This is how you achieve success with your foreign web sales

Beeld: Active Ants, Crossborder Multiwarehouse

More and more web retailers are opting to go cross-border. Webshop owners who also deliver abroad are growing faster and can spread their seasonal products better. A promising move, but also challenging, especially in the field of logistics.

Active Ants specializes in cross-border shipments – within the European Union and far beyond. They help customers including fashion brands Mud Jeans, Tess V and Naked Wolfe with the entire shipping process, from customs to labels. Active Ants invites web retailers to embark on the cross-border adventure. To give them a push, they have created a white paper with quick tips for managing the international market.

Choose boundaries

Why let yourself be limited by national borders when the whole world can be your playing field? That is the question that Active Ants poses to the modern web retailer. The first step towards cross-border is to establish those boundaries. And that is serious thinking with many critical questions: where are your potential buyers? What is their spending pattern? Are there local marketplaces to partner with and how strong is the competition? If there are already many strong parties within your niche, it may be better to sow elsewhere. It is also important to examine a country’s legislation and infrastructure. Test the maturity of the e-commerce industry. Even within and country you see strong differences between sectors.

Before you commit to a market, also study the local laws and regulations of the country. Since Brexit on January 1, 2021, shipping to the UK has not been easy. There is no free movement of goods for Great Britain, and all other countries outside the European Union, so you will have to deal with customs. As a retailer, you shouldn’t let that stop you, but it does require extra preparation. An external party can take care of that. With Active Ants, many of the additional actions such as commercial invoices and transport documents, for example, are automated. That saves time, money and stress.

Multi-department stores and smart returns

European consumers are totally accustomed to online shopping. They therefore expect timely, fast and flexible delivery from you as a web retailer. If you sell a lot internationally, you can opt for one central fulfillment center or for different locations. Multi-warehousing is the term for such a local approach, where you store supplies closer to your international buyers. It works well with a simple assortment with a fast turnaround time. For example, Active Ants has branches in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and England and contracts with local shipping companies. As a result, products are always with the buyer in no time.

Distributed supplies offer a greener scenario than one central point. Normally, each order must be shipped separately. With multi-warehousing you can send many items at the same time on pallets. Only the last kilometers go by piece. The last mile, the last distance a package has to travel to the buyer, is getting shorter and that immediately reduces the logistics costs.

The handling costs and shipping costs to process returns can really drag on the results. There too, bundling packages can help web retailers financially. A quick scan at a local return address also creates a familiar feeling for the consumer and fast, real-time data that allows you to speed up the refund.

Packed green

Preparing packages for international orders does not stop after planning the trip. Packaging the product is becoming increasingly important and consumers have recently had a lot to say about it. They want sustainable shipping with efficient use of packaging materials. Nothing is more annoying for the conscious consumer than a hot air delivery: a small order in a huge box. Active Ants therefore invested in various, efficient packaging machines – tailor-made. That saves filling material and 40% space, so also shipping costs. The sustainable business case is once again proven: with a well-considered working method and the right partner, social and financial go hand in hand.

This report is provided by knowledge partner Active Ants. Curious about the full whitepaper? Download it here.

Over Active Ants

Active Ants was founded in 2010 with the idea of ​​making e-fulfilment more accurate and efficient through strong innovation and automation. Founders Jeroen Dekker and Jean Lahaye are true e-commerce veterans who started their career as director of the very first Dutch webshop. In 2011, they set up Active Ants with a strong vision: to create the ultimate fulfillment service with the help of far-reaching robotisation and smart software. Active Ants has grown into one of the largest fulfillment players in the Netherlands with more than 250 customers and more than 3 million orders per year.

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