by Angela Delaney

4 Common Export Mistakes Businesses Make and How to Avoid Them

Exporting abroad can be a challenging endeavour. There are legal forms to fill out and every border seems to have different customs - and that’s after you have to consider the practical logistics in packing up and and transporting your products overseas in the first place.

However, with due diligence, care and attention to detail, exporting can be a highly rewarding and lucrative enterprise. Though every business is different, the issues associated with global logistics can be solved if you plan in advance and keep the customer in mind at all times.

Below, we discuss the most common mistakes that business make when exporting abroad, and how to avoid them.

1. Failure to factor in costs

No one likes surprises, and as unpleasant as unexpected costs can be for you and your business, they will be even less welcome by your customers. It is therefore important to thoroughly research costs in advance of exporting goods. Factoring in the cost of cross-border e-commerce from your country will save you money in the long run, and so it is worth taking the time to test and refine several cost structures.

Shipping costs will vary depending on factors such as how you choose to transport your goods (air or sea), to the weight, size and insurance level. Our shipping portal is a quick and simple way to help compare costs across the UK’s leading couriers so there are no hidden surprises further down the line.

2. Overlooking insurance

A classic mistake is to hope for the best and not pay for your insurance on the goods you are exporting. Accidents do happen, mistakes are made, and items can get lost, stolen or damaged. Inadequate insurance is the same as having no insurance at all.

If you fail to sufficiently protect your goods then it will be your business on the line when your customers turn to other suppliers who can resolve difficult situations more easily.

In order to assess your insurance needs, speak to your courier or freight forwarder directly. It is important to understand the terms of the policies and what they cover, and find out if any special insurance provisions are required for your goods.

For more information about insurance, visit our ultimate guide to business shipping, here.

3. Getting the paperwork wrong

Paperwork can be time consuming and tedious, yet failure to properly fill in your customs paperwork will be a serious blockade to shipping internationally. As an EU member nation, shipments from the UK to the EU did not need full paperwork, however this will soon be changing with Brexit and so it is important to keep up to date with developments as and when they occur.

If you are shipping to a destination outside the EU, you will require, among other elements, a full manifest. Requirements will be different depending on the country you are shipping to, so make sure to check with your courier in advance to discover what forms you need to complete.

4. Using the wrong packaging

If your product is travelling any distance, by container ship or by air, then it is imperative to use packaging that is up to the task. Your packaging must be of the correct robustness to both withstand the exterior impact of the journey - where it may receive knocks and bangs - while also providing sufficient protection for the goods that it carries.

For example, fragile or liquid items will require different internal packaging than general goods, and heavier weights will require thicker boxes and the correct labelling to notify handlers. For a comprehensive packing guide for all different kinds of goods, read our essential packing guide here.

By having a clear understanding of the above four elements that could hinder your progress when exporting abroad, you will ensure a smooth and successful journey for your goods that will, ultimately lead to happy, satisfied customers.

To find out more how World Options can help you with your business export shipping needs, visit our Shipping Services hub here. You can also check out our ultimate guide to business shipping here to find out how you can save valuable time and money on your logistics.

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