International shipping allows online retailers to put their products to global markets and drive more sales. There is a high proportion of retailers experiencing growth through marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon, however, retailers must ensure taking their online store global is appropriate for their business model, according to joint-CEO of Shippit, Rob Hango-Zada (pictured).

Speaking to RetailBiz, he said the fastest growing segment, both locally and internationally, is by far fashion and apparel. It is easier to ship internationally as there are no customs clearances or dangerous goods declarations required.

“In the last few years, online retailers have had to adjust to a rise in consumer demand for more seamless shopping experiences, and as a result, we have seen the emergence of strategies like omni-channel retailing. Bricks and mortar, while still relevant, is not the only way consumers want to shop,” he explained.

Economic and technological changes have transformed buying behavior. Social media platforms have changed how retailers engage with their customers and the influencer economy is driving tangible sales. “As a result of these changes, logistically, online retailers are responding to consumer demand for faster, cheaper and more convenient shipping. Models like micro-fulfillment centres and on-demand delivery options becoming the new norm in shipping.”

Digital platforms such as Shippit simplify processes, making it easier for small businesses to think globally. Hango-Zada claims that brands using Shippit experience five times faster delivery compared to the overall market. “Shippit employs smart shipping tactics, such as flat rate shipping, free shipping thresholds and a choice of shipping options, to drive conversion. The platform’s backend infrastructure makes shipping out goods faster and more cost effective.”

He said the focus should be on retaining consumers and increasing purchase frequency by improving customer experience, delivery options and seamless returns. Further, sustainability and authenticity are two macro themes garnering consumer attention, so retailers with green initiatives will be rewarded.

So, what else do online retailers need to consider before taking the leap to global shipping?

“Firstly, know your customer and understand your competitive set to determine what offering you want to create for an international market. Secondly, take the guesswork out of shipping and standardise your offerings, for example – set fixed price duties and taxes. Thirdly, take marketing a focus – it is critically important to how your customer navigates their shopping cart and processes payments.”