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How to cut the costs of exporting

Want to grow your business in the global marketplace but concerned about the cost? Discover five ways you can be more cost-effective when exporting.


Confidence is high for European small businesses already shipping abroad. Sales to international customers account for 65% of the total revenue for exporters1. And with 9 in 10 predicting their revenue will remain stable or even increase in the next 12 months2, it looks positive for businesses wanting to grow overseas.

But for the exporting novice, the perception of the costs involved with entering unfamiliar territories may seem to outweigh the potential earnings. Here, we reveal how your business can make the most of the opportunities in new markets, while cutting the costs that could restrict them.

Select countries/territories wisely

Research which countries/territories you’re getting enquiries from

Which countries/territories are you getting enquiries from? Interest from international customers may be why you’re considering taking your business to new markets. This is a good starting point to gauge where a product launch is most likely to be successful, and where money won’t be lost due to ineffective marketing or promotion.

As well as your own business’ experience with overseas demand, investigate where competitors and other similar businesses in your industry are shipping to. It will help you to discover established and growing markets for your product. In China, for example, electronic equipment is the top import, making up over a quarter of total Chinese imports3.

Secure an international distributor

An international distributor will help you reach your new customers

Effective relationships are crucial to making your mark in a new market. And although e-commerce offers businesses a platform to reach consumers across the globe, an international distributor can represent you in a foreign market.

Your international distributor can overcome language barriers, make sure you meet country/territory standards, find appropriate, cost-effective warehousing, help you build brand awareness and get your product onto the shelves of local stores and in front of new customers.

Find a logistics partner

FedEx Express offers a range of shipping services to suit your needs

Another central relationship you need when exporting is with a logistics partner. 72% of exporting small businesses acknowledge the importance of logistics providers in helping them grow4. To be successful selling in a foreign market you need your product to arrive safely, on time and shipped at the right price. FedEx Express offers a range of priority, time-definite and economy shipping services to reach customers across Europe and worldwide, to suit your budget and requirements.

With their experience, knowledge and resources, logistics partners can help you beyond simply shipping your goods. When you’ve established your business and orders start to increase, you may find it’s more effective to consolidate your shipments to a country/territory to save money. Your logistics provider will also be able to advise on how best to move forward as your business grows.

The FedEx Global Trade Manager has tools to help you trade internationally, from estimating duties and taxes to preparing documentation for shipping overseas.

Keep customers happy

Customer loyalty is key to continued success in your new market

Customer loyalty when you start exporting is a key element to your continued success in a new country/territory. A happy customer means repeat business, product recommendations and fewer returns – reducing the costs involved with reverse logistics.

Pack right

The right packaging will reduce product damage

Reduce product damage during transit to your customer by using appropriate packaging and packing your product securely. If you are an account holder with FedEx Express, you can order free packaging. You should also make sure all packages are labelled correctly to get it to its destination without disruption.

Decide on express services

Choose delivery times based on your customer needs

Although express deliveries are becoming more frequent from businesses, decide whether this is necessary for you. There are multiple options available, so you can choose delivery times based on the needs of your customers. Whether you opt for express or an economy option, you can keep your customers up to date with the progress of their purchase with our tracking tools. By offering tracking to your customers, you can save money and time on answering delivery enquiries.

Watch your ongoing costs

Watch your finances closely to ensure exporting is working for you

Once you’ve started shipping to new markets, keep an eye on your finances to spot and diagnose any increase in outgoings in your supply chain. By catching these quickly, you can reduce overspending and make the most of your new international ventures.


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