Tips for ecommerce global product distribution

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So you’re planning on distributing your products to a global consumer market via your e-commerce website. This article is written for UK-based businesses distributing products overseas however this article can be used by businesses in other locations using a similar logic.

Weighing your products – It is important that you weigh all of your products which you are planning to sell online to overseas customers. As your customer add products to a shopping basket, you need to know the total weight of the order, the total weight of an order needs to be accurate so the weighing of your products must also be accurate. Distribution costs become much easier to calculate once your e-commerce software application knows the total weight of a given order.

Postal service providers – There are many organisations which can provide a reliable and cost-effective overseas postal service. Many postal providers have a online tracking system which can be integrated into your website so you can provide your customer with a unique tracking code allowing them to visit your postal providers website to keep track of an order. Listed below are just a few of the postal providers who can distribute your products worldwide from the UK:

  • Royal Mail – www.royalmail.com/
  • UPS – www.ups.com/
  • BTBMF – www.btbmf.co.uk/

It is advised that you research which postal service provider can provide you with the most cost-effective product distribution. In some cases you may need to use different postal providers depending on the location of your products distribution.

Tips for ecommerce global product distribution

At present we have listed two main elements above which are weighing your products and a suitable postal service provider. Next we will look at the mechanisms required for your e-commerce store to calculate your customers postal cost accurately in real-time.

List of countries – It is important that you first understand which countries you’re planning on distributing to, this will save you time when having to research cost for distribution to your chosen countries. Once you have a list of countries, I would advise you type them up in Excel or a Word document for future reference, you can then begin to start grouping these countries into zones.

Country zones – You may want to distribute your products to over 100 different countries. It would not make much sense to calculate the delivery cost for every single country you plan to distribute to. Postal service providers typically group countries into zones and then apply delivery costs to those zones. For instance you may have five different zones in Europe and each time may contain up to 5 or 10 countries. By grouping them into zones you can now work out delivery costs on a specific zone which will also work out delivery costs for all countries within the zone. On past and current projects which I have worked on we have typically have no more than 10 to 15 zones and each zone containing up to 10 countries. If you visit one of the above postal service providers they will typically have zones and countries already documented on their website which will save you a lot of time.

Weight banding – Once you have your preferred postal service provider(s) and you have listed all your countries into separate zones you can start to think about how you are going to charge your customer for product distribution based on the total weight of the order placed. In this example we will create a country zone for product distribution, note you may need to repeat this process for other zones in your e-commerce system:

In the first example we will assume you have created a zone called “Euro zone 1″. We will assume that this zone contains the following countries Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg,  and  Netherlands.

The following table gives an example of how weight banding for a country zones can be created which will give you the ability to accurately give your customers a delivery cost for a given order:

Euro zone 1: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and Netherlands.

Zone Name Start Weight End Weight Delivery Cost
Euro zone 1 0grms 500grms £1.95
Euro zone 1 501grms 1000grms £2.95
Euro zone 1 1001grms 2000grms £3.45
Euro zone 1 2001grms 5000grms £5.95
Euro zone 1 5001grms 10000grms £8.95

The above table contains four columns Zone Name, Start Weight, End Weight and Delivery Cost. This table can be repeated for other zones you create the only difference will be the delivery cost that you  state for each weight banding.

By using the above table your e-commerce system can easily calculate the delivery cost for a given order based on the countries within a specified zone. For example if a custom orders 20 different items and the total weight of this order was 1500grms then by using the above table we can see that this would actually be £3.45 delivery cost.

If you are unsure about any of the information provided above simply comment below and we will try to help you as much as possible. Good luck with your e-commerce global product distribution!


Article created by: DCP Web Designers London

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