Many online retailers in the US are unwilling to ship their products overseas, but international customers often get around this by using a US forwarding address. Selling your products online means that you can attract customers from almost anywhere. This can create issues for online retailers who were unaware that they were shipping a product overseas. If an overseas customer inquires about buying your products and asks you to ship to a US forwarding address, use these strategies to help prevent any future headaches.
Be Upfront About Potential Issues
International customers who use a US forwarding address expose themselves to many risks. A greater number of shipping intermediaries creates a greater risk of mishandling. Damage to the product can result during overseas shipping. Customs inspections can also add days or sometimes weeks to the final delivery time. It’s crucial for potential customers to understand these risks. Be upfront about them and explain that they may not get the products ordered in the timeframe or condition that they were expecting. If it is not your usual policy to ship overseas, explain that policy and ask the customer to assume some of the risk. If your customer understands these issues in advance, he or she will be less likely to complain or demand a refund. Explaining the risks to your customer before they have your product shipped to a US forwarding address will prevent many potential issues when selling.
Make Sure They Use A Reliable Service
Check with your customer to ensure that the parcel forwarding service they are using is reputable. Some services office same day delivery. Many overseas customers might try to have their parcel sent overseas using a less expensive or reliable service. Direct them if you can to a reputable company that can provide tracking and accountability. Make sure your customer understands that the moment the product you ship arrives at their US forwarding address, you can no longer be held strictly accountable for any issues that may arise.
Use Tracking Apps To Protect Your Business
You can protect your end of the business transaction using a tracking app to ensure that you’ve done all you can when sending to a US forwarding address. The best apps offer up-to-date tracking information and notifications to inform you of when the package has arrived at its destination. With the aid of these apps, you can immediately inform your international customer that the package has arrived at the US forwarding address they provided. This protects your bottom line. You can demonstrate that you have done all that is necessary to sell your product and that their package is now in the hands of a third-party intermediary. Protect your business by using these apps to provide proof that you have held up your end of the bargain when shipping to a US forwarding address.
Prepare To Do Extra Legwork For Better Customer Service
Sending your packages to a forwarding address that will send your product overseas might demand some extra research. Learn about the timetables and customs practices of the country your package will be sent to. Prepare your customer for extra delays or possible setbacks based on what you are able to learn. When you ship a package to a US forwarding address, you will not typically be responsible for duties or customs forms. You should still learn as much as you can about the customs practices of the country where your product will end up. Your customer will appreciate your knowledge of the typical inspection and delivery timetables for your product. Over time, you will be able to provide better customer service to any future customers who use a US forwarding address or fulfillment services.
Package And Secure Your Products With Care
If you know in advance that your product will be sent overseas from the customer’s US forwarding address, you must take care to package your products extra carefully. Choose durable packaging and secure your shipment beyond what you already do for domestic shipping. This extra care will be worth it. Though sending to a US forwarding address will not require customs forms or duties, you should still be extra careful when protecting the package you are shipping. Customers who use a US forwarding address will be grateful that you took the extra time to make sure that their package arrived safely overseas.
Your online business can grow immensely by attracting international customers that use a US forwarding address. It presents extra operations management challenges, but the payoff is worth it. Clearly communicate the potential issues up front to prevent disgruntled customers. Use reliable tracking apps and ensure that your customer employs a reputable forwarding service to make sure the product is handled properly. Package your product with extra care to account for the increased time in shipping. Doing these things will allow you to expand your market to international customers that use a US forwarding address.