Why do so many US sites not ship goods overseas?

by UMS
35 replies
I live in New Zealand and quite often can't find various products locally, so I start searching further afield.

One thing I've noticed is that so many US sites don't ship products outside the US? Why is that?

Interesting, it opens up some unique opportunities.

I came across this site (please note that I am in no way affiliated with this site)

Buy USA :: virtual address in the USA for New Zealand customers

What they do is create a unique US mailing address that the goods are sent to and then they repackage and ship to New Zealand.

Quite a clever service, but it gets back to the original question as to why it should be needed in the first instance.
#goods #overseas #ship #sites
  • Profile picture of the author Greggg
    Originally Posted by UMS View Post

    I live in New Zealand and quite often can't find various products locally, so I start searching further afield.

    One thing I've noticed is that so many US sites don't ship products outside the US? Why is that?

    Interesting, it opens up some unique opportunities.

    I came across this site (please note that I am in no way affiliated with this site)

    Buy USA :: virtual address in the USA for New Zealand customers

    What they do is create a unique US mailing address that the goods are send to and then they repackage and ship to New Zealand.

    Quite a clever service, but it gets back to the original question as to why it should be needed in the first instance.
    One guess, especially for heavier items, is prohibitive shipping costs would add too much to the total price to ship items as far as New Zealand.

    That's a smart business idea to cater to people who want the product enough to pay the shipping.


    Gregg
    Signature

    Formerly Grroeb (member for a LONG time - since 2002 - for some reason have never been able to recover my password)

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4149161].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author johnapo
    I believe it's because they try to decrease the fraud because they don't want / or don't know how to deal with related issues outside US.

    Also the mail forwarding services can be banned from some merchants too so they're not 100% bulletproof solutions always
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4149188].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Ken Durham
    Besides shipping costs, some products, especially some digital products, even games, cannot be sold overseas because the US will not permit it. Then, there is the entire deal with customs, and smuggling, taxes (on both ends), etc...

    If your package gets held by customs, you nor the buyer may never see it again. On big ticket items this can add up. So it just isn't worth it.
    Signature

    yes, I am....

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4149194].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author dragoncpa
    Maybe many companies produce their product in other countries. Because the low cost of producing,the totally of cost in there (producing cost add cost of shipping goods to NewZealand ) is less in US. Sorry for my bad English
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4149204].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Ross Vegas
      ooh oooh, i know!

      cost prohibitive

      inadequate volume

      risk of fraud

      potentially limited legal protection

      special forms and declarations

      embargo's

      quotas

      ignorance

      ...to name a few

      about the most exotic places I ship are puerto rico, costa rica, VI, or bahamas... but USPS has deals that are cheaper than the other shippers for those locations.

      For me in general anything over seas cost more to ship than the merchandise, unless it's a big multi-item order. I could jack up shipping, but then I have to redo the whole system to make sure no country is left out, or else you easily get stuck with a fat shipping bill from somewhere you didn't increase the price to ship to (been there done that). Not to mention the few folks that are even willing to buy at that price might be so few that you spend more in man hours setting up.

      Basically you need to have a really in demand product, so that the volume allows for shipping discounts and enough profit to justify the lower margins and or higher rate to ship.

      Or else, target a specific country and employ marketing there to get the volume needed.

      That company you mention benefits by crossing markets to get the sufficient volume.
      Signature

      Got a product idea? Join our Six Figure Launch Team - Launch Your Product with Us - FREE!!

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4149276].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author webapex
    FRAUD is the big concern, I don't believe New Zealand is a problem, but there are some countries on do not ship lists, and stores with policies to stick with the U.S. just to play it safe.

    You will also find them reluctant to ship to an address that does not match the cardholder address for a credit card.

