If your business sells perishable food items, you can expand your customer base by selling your items internationally. One detail that you need to consider is how you will transport your items to your international shoppers.
Though some procedures are similar to those associated with shipping perishable items domestically, there are other factors to keep in mind to optimize your customer satisfaction levels and get your product to its international destination in a cost-effective manner. Here are a few tips to follow when mailing perishable items internationally.
1. Check That You Time Your Shipping Days Correctly
When shipping perishable food items, you may want to avoid shipping dates that occur close to the weekend or holidays that will affect mailing times. If your mailing provider does not deliver on these days, your packages will have additional days added to their shipping times. These extra days may not be a concern for some perishables, but for other items, they can mean the difference between spoiling during transit or arriving to your customers unscathed.
If you decide that you don't want to ship on days preceding the weekend or holidays, make sure that you convey this to your customers so that they will know when to expect their items.
2. Opt for the Right Climate-Controlled Packaging
Climate-controlled packaging is a must when mailing perishable food items. The type of packing that you use varies based on the temperature requirements of your food items. If your items need to be refrigerated, but not frozen, you can ship them with ice packs to keep the temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, if you need to keep your items frozen during their journey, you need to swap the ice packs for dry ice. The amount of dry ice that you need to use will depend on how much product you are mailing and the length of time that you need to keep the items frozen.
3. Double Check Your Shipping Charges
When calculating how much to charge your customers for international shipping, make sure that you include all of the expenses associated with shipping perishables internationally. In addition to the shipping fees and cost of keeping the perishables cold, you also need to include the cost of your packaging supplies.
You generally need more supplies to ship perishables, and these supplies tend to be more expensive than other shipping products. Some products commonly used for mailing perishables include Styrofoam boxes, insulated packaging liners, and air-filled insulation liners. You may need to use a combo of products to keep your items protected during the transit process.
4. Outsource the Job to a Professional
There are a slew of rules and regulations that govern international shipping, but these laws increase even more-so when you are shipping perishable food items. Laws frequently change, and sometimes the proper interpretation of existing laws is unclear. Instead of trying to navigate the complexities of shipping your perishables internationally on your own, hire a customs broker who specializes in mailing items to other countries.
You can expect your customs broker to keep track of changing laws regarding the import of items to the countries where you are selling your products. They will also make recommendations regarding packing and shipping services so that you can ship perishables at the lowest possible cost while minimizing the likelihood that your product will spoil or decrease in quality during the shipping process.
Though you don't want to skimp on your mailing procedures, you don't want to spend more than is necessary to safely ship your products. Your customs broker can help you maximize your income by identifying the best mailing practices for your products, including what size box and what packing materials you should use.
Need expert advice for mailing your perishables internationally? Contact us at Dolphin Brokerage International today for assistance with all your shipping and customs needs.