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1. The importance of international shipping in ecommerce

Ecommerce international shipping: How to deliver globally

The world of ecommerce is an increasingly expanding market. With the rise in digital platforms, businesses now have an ever-expanding global audience at their reach. But how do you deliver to this global clientele? International shipping is the key, and it's crucial for a successful ecommerce business.

Let's delve deeper and understand how you can tap into international markets and give your ecommerce brand the global recognition it deserves.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • International shipping in ecommerce is crucial for expanding market reach, enhancing customer satisfaction, and driving growth. As ecommerce demand grows globally, reliable and cost-effective international shipping services become paramount to business success.

  • Benefits of offering international shipping include increased sales, risk mitigation, trust and loyalty building, sustainability, exposure to different cultures and markets, and strategic collaborations.

  • Businesses should consider key aspects of international shipping, such as customs and duties, shipping costs and delivery times, packaging requirements, and choosing the right shipping carrier, for a successful global ecommerce strategy.

  • Implementing international shipping on your ecommerce site requires setting up clear shipping options, managing international returns effectively, and partnering with solutions like Gelato's print on demand for localized production, which can greatly reduce shipping times and costs.

  • Gelato's solution also supports sustainability by minimizing long-haul shipping, simplifies customs and duty issues, and offers reliable tracking and customer support, making it an excellent choice for ecommerce businesses expanding internationally.

The importance of international shipping in ecommerce

02_The importance of international shipping in ecommerce

International shipping is more than just sending a package abroad. It's about expanding reach, enhancing customer satisfaction, and fueling the growth of your ecommerce business.

The benefits of international shipping aren't limited to just revenue. It's about creating a holistic customer experience that helps build a brand reputation globally.

The growing demand for global ecommerce

As internet access improves around the world, more and more people are turning to online shopping. From Asia to Africa, Latin America to Europe, consumers love the convenience of ecommerce.

To sustain this growing demand, businesses must offer reliable and cost-effective international shipping services. Those who don't are likely to be left behind.

Furthermore, the globalization of ecommerce has opened up new opportunities for businesses to tap into emerging markets. By expanding their reach beyond domestic borders, companies can access a larger customer base and increase their market share.

For instance, imagine a small fashion boutique based in New York City. By offering international shipping, this boutique can now reach fashion enthusiasts in London, Tokyo, and Sydney. This not only boosts their sales but also establishes their brand presence in different corners of the world.

Benefits of offering international shipping

Increased sales

One of the most immediate benefits of offering international shipping is the potential for increased sales. Customers will only shop from your site if they know that they can get their purchases delivered to their doorstep, wherever in the world they may be.

Reduce risk

By serving an international customer base, you're not putting all your eggs in one basket. This way, you can mitigate losses if the market in one country dips.

Build trust and loyalty

Offering international shipping can help businesses build customer loyalty and enhance their brand reputation. When customers receive their orders promptly and in good condition, they are more likely to trust and recommend your brand to others.


International shipping provides an opportunity for businesses to showcase their commitment to sustainability. By partnering with eco-friendly shipping providers and implementing carbon offset programs, companies can contribute to reducing their carbon footprint and attract environmentally conscious customers.

Exposure to different cultures and markets

By catering to customers from diverse backgrounds, businesses can gain valuable insights into consumer preferences, trends, and demands. This knowledge can then be used to develop tailored marketing strategies and product offerings.

Strategic collaborations

Offering international shipping can lead to collaborations and partnerships with overseas suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors. This can result in cost savings, improved product quality, and access to unique resources.

Key considerations for shipping internationally

03_Key considerations for shipping internationally

When it comes to the international shipping process, there are several key considerations that can greatly impact your business. Understanding and addressing these considerations will not only help you avoid potential obstacles during international parcel delivery but also enhance your customer experience and brand image.

Customs and duties

Navigating the world of customs and duties can be a daunting task. As far as international shipments go, each country has different regulations, and penalties can be heavy for non-compliance.

When you ship internationally, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the customs requirements of the countries you are shipping to. This includes understanding the necessary documentation, such as customs forms and commercial invoices, and complying with any specific labeling or packaging requirements.

Shipping costs and delivery times

When it comes to shipping overseas, striking a balance between cost and speed is no easy task, but it is crucial to keep your customers happy and coming back for more. According to top international shipping companies, there are various factors that can influence international shipping costs and delivery times. These include the weight and dimensions of the package, destination countries, the chosen shipping method, and any additional services required, such as insurance or tracking.

It is important to clearly communicate shipping costs and international delivery times to customers at checkout to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Providing multiple international shipping options and estimating delivery times based on the destination can help customers make informed decisions and manage their expectations.

Packaging for international shipping

When preparing packages for international shipping, it is crucial to ensure that your packaging is sturdy enough to withstand long journeys and various handling conditions. Consider using durable materials, such as corrugated cardboard or padded envelopes, and secure the contents with appropriate cushioning materials, such as bubble wrap or packing peanuts. Also, use high-quality materials for printing international shipping labels. 

In addition to protection, your packaging should also reflect your brand identity. Consider incorporating your logo, colors, or other branding elements to create a cohesive and memorable unboxing experience for your customers.

Choosing the right shipping carrier

04_Choosing the right shipping carrier

Deciding on a shipping carrier can be a complex process, with each carrier having its own set of strengths and weaknesses. When it comes to shipping, there are several factors to consider:

  • Price: Shipping costs can vary greatly between carriers, so it's essential to compare rates and find the best deal for your business. However, it's important to remember that price isn't the only consideration for ecommerce businesses.