    I imagine payment processing can be a pain with some countries.
    Signature

    “An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field” Niels Bohr

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4149244].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Giftys
    It's a royal pain in the arse! We've almost dropped intl. shipping several times. Lots of paperwork, regulations, hassle and expense with returns, high risk with some monetary exchanges, etc.
    Signature

    WWJD

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4149250].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author johnapo
    One addition side of the story is that big stores that do have international presence like amazon.com try to split their customers to the relevant site near their country (amazon.co.uk or .de for example)
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4149258].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      I spent a few years working inbound telemarketing for a big catalog company. When I worked the night shift, I spoke to a lot of Aussies and Kiwis.

      As others have mentioned, fraud is a big concern.

      Another is taxes, import fees, customs fees, tariffs and other assorted fees. Add in currency conversion...

      I once took an order from New Zealand for a $240 pair of hunting boots. After all the assorted fees and taxes added in, the credit card charge came to almost $500 US. I don't recall the conversion at the time, but I remember it wasn't pretty...

      Many smaller companies just don't want to deal with it all.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4149296].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author UMS
    Thanks for all your thoughts.

    I can kind of appreciate the tax issues, but for fraud, is it really any more risk than sending an item within the US?

    Also, regarding tax and customs, that is generally up to the buyer to sort out.

    I've bought quite a lot of stuff from sierratradingpost in the past. They are great as they'll ship to anywhere in the world (virtually), so I don't see why other larger companies don't do they same (excluding items like CD's and games that have regulations on where they can be shipped to)
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4149323].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Ross Vegas
      Originally Posted by UMS View Post

      I can kind of appreciate the tax issues, but for fraud, is it really any more risk than sending an item within the US?
      yes...

      It's quite a bit easier to get your home country authorities involved than that of another country's.

      Which is why there are more instances of foreign individuals using fake CC's and whatnot.

      Harder to find and prosecute.
      Signature

      Got a product idea? Join our Six Figure Launch Team - Launch Your Product with Us - FREE!!

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4149347].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author GlobalTrader
      Originally Posted by UMS View Post

      Thanks for all your thoughts.

      I can kind of appreciate the tax issues, but for fraud, is it really any more risk than sending an item within the US?

      Also, regarding tax and customs, that is generally up to the buyer to sort out.

      I've bought quite a lot of stuff from sierratradingpost in the past. They are great as they'll ship to anywhere in the world (virtually), so I don't see why other larger companies don't do they same (excluding items like CD's and games that have regulations on where they can be shipped to)
      Take it froms someone who at the height of their online business experienced over 1 million in fraudulent orders in about 8 years, fraud comes primarily from an international audience.

      In regards to it not being any more risk, I beg to differ.

      Visa/Mastercard basically tell you to call the international bank issuing the ccard to verify the address provided with an order. I cannot tell you how many international calls, how long those calls were and how many were a total waste of time because even when you provide them with your merchant account number they ultimately come back and tell you Oh sorry sir, due to privacy reasons we are unable to verify that information for you.

      Unbelievably English speaking countries were the worst - Australia and the UK almost 100% of the verifications were rejected, yet, I could get banks in India, Pakistan and even China to provide verification?

      Let's talk about customs. After 9/11 the US Postal system implemented quite a lenghly form to fill out whereas before it was a short form sticker that got attached to the package. Oh, and don't believe for a second that the customer will be willing to 'sort it out' unless you tell them ahead of time about how much it is going to be in their country (yet another pain in the a** to find out) the "customer" will often get pissed when they have to pay the extra money.

      Oh, it gets better. You might be able to provide a "rough" estimate of shipping times but once the package reaches the customs of the receiving country it could be up to 2 weeks or more in some cases before their customs bureau gets around to releasing it. Yes, NZ customs might be faster but our good neighbors to the North (Canada) have one of the WORST and SLOWEST customs depts. around, sometimes having a package up to 2 weeks.
      Hell, China's customs was usually 1 to 3 days?

      So add all this together and you have a bunch of pissed off customers not getting their order as fast as they want to (and this is on top of the fraud) and they end up filing chargebacks because they dont receive something when they think it shoud arrive. No one else saddles the blame but you, the vendor.

