Growing international sales by reducing delivery times

Discussion in 'International Business' started by HeadTurtle, Sep 6, 2019.

  1. HeadTurtle

    HeadTurtle UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    22 2
    Hi guys and girls
    I run a business selling our own designs on mugs, t-shirts and wall art prints amongst other products. Around 50% of our sales are now to customers outside of the UK, and I'm trying to find ways to increase that further, as we actually make higher margins on these sales.

    What I feel would really lead to increased sales would be reducing the delivery time of our items. For example, a delivery to a customer within the US is currently up to two weeks. Over Christmas (our busiest period) delivery can be as long as 4 to 5 weeks with Royal Mail.

    My question is, has anyone had experience in growing a business such as this, and do you have any suggestions on how we can better serve our international customers?

    I've looked into print on demand services but I'm not happy with the reviews of the big players like Printful and to be honest, the quality and pricing doesn't look that great either.

    I considered finding a business partner that could potentially run a subsidiary of the main business but from the US, but have been put off partnerships by some of the more experienced people on the forum.

    The idea to collaborate with a US competitor has also been swimming around in my head, but the risk of them imitating my best selling items is putting me off.

    Finally, I thought about sending over my orders in bulk on a 1-3 day service and having someone in the US unpack the orders and send them separately to my customers, but have had trouble finding anywhere that would offer this service.

    Any constructive criticism, comments or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks guys.

    Gary
     
    Posted: Sep 6, 2019 By: HeadTurtle Member since: Sep 5, 2019
    #1
  2. HeadTurtle

    HeadTurtle UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    22 2
    To clarify, I am looking at ways to reduce the transit time of orders from the UK to US mainly, without increasing our costs too significantly (though I get that costs will increase at least a little).
     
    Posted: Sep 6, 2019 By: HeadTurtle Member since: Sep 5, 2019
    #2
  3. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    16,097 1,797
    Use a fulfilment service. Tons of them around.
    However be aware of your tax obligations in such circumstances.
     
    Posted: Sep 6, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #3
  4. HeadTurtle

    HeadTurtle UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    22 2
    Thanks for the reply. That isn't an option unfortunately, as most of our items are personalised and are made to order. I've looked into sending bulk orders to fulfilment centres (one parcel each day on a 1-3 day service, containing multiple addressed orders), and for them to forward on the packages as soon as they arrive, but the ones I have spoken to aren't interested as it doesn't work with their current set ups.

    I worry sometimes that I'm trying to think too far outside the box, and that I'm missing something obvious, but just can't see it...!
     
    Posted: Sep 6, 2019 By: HeadTurtle Member since: Sep 5, 2019
    #4
  5. KevinRockett

    KevinRockett UKBF Regular Full Member

    121 12
    Hi Gary,

    ALL of my Clients use a specialised UK to US tracked shipping service that has delivery times from UK to the recipient anywhere in USA of 3 to 4 days.

    Please PM me for details as it sounds like it could be just what you need and for sure this would provide the fast UK to USA delivery times you seek.

    Prices from UK to USA for this service, which is based on UPS/USPS start at £2.99 per parcel.

    Kevin
     
    Posted: Sep 6, 2019 By: KevinRockett Member since: Jul 7, 2013
    #5
  6. HeadTurtle

    HeadTurtle UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    22 2
    Hi Kevin
    Thank you for the suggestion. That is exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for but the company is only a couple of years old, and the owner appears to share the same name as you ;) That being said, I shall have a look at the website and pricing a bit further.
     
    Posted: Sep 7, 2019 By: HeadTurtle Member since: Sep 5, 2019
    #6
  7. GraemeL

    GraemeL Pain in the neck? Full Member - Verified Business

    5,069 1,085
    Hello Gary.
    You are guessing I think? Or have you some evidence more than a feeling? You could be trying to do something that leads to nothing.

    If you are successfully selling to the USA at margins you like, don't change your model. Alter your marketing to get to more potential customers.
     
    Posted: Sep 7, 2019 By: GraemeL Member since: Sep 7, 2011
    #7
  8. HeadTurtle

    HeadTurtle UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    22 2
    Thank you for your reply. It's something I've been playing with for a few months now. I've managed to reduce my delivery times twice recently, and both times I've seen an increase in sales.

    We sell gifts, so a huge chunk of our sales is over the Christmas period. If we can push our order cut off time by even two days more, then that would equate to a large chunk of extra sales in itself.

    Of course, I may be wrong in thinking it will make the difference I'm imagining, but at a minimum, it would mean increased value to the end customer.

    With regards to marketing, this is something I need to put more time into anyway. If only there were more hours in the day!
     
    Posted: Sep 7, 2019 By: HeadTurtle Member since: Sep 5, 2019
    #8
  9. JamieM

    JamieM UKBF Ace Free Member

    2,283 344
    It’s a great service. I can highly recommend it.
     
    Posted: Sep 7, 2019 By: JamieM Member since: Mar 22, 2006
    #9
  10. HeadTurtle

    HeadTurtle UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    22 2
    Do you use them personally?

    I'm always a bit dubious about things like this, as there isn't much in the way of reviews or track record I can look into. The reviews, you never know if the positive ones are from genuine clients or the business owner. The negative reviews, you can never be sure they aren't just competitors trying to sully the name of a rival.

    I may give it a trial run though, as there is little harm in that.

    Thank you for the input.
     
    Posted: Sep 7, 2019 By: HeadTurtle Member since: Sep 5, 2019
    #10
  11. JamieM

    JamieM UKBF Ace Free Member

    2,283 344
    I used them for a year or so but use a fulfilment service now and also use Amazon FBA in the US.

    Yeah, give them a try. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
     
    Posted: Sep 7, 2019 By: JamieM Member since: Mar 22, 2006
    #11