When a customer makes a purchase online, the amount displayed as the initial price tends to increase by the time the customer makes the final payment. That is because shipping fees and possible import taxes are added onto the price as necessary. How much is added depends on the tax codes of that particular area, where the package is headed, what the business must do to process the order and a number of other factors. But when e-tail customers order an item for international shipment, those fees can get out of hand.

As a result, e-commerce businesses are left with two questions: How can we keep our international fees to a minimum? And how can our customers see what they will need to pay upfront and not be surprised by additional fees at delivery? Fortunately, the solution is easy through the right logistics platform.

Fees involved with shipping internationally
While there will always be certain taxes and fees involved in international shipping, it is still important for e-tailers to partner with a logistics provider that has experience and skill in cross-border commerce. Otherwise, these companies’ shipments can be held up at borders, charged extra for failing to comply with restrictions, or even be sent back due to unforeseen trade agreements that prohibit certain items. What’s worse, these added costs will show up on the customer’s bill unexpectedly, causing friction between the buyer and seller. The right logistics partner will possess a few attributes that will make it ideal for handling international commerce:

  • It will prioritize your shipments. When an item arrives at the border, it will get through customs quickly by being first in line for processing.
  • It will know the target market. If new legislation, regulations or retail requirements emerge, the logistics team will be on top of those changes and comply accordingly.
  • It will have top-notch customer service. If the e-tailer or its customers have concerns, it will be able to address them in any language necessary.

In this way, international fees do not have to be unknown quantities for the e-tailers. The next step is for these businesses to ensure their customers are not put off by unexpected fees.

Do away with the hidden fees
So much of international shipping is about transparency – making sure every step of the process is visible for both e-tailers and their customers. The same applies to the consumer’s purchasing experience.

Consider this scenario: A customer in the U.S. accesses the website of an e-tailer in Germany. First, the customer has trouble identifying the correct price amount because items are listed in euros, not U.S. dollars. Once the customer finds what he is looking for, he sends the item to the cart and continues to checkout, but cannot find his preferred local payment method. Moreover, when he manages to place the order and ultimately receives the shipment, he finds he owes additional taxes that were not originally listed. How likely is that customer to return to that e-tailer after such a frustrating experience? Probably not very.

That’s where a powerful logistics software platform can help. By leveraging the right technology, e-tailers get upfront international shipping calculations, up-to-date currency conversions and accurate translations.

Each individual customer who logs into the site sees a page adapted to the location, language, payment method and other local attributes, based on the user’s geo-IP address. Everything is clear, each price is correct and the shopping experience is enjoyable. On top of all that, the e-tailer still owns its site – it does not have to relinquish control of its checkout. Instead, the software just organizes everything and displays exactly what the customer needs to see.

In the end, taxes, fees and regulations are a way of life for international commerce – those are unlikely to go away completely. But customers understand that. The issue arises when shoppers are caught off guard with additional costs well after the initial payment and order placement, or when e-tailers are hit with more fees for incorrectly handling global e-commerce. Landmark Global is the ideal partner for e-tailers seeking transparency and efficiency in a cross-border platform.


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