      Sorry if this is a bit long but when I read your post I had to give you my over decade worth of experience and rant (not against you but the overall reasons for why most USA businesses choose not to do business internationally).
      Signature

      GlobalTrader

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4149575].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Robert Mangan
    Peter,

    I live in Australia but operate a US business that ship sonly to the US. There are many reasons why I don;t ship outsid ethe US and they've been listed above.

    Couple of more things though:

    1. When you accept credit cards payments from overseas the merchant account providers see this as being more risky. Therefore, they charge higher transaction rates to retailers and will often keep a 'rolling reserve' of up to 10% of the transaction for up to 6 months. This can place enormous cash flow problems on a small business.

    2. I receive many enquiries from Canada and would like to ship there but many of my suppliers won't allow me to ship to Canada as they have dealership agreements with Canadian companies and I would kind of be intruding on their patch.
    Signature

    Want Solo Ads with Maximum Price of JUST 0.38 Cents/Click?
    Want Solo Ads with Minimum Optin Rate of 30%?
    Want to Learn How to Build a List FAST and Make $3000/Month Selling Solo Ads?
    $27 Lifetime Membership == > TheSoloAcademy.com - That's What My Members Are Getting!

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4149377].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author mydream247
      I owned mail order company few years ago, I sold products worldwide but there were many times customs would hold products weeks at a time, and in some cases customers never received, which cost me more money to reship, and paypal complaints will drive you out of business.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4149459].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
    It's more expensive, which can mean it's a pain to program in for products (assuming the shopping cart software even allows it) and a pain to advertise.

    This is what happens (from 1st hand experience):

    I have a nice product I offer free shipping or flat rate shipping on.

    But I lose money by shipping overseas, or even to Alaska / Hawaii. And if I did ship to those locations, but bumped my price, then I have to deal with FTC hassles about making sure there is a good and noticeable disclosure - which of course is ugly and decreases sales for the 99% of the customers from the US mainland.

    .
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4149573].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author tonyalves
    I sell auto parts from my online auto parts store and even though I would like to sell worldwide, I only sell to the USA and Canada.

    The main reason for this is potential credit card fraud. You can minimize fraud by only accepting orders to ship to the CC billing address, but even this does not guarantee that all orders are legitimate.

    Of course shipping to the USA and Canada doesn't mean that there is no risk of fraud either, but occurrence of fraud when shipping to these countries is much less.

    By the way, I live in Canada and my drop-shipper is in the USA.
    Signature
    Struggling? Can't make anything work? Help is Here!..
    Get this low cost course and start building a business that will earn you a living on autopilot.
    Click here to get it now: Just Updated
    Get It While The Bonuses Are Still Available
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4149642].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author hardraysnight
    If USA cant or don't want to serve you, find places that do. There are more than 200 to choose from.

    I live in China and regularly ship to Australia and New Zealand. I have a forwarding agent who receives and checks the goods and repacks. I have contacts and we share containers.

    Initially shipping costs appear very high, but can be significantly reduced. I have never experienced any form of corruption, or fraud, anywhere.

    We have a customs agent at the other end and have experienced little delay, but we are careful what we ship.

    We have found this to be the most cost effective to ship.

    So look for other suppliers who want to serve you.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4149676].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author rondo
    There's a number of those BuyUSA type services now, but I've found that many large US stores have started shipping to Australia. Buying online from the US is now a national hobby here as everything is almost half-price for us.


    Andrew
    Signature
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4149777].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author UMS
      Originally Posted by rondo View Post

      There's a number of those BuyUSA type services now, but I've found that many large US stores have started shipping to Australia. Buying online from the US is now a national hobby here as everything is almost half-price for us.
      Andrew
      There are two main reasons I buy stuff from the US.

      1. Products are much cheaper even taking into account the additional shipping costs and exchange rate (which isn't so much of an issue now that the US dollar is quite weak)

      2. Some 2nd hand goods are virtually impossible to find locally. I've been recently trying to track down an item which is no longer manufactured and the only place I can find it is on eBay in UK and US.


