the financial industry. When you are looking to take your ecommerce to the next level and partner with a logistics provider that specializes in global ecommerce solutions, you can get in touch with me on LinkedIn.