1)Introduction to International Courier Services
In a world marred with uncertainties, one thing we know for certain is that online shopping is the way of the future. The eCommerce industry currently serves over 100 million customers across India. But what if ecommerce enterprises extend their reach to eager customers across the oceans? A whole new avenue for information and growth opens up. Your potential consumer base would then go from 100 million to near 2 billion.
While there are a myriad of benefits to international shipping (which we will be discussing), you can only reap those benefits when you’ve got the right courier partner(s). In this article, we’ll be taking a look at what international courier services truly entails and which companies provide the best of those services. We’ll also walk you through a few things to keep in mind when including the cost of international courier services in your courier strategy.
2)What is International Courier Service
International courier services are exactly what the name suggests. They are services offered by courier companies that enable eCommerce enterprises to ship orders to customers in foreign countries. This isn’t an easy task. It requires a well-distributed and connected network of transportation units, hub & dispatch centres, fulfillment centres, and numerous other resources.
When orders need to be delivered across borders, courier companies that provide international courier services need to be familiar with the legal requirements of the destination country. Knowing the rules and regulations of the concerned nations is the foremost way to ensure unnecessary delays and losses are avoided. The core of international services is in navigating these potential restrictions as well as in building a streamlined courier mechanism for traversing long distances. Together, these ensure maximum order fulfillment across borders.
3)Top 10 Best International Courier Services When Shipping From India [2021 Updated List]
We’ve already emphasized the importance of tying up with the right courier partner, i.e., one that provides the best international courier services. You would want a courier partner that is established and experienced globally, in addition to one that is equipped to handle the needs of the eCommerce industry. India has over 150 courier companies currently operating, a majority of which cater to eCommerce businesses. Not all of these companies provide international courier services. More to the point, not all of them have a reputation for providing efficient international courier services. However, a few of them are at the top of their game and offer the best international courier services for e-commerce shipping from India.
FedEx has been operational since 1971 and in addition to having a pin code reach of 19000+ within India, it also operates globally in 220+ countries. FedEx offers a variety of international courier services based on location, volume of orders and other metrics, like FedEx International Economy, FedEx International First and FedEx International Priority.
Aramex is a global carrier from the UAE that has been providing international courier services since 1997. In India, it operates as an acquisition of Delhivery and reaches 220+ countries. Ecommerce businesses can select either their Export Express services or Export Value. The former offers speedier international courier services, and the latter offers more cost-effective ones.
BlueDart has an expansive reach of 35000+ pin codes in India, alongside offering international delivery in over 220 countries across the globe. It has an established presence in these countries, thereby providing quicker, value-based, and reliable international courier services. Many consider it a faster albeit costlier alternative for handling cross-border orders.
Delhivery is a popular courier partner, founded in India in 2011, that reaches 17500+ Indian pin codes. It is a favourite among eCommerce businesses for its effective domestic delivery as well as international courier delivery services. Delhivery uses a tech-enabled integrated system to provide international courier services via air and sea freight at competitive prices.
Ecom Express is similar to Delhivery in numerous ways. It is an Indian company known for its wide reach within the country (27000+ pin codes), that uses an integrated system to provide international courier services and international courier tracking services to eCommerce enterprises. With Ecom Express, you receive aid in navigating through customs clearance alongside doorstep international delivery.
Founded in 1990, India-based courier company DTDC has made a name for itself as one of the most prolific domestic and global courier services providers. It uses a strategically designed system of offices and distribution centres spread across 240+ countries including numerous SAARC countries and even parts of China to provide Express International Courier services and International COD (cash on delivery).
DHL began its logistics journey in 1969, making it one of the oldest internationally operational courier services that cater to the Indian eCommerce market. DHL comes with the benefits of warehouse and transportation management in addition to being known for its environmentally-friendly courier services. It offers international courier services using air, rail and sea transportation.
India Post is an initiative of the Ministry of Communication and Technology and is run by the Department of Post. India Post is the oldest and most reliable postal service available in India. It provides a limited range of international courier services to 200+ countries by air, which includes tracking services, and is known for its low rates.
Pickrr is one of India’s largest eCommerce courier solutions. As an aggregation platform, in addition to being a courier services provider, it reaches all pin codes within India as well as 200+ foreign countries. Pickrr offers flexible courier options at the lowest rates available to different courier partners.
UPS is a common carrier in the United States but it also operates as an international courier services provider for the Indian eCommerce industry. It is known for handling a wider range of freight, including live animals and hazardous goods. It provides expedited international courier services, enabling doorstep delivery across borders within 5 days of ordering.
4)How to Choose the Best International Courier Services Company For Your eCommerce Business?
Even if your eCommerce enterprise is shipping 10,000 orders a month, it’s highly unlikely that you would be able to engage with 10 different courier partners at the same time. At most, you would take the aid of 2-5 courier partners, of which only some will be charged with handling international couriers. This means you need to shorten your list of 10 to 2 or 3. Now, this might sound like a difficult task, but you can determine the quality of international courier services from reviews of past and existing customers. Beyond that, the most important thing is to make sure that the international courier services company you choose is compatible with your ecommerce business. Primarily, you need to have a clear understanding of your courier strategy. The following base criteria will help you determine what this strategy is and how an international courier services company will fit in it.
Every courier company has a different reach, both domestically and internationally. You would need to take both reaches into consideration. The ideal international courier services provider is one that can also operate effectively, as per your business requirements, within the borders of your country.
When you consider the cost of international courier services, it requires an exhaustive analysis that goes beyond the base rate charged. You must also look at what services are encompassed in that rate and how those services enable you to make a greater profit or cut costs in other areas.