      BTW, thanks to everyone who has contributed so far. It has given me a much better understanding of the situation in the US.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4149847].message }}
  • I tested shipping one of my courses to Europe it was like $75 for the cheapest.
    Signature
    soon people... Relax...
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4149882].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Aubaine
      I've always had terrible luck shipping overseas, you also can't go after a person overseas in court. So you end up taking some risk but it can make you mad money.
      Signature

      Anthony R. Smith
      Marketing | Socialaire Group
      www.socialairegroup.com

      An antonym for ambitious is 'easy'.

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4149998].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Targeted Traffic
    The issues small businesses face when shipping internationally across borders are largely the same issues they face when shipping domestically, only on a magnified scale.


    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4151413].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Giftys
    Originally Posted by Ken_Caudill View Post

    Even shipping to Canada can be a major pain...
    Especially when their postal system is on strike and refusing to deliver the mail, like just recently.
    Signature

    WWJD

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[4155153].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Lenetek
    Recently I was ordered to build a website for a company Global Orders USA that is planning to do just that, they want to fill the orders in the US online stores and ship them elsewhere, mostly to Russia and the former USSR countries. The business owner explained to me that there are a lot of rich people in Russia who would care less about the cost of shipping as long as they have access to the variety of the goods sold in the US. I did a search of possible competitors and found dozens (literary) companies that claim they do the same. If this is a viable business, I don't understand why the stores themselves don't do that shipping. The argument about fraud is mute: they receive payment first and then ship, so it is not their problem. The argument about prohibitive cost of shipping is also artificial from my viewpoint: just post that high cost and if people are willing to pay so be it; why does an online store refuse its vast market? Customs? - Maybe. But why not just warn their potential buyers of possible pitfalls on their side of the border? In any case, I would like to dig to the bottom of this problem and that is why I am inviting to renew this discussion until case is closed. Anybody?
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6723339].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author therichb
    There are many export policies concerned when we talk about bulky products.

    But there are providers like DHL, Canada Post, Fedex, USPS & UPS which are a big leader in logistics & product delivery facilities.

    We can go with anyone until our requirements gets fulfilled.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6723368].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Lenetek
      But we are not talking about bulky products. In most cases, it's clothes, cosmetics, or small electronic appliances. My main question is why don't online stores like Amazon ship to countries like Russia or Israel?
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6738647].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author easternodyssey
    Depends on what you want, but, probably because nothing is made on the US no more. It probably does not make for a cost effective policy importing something to the US and then exporting it again.
    Signature
    Eastern Odyssey | The Definitive Guide to Asia
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6738707].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author lifetime
      I have been selling on ebay for many years and have always shipped worldwide.

      However, it has been my experience that many, many sellers refuse to ship overseas.

      Many sellers on ebay make a point of stating in their listings - USA Only!

      My opinion is that they are just ignorant and/or lazy and don't want to do the extra work involved, such as figuring out what to charge for shipping, filling out customs forms, etc.

      They are losing lots of business, but that's ok with me because I always get lots of buyers in other countries.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6738841].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Tevis Verrett
    Let me add my .03 to FRAUD, and massive chargebacks, and also communication. We still do ship internationally via our ecommerce websites:

    Scuba Wetsuits |Snorkeling Gear |Scuba Diving Equipment - K2 SCUBA
    Beach Equipment | Paddle Gear | Pool Supplies - K2 Beach
    Snorkeling Gear | Rash Guards | Snorkel Sets - K2 SNORKEL

    . . . and keep updating our fraud protocols daily.

    The small guy is not sophisticated enough to have a risk management team look at transactions and do analysis.

    Shipping is not a problem as we have FedEx International and USPS International, it goes back to the verification systems in place to prevent chargebacks.

    Most of the stuff we sell comes over from China in container-loads. . .

    So lemme say, how do we know the customer is valid versus stolen and counterfeit credit cards?

