In part 1 of this series, we covered how cross-border shipping is a flexible and low initial investment way of fulfilling ASEAN’s upcoming demand for e-commerce goods.
But deciding to go cross-border for the first time could be a bit daunting. Luckily there are plenty of cross-border logistics providers who can help you out. This article will cover what are some of the factors you should look out for when selecting the right partner to help take your business overseas.
Navigating the Logistics of Southeast Asia
Tapping into Southeast Asia’s e-commerce market through a cross-border model may be lucrative, but also challenging.
Customs paperwork tends to be long and complicated, especially in Southeast Asia where each country has different customs laws. Last mile delivery is challenging in places with underdeveloped infrastructure. Also, some regions prefer not to use online payment methods, which may scare away potential customers who are not comfortable with paying by credit card or online banking.
Many challenges can be overcome with a little bit of help and planning. Southeast Asia’s e-commerce potential has drawn newer logistics partners to the table who aim to solve these issues. When seeking out a logistics partner, look out for those who can help with the following
1. Navigating Southeast Asian Customs Regulations
While ASEAN countries are part of the same trading bloc, each have their own customs regulations. When shipping to multiple ASEAN countries, staying up-to-date on all their changes to customs regulations could be difficult and time-consuming.
There are logistics companies which specialize in or offer help in navigating these regulations. Some of them also have automated processes to ensure that your paperwork is up-to-date and complete. This helps your shipments move smoothly through customs, ensuring on-time delivery and satisfaction.
2. Real-time Tracking
Manually tracking the shipment through calls and emails and ensuring that each partner fulfills the delivery would distract from building your business and brand. Real-time tracking of the delivery progress of a parcel can help keep your customers less anxious about their delivery and reduce the chances of them contacting you to check on delivery statuses.
Finding a logistics partner with this capability can save you a lot of time and also provides customers with much needed assurance and transparency.
3. Easy to Use Software
Managing multiple logistics partners at once to save on shipping costs could be a time-consuming and complicated exercise. This is in addition to an online dashboard that simplifies delivery order submission in a hassle-free way, taking out much of the complexity in managing your logistics.
4. Facilitates Preferred Local Payment Methods
Not all customers in ASEAN countries have access to modern payment methods such as online banking or credit cards. iPrice’s 2017 report states that cash on delivery or bank transfers are popular payment methods offered by e-commerce players in Philippines and Vietnam. Having a logistics partner that can facilitate payment options that local consumers are comfortable with could lead to more sales.
This doesn’t discount the fact that modern e-payment methods are emerging. Many countries or even social media are now building e-payment and cryptocurrencies, keeping the checkout process short which reduces the chance of cart abandonment. However, it still makes sense to offer cash-on-delivery in the short run for markets with a where sizeable groups of people prefer paying for their deliveries in cash.
This distribution model can be helped by finding the right shipping partners who can save you a lot of time and effort. Having payment option flexibility and real-time tracking also helps give customers transparency and peace of mind. Reliable deliveries can build trust which is paramount in e-commerce.
Today’s growing e-commerce landscape offers exciting opportunities to get involved in cross-border shipping. The rewards of entering cross-border e-commerce at this time is well worth the effort of growing your brand and looking for the right partners to grow with you.
This article was originally posted on Janio Asia ’s blog.