  • Reliability: You want to make sure that your packages will arrive on time and in good condition. Researching carrier reviews and customer feedback can give you valuable insights into the reliability of different carriers.

  • Coverage: Some carriers may have limited coverage in certain regions or countries, which could impact your ability to reach customers around the world. It's essential to choose a carrier that offers the coverage you need for your business.

  • Experience: There are additional It's crucial to choose a carrier that has experience and expertise in navigating the complexities of international shipping, such as customs regulations, import/export restrictions, and documentation requirements. 

  • Speed of delivery: Some carriers may offer faster transit times than others, which can be crucial if you have time-sensitive shipments. However, faster delivery often comes at a higher cost, so it's essential to find the right balance between speed and affordability.

  • Customer service: Dealing with customs, tracking packages, and resolving any issues that may arise during transit can be challenging. Choosing a carrier with excellent customer service can make a significant difference in your overall shipping experience.

Implementing international shipping on your ecommerce site

Expanding your business to offer international shipping can open up a whole new world of opportunities. By reaching customers beyond your borders, you can tap into a larger market and increase your revenue potential. However, implementing international shipping on your ecommerce site requires careful planning and consideration.

Setting up shipping options

Your ecommerce site should make it easy for customers to choose their preferred shipping options. Whether they'd like their order shipped express or standard, allow them to make that choice at checkout.

Consider partnering with reputable shipping carriers that have experience in international shipping. These carriers can provide you with the necessary tools and resources to streamline the shipping process. From calculating shipping costs to printing shipping labels, integrating your ecommerce site with their systems can save you time and effort.

Furthermore, it's important to familiarize yourself with the documentation needed for international shipments, such as customs forms and commercial invoices. Providing clear instructions to your customers on how to complete these documents can help avoid delays and ensure a smooth shipping experience.

Managing international returns

Dealing with returns can be a headache, especially when shipping internationally. Make sure you have a clear, fair, and easy-to-understand returns policy. Communicate this policy clearly to your customers to avoid confusion and disputes.

Consider offering multiple options for international returns, such as allowing customers to ship the item back to a local address or providing prepaid return labels. This flexibility can help alleviate the burden on your customers and encourage them to make a purchase with confidence.

Additionally, it's important to have a streamlined process in place for handling returned items. This includes inspecting the returned products, issuing refunds or exchanges promptly, and updating your inventory accordingly. By efficiently managing international returns, you can maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Take the sting out of international shipping with Gelato

05_Take the sting out of international shipping with Gelato

Navigating the challenges of international shipping can be daunting. However, Gelato's print on demand solutions offer a seamless way to tackle these hurdles, transforming the process into a smooth, cost-effective, and eco-friendly operation. Let's explore how Gelato makes global shipping a breeze for your ecommerce business.

Local production reduces shipping times and costs

One of the main challenges with international shipping is the long delivery times and high costs. With Gelato's local production in 34 countries, products are made closer to the customer, reducing shipping times and costs significantly. This local approach ensures your customers receive their orders promptly, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Environmental impact of reduced shipping

Gelato's localized production doesn't just save you money; it's also better for the planet. By producing goods closer to where they're needed, Gelato cuts down on long-haul shipping, reducing carbon emissions and supporting sustainable business practices.

Mitigating customs and duty hassles

International shipping often involves complex customs processes and duties. Gelato's local production model circumvents these challenges, as products are manufactured and shipped within the same country or region, making cross-border issues a thing of the past.

Reliable tracking and customer support

Shipping internationally can often mean less visibility and control over delivery. Gelato provides reliable tracking and customer support, ensuring you and your customers always know the status of orders.

Affordable shipping with Gelato+ and Gelato+ Gold

The subscription plans Gelato+ and Gelato+ Gold offer additional benefits, including substantial discounts on shipping. This benefit means you can offer competitive prices to your customers without cutting into your profit margins.

Getting started with Gelato

As the world's largest platform for local production of on-demand products, Gelato empowers creators, entrepreneurs, and global brands to sell products worldwide while producing them locally in 34 countries. With no upfront costs, an extensive product catalog including t-shirts, mugs, phone cases, wall art, photo books, etc, and powerful subscription options, it's the perfect platform to take your ecommerce business to the next level. Are you ready to turn your dreams into reality and reach up to five billion potential customers overnight? Don't wait another moment. Sign up for Gelato today and start building your success story!

International shipping FAQs

1. What are some of the challenges in ecommerce international shipping?

International shipping involves many challenges, such as longer delivery times, higher costs, customs procedures and duties, and potential tracking issues. Companies need to understand these challenges to effectively deliver goods globally.

2. How does the print on demand model affect international shipping?

The print on demand model significantly simplifies international shipping. By producing products locally in the destination country or region, it reduces shipping times and costs. It also mitigates customs issues, as goods are not crossing borders.

3. What role does Gelato play in international shipping for ecommerce?

Gelato is the world's largest platform for local production of on-demand products. By producing and delivering products locally in 34 countries, Gelato enables ecommerce businesses to ship their products globally more efficiently and sustainably.

4. What are the benefits of using Gelato's print on demand solution for international shipping?

Gelato's print on demand solution provides numerous benefits, including reduced shipping times and costs, mitigation of customs and duty hassles, environmental sustainability, and reliable tracking and customer support. Also, Gelato's subscription plans, Gelato+ and Gelato+ Gold, offer additional benefits such as substantial discounts on shipping.

5. How can I get started with international shipping using Gelato?

Getting started with Gelato is simple. After signing up for the service, you can create and customize products, set up your online store, and start selling globally. The platform produces your products locally and ships them to your customers, taking the sting out of international shipping. 


Next steps

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