Speedy delivery is a must in today’s world, filled with demanding customers. Numerous courier companies provide expedited international delivery services that are highly effective. You would accordingly need one that gives you the most options and best rates for express international courier services.
A reliable courier partner is a standard you would want to keep for any carrier you’re tying up with. However, in the case of international courier services, this reliability refers to the number of orders they successfully deliver across borders and the services they provide to help guarantee these successful deliveries.
International courier services encompass more than just transportation. It may also include specialised handling of certain types of orders, doorstep delivery, proof of delivery, fast COD reconciliation and numerous other potential necessities. The right permutation and combination of services can enable you to serve your international customers better.
5)Why Do You Need International Courier Services?
As you’re looking through all of this information, you might start to wonder whether or not you really need international courier services. At the end of the day, reaching out to an international audience is an investment. It’s important to understand the value of your investment and why you’re making it. And ultimately, you’ll only make the investment if what you’re getting out of it exceeds the value of what you’re putting in.
A lot of this is dependent on what stage of growth your ecommerce company is in, and what your goals are. As your trajectory continues upwards, you may find that the benefits of international delivery listed below are in line with your objectives.
5.1)Bigger Customer Base
One of the main benefits of taking your ecommerce enterprise across the seas is getting more customers. Once you’re able to ship to a foreign nation, like the US or Canada, a whole new target market becomes available to you. You get access to 2.1 billion shoppers world over.
5.2)Join the International Market
The global ecommerce market is valued at trillions of dollars, a number estimated to continue growing in an upward trajectory. Expanding your services to reach international customers enables you to experience a new level of growth in sales.
5.3)Exposure to New Market Trends
When you join the ranks of top-rated internationally renowned businesses, you get the opportunity to tap into their wells of knowledge. You can learn from different nations and cultures how to anticipate customer needs and stay ahead of the game.
5.4)Added Seasonal Sales
Another bonus that comes with a culturally diverse clientele is that your business can now operate successfully all year round. A slow season in your country of origin may be a spirited season in a foreign nation. A little research and targeting marketing campaigns can ensure you get the most from various global festivities. Think of it like this. Just as Diwali season comes to an end here, Thanksgiving and Christmas pop up across the seas. All 3 occasions are perfect opportunities to boost sales.
5.5)Become a Global Brand
The growth and development of an eCommerce business is measurable in more than just order volumes and profit. The goal of every business is to be a household name, at the height of popularity. Expanding to an international market gives you a chance to become a global brand name, among the most successful companies in the world.
6)What is the Importance of Budgeting For International Shipping Services
Many eCommerce businesses try to reach an international audience, but not all succeed. The jump from domestic-only delivery to domestic and international delivery is not one that can be made easily. It requires careful planning, strategic budgeting, and a strong heart. As a great Jedi Knight once said, “Try not. Do. Or do not.” As we mentioned in the previous segment, International courier services are an investment, and investments need to be thought through. Without proper financial planning, international expansions cannot be done. This may sound like a drastic statement, but failing to do so could result in extreme losses that your business may not survive. And doing so will give you the competitive advantages listed below.
6.1)Manage Increasing Order Volumes
You know the age-old saying, “Be careful what you wish for”? It applies doubly so in business. Your new international audience may become absolutely enamored with your brand and clamoring for more of your product. With a strategic budget in mind prior to expansion, you can prepare yourself for this influx of orders.
6.2)Reach a Wider Audience
Think of your budgets like a war strategy and yourself as Alexander the Great (but more pleasant). The further you plan ahead, the more efficiently you can expand your operations. First, you expand to the east coast of America, then to the west coast. Slowly you set up operations in major Canadian cities. Next thing you know, your brand has a customer base spread out across the entire continent of North America.
6.3)Set Boundaries With Courier Partners
Having a well-thought-out financial plan and courier strategy (i.e, the essential elements of budgeting for international courier services) means you know exactly what you want to do when you approach international courier companies. This clarity enables you to set strict terms with respect to international courier services, especially with respect to pricing and fees. Your budget essentially acts as a boundary between you and your courier partner so you have greater control. With positive projections for potential order volume growth, you will also have greater leverage.
6.4)Offer Lower Courier Charges
Customers are looking for ways to get everything they need cheaper and faster. You may end up losing customers if they determine the delivery charges to be excessive or beyond their means. With a budget in mind, you can divide the overall cost of your international courier services amongst customers equally, either by including in the price or charging separately. You can thereby keep the shipping fee you charge to customers lower and therefore more appealing.
6.5)Keep Your Profit Margin High
Every eCommerce endeavor begins and ends with the same purpose, i.e., to make money. Maximum profitability is the holy grail of the eCommerce market. And every smart entrepreneur knows profitability isn’t about which business gets the most income. It's about which business knows how to balance their income with their costs. This is the major role of budgeting for international courier services. It's an opportunity to know in advance exactly what outcomes you will receive from your investment when. You can essentially create a map to the highest point of profitability, the Everest of the e-commerce world.
Going international is a pivotal moment for any great eCommerce venture. One of the highlights in every successful eCommerce journey is the moment they receive international recognition. And one of the major goals for those destined to succeed is international exposure. It is undoubtedly a step-by-step process to reach these heights of prowess in the global marketplace. Expanding your serviceability to foreign markets and entering the import/export industry is one of the first steps. This in itself can be a slow process, requiring you to start with one region, then two, then three. Until suddenly you find your business is listed alongside the largest multinational eCommerce conglomerates in the world. To climb your way to the top of this intercontinental ladder, you must employ the best international courier services, providers. This will help you keep costs low, keep profits high, and keep customers happy. These are the secret ingredients in the recipe for success.