America is a ship through the high seas. Americans shipped out $2.5 trillion worth of exports in 2019.
If you want to make a lot of money, you need to sell your products overseas. Yet you can’t just put some of your stuff in a box and let the UPS take care of everything.
What are the customs imports and exports processes like? What are the cultural differences you have to keep in mind? How can you make it easier for people in other countries to buy your products?
Answer these questions and you can become a substantial export business in little time. Here is your quick guide.
Study the Customs Process
Each country has customs officials who will oversee shipments of goods, both in and out of the country. When you are selling products internationally, you have to go through two customs agencies.
Start with the American one. You have to secure an export license regardless of what goods you plan on exporting. There are special stipulations for automobiles, food, and electronics.
Then look at the import process for the country you are shipping to. Every country is different, so go on their government website and read about what you have to do.
Follow the recommended steps for the customs process one by one. If you deviate, you risk being rejected or having your products get damaged.
Customs brokers can manage application and shipping processes for you. Examine the services of a Sobel customs broker and compare them to other brokers.
Read About Regulations
Besides customs, there are many regulations that you must abide by. Each country has its own standards for quality. If your products contain harmful chemicals or broken pieces, the country you are shipping to will not allow you to sell them.
You may have to pay duties in order to sell your goods. Pay your duties well in advance and make sure you know how much money you have to pay.
Your customers may have to pay taxes in order to buy your goods. This may not affect you directly, but you should see how much your customers have to pay and adjust your prices. You may be able to increase your prices if your customers pay low taxes.
Free-trade agreements may eliminate your tariffs depending on where you ship to. But these agreements may also impact your marketing and sales operations. Talk to a lawyer and be mindful of the laws that affect how you are selling products.
Think About Cultural Differences
Cultural differences and customs will make or break your operations. If you have time, go to the country you plan on selling your products in. Meet people there, learn the language, and understand how their culture works.
You may be selling products in other countries that speak English. But each country has its own idioms and conventions for English. You need to adjust your language to match these conventions, including in your conversations with locals.
Some countries are restrictive on freedom of speech. They may not allow you to advertise your products as you would in the United States. Failing to conform to their laws can lead to imprisonment, so be careful with your marketing.
Other countries are more collectivist. Products should help communities, not just individuals. You should pivot your marketing to focus on how your goods will help groups like families and small towns.
Conceive Different Payment Options
The more payment options you have, the more customers you can get for your business. More people are paying for their goods with credit and debit cards, including in low-income countries. Governments are sending welfare checks through digital cash services, encouraging people to get credit cards.
It is always a good idea to have credit cards as a payment option. But you should allow people to pay in cash. Some people are unbanked, and you want to appeal to them.
You can also allow people to pay for your goods through PayPal. This is a good option if you plan on running an online store.
If you are running brick-and-mortar stores or selling products in markets, you may want to allow for some bargaining. You can have discussions with customers about adjusting prices so they can afford them.
Find Low-Budget Ways to Ship Your Goods
The fastest way to ship your goods out is to ship from the United States. Customers buy your products on your current website, and you then ship them to wherever they are. But this can be very expensive as customers may be in remote areas.
Consider selling your products on an international marketplace like eBay. These marketplaces can give you information on how to ship products and they may handle shipping for you. Yet these companies may charge fees for you to sell on their websites.
You can also use a third-party shipping service. There will be an upfront cost to hire a service. But in the long run, you will spend less time worrying about shipping, which can give you more time for marketing and sales.
How to Sell Your Products Abroad
You can sell your products once you understand several things. You must follow two separate customs processes. Be prepared to spend a lot of time on each one.
Regulations and cultural differences can impact what products you sell and how you market them. Adjust your operations to meet local beliefs and standards.
Think of different ways for locals to pay for your products, including through digital tools. You should also find a few methods for shipping your products out at low expense.
Shipping can help your business set sail. Learn how to manage sales operations by following our coverage.