Electronic commerce may seem much easier and advantageous on paper compared to conventional ways. Merchants, coming from traditional trading channels and having been trading with classical methods for many years, consider this relatively new swap form arising from the requirements of the modern age as a low-cost, risk-free, labor-free and easy-to-use area that does not require labor and investment costs. However, when it comes to entering the world of electronic commerce, they are confronted with facts that they have not foreseen in the first step.
The world of e-commerce, with its unique dynamics, jargon, challenges, advantages, and disadvantages, appears as an immense deep ocean. The next stop for entrepreneurs and investors who have reached a certain point in the national electronic commerce market is cross-border e-commerce, which is international e-commerce. If you want to expand your customer space, reach new target groups, exist in new markets and ultimately become an international brand, a laborious, exhausting but rewarding journey awaits you.
Nationally successful companies with the necessary experience and background know that logistics is one of the most challenging areas of e-commerce. Electronic commerce companies who have experienced problems in national cargo shipments, inter-city deliveries, and undergone financial damages and lost their brand value for the sake of customer satisfaction should think twice before making their steps. Determination of target regions and countries, examination of logistics companies that can provide international carrier service, examination of customs legislation, tax systems and competition conditions of the countries of the target markets, delivery times and the feasibility studies before engaging in e-commerce will help to predict the profit and loss ratio of this new international commercial operation.
Importance of Cross-Border E-Commerce and Logistics
Uncertainty of delivery times and the possibility of prolongation of the promised durations may be the biggest concerns of consumers who shop abroad using e-commerce platforms that offer international shopping opportunities. Fast delivery is an absolute must in the e-commerce market to be able to compete with other players. While even in local shipment problems arise, it is difficult both for consumers and sellers to clearly determine exact delivery times in international shipment.
Cross-border e-commerce cargo processes are carried out on a multi-way system which makes the intervention challenging to the blockages and delays experienced outside of the country from the center. For instance, upon an order coming from abroad and sales made through Amazon, a cross-border e-commerce company prepares the products and delivers it to the cargo firm. Upon the submission of the shipment code and tracking information to the buyer, the seller is deemed to have fulfilled its duties on time. From that moment on, a process that cannot be intervened and which is completely built on trust and mutual understanding between the customer and the seller begins. The factors such as the speed of the product being processed by delivery firm, customs and postal acceptance procedures of the destination country, conveyance of the goods to the relevant destination within the country, the speed of the local delivery systems vary completely according to the countries and institutions.
Moreover, delays may occur due to local holidays, public holidays, strikes and lockouts and extraordinary weather conditions, therefore the process may fold in a chaotic structure. In Western countries, these systems operate relatively healthily with the effect of institutionalization and procedures, while in the third world and developing countries, things are more difficult. Therefore, rather than hard-to-reach targets such as opening up to the whole world at once, it would be beneficial for the companies intending to do cross-border e-commerce and aiming for international trade to prefer as a starting point the markets such as European countries and America where they can easily manage their initial operations, because those countries have institutionalized mail and cargo infrastructures. During the planning, consider the fact that logistics is not only composed of trucks and planes but it is also a social and cultural phenomenon.
The geographical cultural structures of the targeted countries should also be examined in detail and reviewed before being included in the targeted markets. For example; when you start accepting orders from the America (continent), if you do not filter out the islands and end regions far away from the mainland, that even local brands keep out of their service area, you are likely to suffer material damage and unhappy customers due to products delivered too late, delivered at a higher shipping cost or not delivered at all. Similarly, it will be beneficial to know the local calendars of Asian countries, to learn the long-lasting religious, cultural and official holidays and to make appropriate shipment and delivery plans accordingly. Delays are inevitable as local logistics firms, whether official or private, do not work at such times.
How to send cargo abroad?
Today, global logistics companies, which can serve all parts of the world, have facilitated international cargo shipments. These companies, which can carry any type of product that is allowed by the legislation in almost every country with their wide service networks, also provide customs clearance service for an additional fee, thus save the senders from bureaucratic paperwork transactions. But; since international companies such as DHL, TNT, UPS serve large-scale customers, the pricing scales may remain high for SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) that have just begun cross-border e-commerce or for individual entrepreneurs who sell on international platforms. But, all shipments not exceeding 300 kg and 15,000 Euro have been evaluated within the scope of micro exports and VAT refunds are applicable for the products sold abroad.
Fast Delivery is Possible by Offering Realistic Delivery Times
Do not offer unrealistic delivery times, ignoring economic and geographical conditions in order to stay one step ahead of the competition and satisfy your customers. The most basic condition in trade, whether it is carried out via traditional channels or electronically, is trust. You can make your promises more realistic by focusing on processes that you can improve on your side, such as delivery on the same day, fast delivery from the warehouse. You can give your customers the option to choose the delivery with international airfreight, which offers higher cost but faster delivery, along with the relatively long standard delivery option. If you do your part well and spend enough time understanding your products, the local conditions of your target market and what your customers want, cross-border e-commerce and logistics will no longer be your nightmare.