    Be well all,

    Tevis
    Signature

    Tevis Verrett, Boss of Triumvirate Capital Group
    Always Looking for New Affiliate & JV Partners:
    Ever wanted to make money selling money? We teach Financial Literacy. . . for the rest of us!

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6738880].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Tevis Verrett
    Originally Posted by UMS View Post

    I live in New Zealand and quite often can't find various products locally, so I start searching further afield.

    One thing I've noticed is that so many US sites don't ship products outside the US? Why is that?

    Interesting, it opens up some unique opportunities.

    I came across this site (please note that I am in no way affiliated with this site)

    Buy USA :: virtual address in the USA for New Zealand customers

    What they do is create a unique US mailing address that the goods are sent to and then they repackage and ship to New Zealand.

    Quite a clever service, but it gets back to the original question as to why it should be needed in the first instance.
    Oops, I also forgot, we use Bongo for this very thing.

    See: Scuba Diving Equipment | K2 Scuba - International

    Hope this helps, y'all!

    Tevis
    Signature

    Tevis Verrett, Boss of Triumvirate Capital Group
    Always Looking for New Affiliate & JV Partners:
    Ever wanted to make money selling money? We teach Financial Literacy. . . for the rest of us!

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6738946].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
      Did you know that a good many US companies will not ship to Hawaii or Alaska?

      The reason is that they are set up only to use UPS and UPS shipping charges to Hawaii and Alaska are often prohibitive. If you use Priority Mail, USPS can cost exactly the same to ship to Hawaii and Alaska as to the 48 mainland states. However, they refuse to make any exceptions to their shipping procedures and a customer who lives in Hawaii or Alaska is just out of luck.

      Marcia Yudkin
      (Part-time Hawaii resident)
      Signature
      Check out Marcia Yudkin's No-Hype Marketing Academy for courses on copywriting, publicity, infomarketing, marketing plans, naming, and branding - not to mention the popular "Marketing for Introverts" course.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6739181].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author wordwizard
        Originally Posted by UMS View Post

        Thanks for all your thoughts.

        I can kind of appreciate the tax issues, but for fraud, is it really any more risk than sending an item within the US?

        Also, regarding tax and customs, that is generally up to the buyer to sort out.

        I've bought quite a lot of stuff from sierratradingpost in the past. They are great as they'll ship to anywhere in the world (virtually), so I don't see why other larger companies don't do they same (excluding items like CD's and games that have regulations on where they can be shipped to)

        As far as physical goods, I mostly sell the occasional book, on Amazon. I used to send them internationally, but during the last year or two, I've decided to only send them out with delivery confirmation, as proof that I shipped it.

        I had a problem with a package I sent to Brazil or Venezuela (forgot which one) that took many weeks to arrive, and resulted in a bad review and lots of headaches even though I did ship it on time.

        So after that I only even considered shipping things internationally that I could ship cheaply by airmail (very lightweight books). Plus...

        There is the issue of getting any proof of sending and delivery internationally is only possible with Fedex type shipments, which is WAY too expensive.

        In addition, I've had a bunch of chargebacks from overseas countries for ebooks, and I'm now trying to figure out how to avoid sending my stuff to certain countries...

        New Zealand and Australia are not among those, but still... I'd be willing to ship if someone contacted me and asked me if I would ship etc. I might do it.

        Oh yes, then there's the customs issue too...

        Elisabeth
        Signature

        FREE Report: 5 Ways To Grow Your Affiliate Income

        Let Me Help You Sell: Sales Letters, Email Series, Pre-Sell Reports... PM me & we'll talk!
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6739266].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author brentb
    I don't advertise in Hawaii, Alaska or Puerto Rico to avoid getting customers from those areas since its too much of a pain to cater to ones that are currently customers.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6739231].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    Probably because of the costs. I'm sure if a company could get 100% of its customer base from the USA, all while minimizing costs without shipping overseas... they would do it.

    Also... how do you track packages that are sent overseas?
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6739288].message }}

Trending Topics