All ambitious retailers know that no matter how large your domestic market may be, it’s just a drop in the ocean. There’s a whole world of consumers out there. A whole world of shoppers searching for the right products for them. It’s a big market, but it can be tough to break into. It means competing with the world’s biggest brands. It also means competing with all the small independents, around the world, whose business you’ll be taking overseas. You need to be able to stand out from the crowd and grab the attention of international consumers.

Fortunately, as an independent, you have a bit of an advantage in this regard. You’re already unique. Already distinct from the big chains. Independents have a lot of potential to turn heads and grab the attention of international consumers. And the more unique your shop is, the more potential you have just waiting to be unleashed on the world.

The Power of Individuality

People are constantly creating, viewing and sharing content online. There are huge websites, like Tumblr and Pinterest, that act as a sort of gallery for this content and receive millions of views each day. Users cast judgement on the content they’re viewing. They ‘like’, or ‘share’, or ‘up-vote’ content that they like and ignore, or even ‘down-vote’ content they dislike. This means that only the most interesting and unique content rises to the top of the pile. If there’s something that really sets your shop out from the crowd you could reach thousands of people all over the world. No matter what their marketing budget may be, big chain stores can’t buy that sort of reach. Only genuine uniqueness can.

This is a huge advantage for independent retailers. You’re one of a kind. You aren’t just another chain store. It gives your business personality, something that big companies try to cultivate over many years of marketing and PR, on budgets most independents could only dream of. It’s so important because getting discovered, internationally, is about standing out from the crowd. You need something that makes you special. Something that will make people share your products to their friends and family. This is how you’ll spread the word, get discovered and start making sales internationally.

international shipping costs aren't the biggest barrier to independents any more, Photo by Axel Ahoi on Unsplash

But What About the Shipping?

Of course, once you’ve been discovered and people have started buying, you need to be able to get your products to them. This means international shipping. This is where a lot of independents stop before they’ve even gotten started. A lot of retailers assume that international shipping and sales are reserved for the big chains. While this may have been true in the past, modern international shipping is much more independent-friendly.

There are plenty of shipping companies that are happy to handle small packages. Check out Inter Parcel, who give quotes on different delivery companies and the cost of shipping with them. A 3kg, 40cm by 40cm by 20cm parcel costs £10 to France, £20 to Estonia, £25 to the US and £45 to Japan. For one of a kind, unique products, these prices won’t be a barrier to your customers.

The shipping times are also far better than you might have expected. The shortest is 4 days to France, the longest is 10 days to Japan. This means your customers won’t have to wait too long to receive their wonderfully enticing orders. Which is one of the biggest obstacles to international purchases. No one wants to wait months for their order, but a few days? That won’t be a problem.

Why not give it a try?

By delivering all over the world you can tap into a much larger market of consumers. But on top of this, you’re reaching market that might not have seen a shop like yours again. With the costs covered from the other side, there’s no reason not to give it a go. And who knows? Maybe your products will really take off overseas. You could find that folks in South Korea, or Chile, or Indonesia are huge fans of whatever you sell.


If you’d like to know more about international shipping, or you have any questions, please let us know!