As expanding online marketplaces simplifies reaching new global markets, it’s no wonder why offering international shipping is top of mind for many eCommerce businesses. With worldwide eCommerce sales projected to grow 9.4% by 2024, removing the obstacles of borders by opening international shipping options brings new horizons of opportunity. As the second-largest country in the United Kingdom, Scotland is a premier location for businesses to set their sights on. However, navigating the international shipping process is complex, requiring extensive attention to detail regarding country-specific shipping regulations and packaging requirements. At ePost Global, our qualified professionals know the ins and outs of shipping across borders and the proper shipping regulations to safely, compliantly, and quickly get your packages there. In this post, we’ll explore the intricacies and best practices when shipping to Scotland and how to select the best partner to get the job done right.
Why Expand to Scotland?
Occupying one-third of Great Britain, with a population of 5.4 million, Scotland offers many advantages for eCommerce businesses.
Scotland is extremely close to London Heathrow making it an ideal port of entry for goods from Europe, the United States, and beyond.
International Consumer Needs
While gas dominates Scotland’s imported goods with five times the value in the first nine months of 2022 compared to 2019, other commodities, such as road vehicles, clothing, household goods, and other consumer products, are desirable imports.
Despite the economic downturn of COVID-19 and the highest inflation rates in decades, Scotland’s economy remains strong as one of the best performing in the UK. So much so that the Scottish government is actively working toward building a new economic plan that fosters independence away from its UK counterparts. The British government controls Scotland’s macroeconomic policy; however, the Scottish Parliament has power over local economic development.
This plan will empower Scotland’s current economic strengths and capitalize on the progress by prioritizing using natural resources to fuel renewable energy at a lower cost and create more jobs in the process—the result is to be as successful as the other comparable European countries.
Increased Target Market
While China, the U.S., and Germany remain competitive markets, Scotland’s unique place in the eCommerce world and desire for digital connectivity resembles its official national animal as a unicorn of unique locations for eCommerce businesses to set their sights on. And tapping into the Scottish market opens new doors for eCommerce businesses to appeal to both Scottish residents and U.K. consumers, providing access to a substantial market.
Shipping to Scotland: Best Practices
Once you’re convinced of your next international destination, ensuring your packages’ safe and timely delivery is crucial for your brand’s continual success and growth. Below, we’ve outlined six best practices when shipping to Scotland to avoid costly delays and shipping problems when dealing with UK customs.
1. Research and Preparation
When targeting any new international location, it’s essential to understand the corresponding shipping regulations and customs requirements before sending your product. Since Scotland is a part of the UK, many customs regulations will apply to Scotland shipments. The inevitable difference will be added surcharges for shipping, which will vary based on packaging, exact destination, and delivery speed. Knowledge of packaging requirements, shipping rates, and customs duties can help you prevent delays, seizures, or unforeseen costs. Further, understanding the market demand for your product can help you decipher how to adjust pricing accordingly to meet consumer demands and the speed at which your goods are desired.
2. Understanding Your Shipping Needs and Options
When sending items internationally, it’s essential to consider the timeframe you’re working with. In some cases, international deliveries of American goods from the USA to the UK can take up to 30 days. However, the exact time of delivery will vary based on the cargo volume, the nature of the goods, and the location from which you are shipping to and from.
Typically, shipping providers will provide an international standard and express shipping option. For example, standard shipping is slower and often used for smaller, non-urgent shipments, whereas express is favored for urgent, high-value goods. Air freight is the best option for global express deliveries, as air travel can take as short as 1-3 business days, but drop-off times will vary depending on the location.
Scotland’s transport entryways include air, road, rail, and seaports. Scotland has an extensive road network linking to the rest of the UK and mainland Europe, with significant freight airports in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Glasgow Prestwick. Seven fully operational water ports in Scotland connect to other Island communities, Europe, and Ireland.
Traditional shipping companies like USPS, FedEx, and DHL offer international shipping services with worldwide saver and first-class shipping options; however, working with a full-service shipping company can help you with everything from the logistical and legal aspects of shipping to Scotland to tailoring a custom strategy to get your goods there on time and at a reduced cost that works with your budget.
3. Addressing Customs and Duties
Custom clearance is critical when shipping to Scotland or any country. Customs regulations in Scotland are established by His Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC). HMRC is the U.K. government responsible for collecting taxes, customs duties, and authorities on goods imported into the U.K. Customs clearance is a thorough process that involves parcel inspections to ensure the safety and compliance of the product being shipped and that all import duties and tariffs have been paid and appropriately calculated. While customs requirements vary from country to country, you can expect to pay a customs duty (when applicable) and a 20% value-added tax (VAT) on the declared value of goods if they are sent to England, Wales, or Scotland from outside the UK. 20% VAT is standard on many goods imported or exported into the UK; however, some items are zero-rated.
Goods shipped to Scotland must also be declared properly using a customs declaration, an official document that lists and gives details of goods that are being imported or exported. Once you’ve obtained proper customs clearance, your goods are released by customs and can be delivered to the recipient by Royal Mail (the UK postal service) or another courier service. Northern Ireland may require additional regulations and customs that differ from its neighboring countries.
Packaging is one of the most essential steps in the entire shipping process. You’ve spent hours researching to ensure your product can travel internationally, completed the necessary documentation, and paid the applicable customs fees and taxes. But you’ve overlooked your packaging requirements. Suddenly, your countless hours, days, and weeks of work vanish before your very eyes as your shipment arrives damaged and contaminated due to poor packaging. While the cheapest way to package and ship items may seem cost-efficient initially, the result could be unsatisfactory. The journey from Scotland to other neighboring UK countries is vast. Now, consider the U.S. There are miles of transit time, meaning packaging your product with the highest care is paramount to obtain quality and safe traveling across borders.
5. Calculate Shipping Costs
Shipping costs can vary significantly depending on many factors, including the shipping method chosen, the weight and dimensions of the boxes, and the destination country. It’s essential to carefully calculate shipping costs and factor them into your pricing strategy. Underestimating Scotland’s shipping aspects, like customs clearance, proper labeling, and postcodes, could result in hidden charges. Working with a trusted shipping provider can help you break down your packaging and customs fees and offer comprehensive shipping quotes to help you explore all your options.
6. Tracking and Customer Communication
Tracking is a valuable service most shipping carriers offer to help consumers mark the progress of their shipments. Offering tracking information to customers provides transparency for consumers to view their package at every touchpoint, even if their parcel is thousands of miles away. And if you haven’t already, incorporate customer expectations regarding delivery times into your initial market research. Defining shipping goals from the start can help you determine the shipping speed options you plan to offer based on consumer expectations regarding international deliveries.
Once you’ve tailored your plan to include relevant shipping speed options and tracking information, deploy highly-trained customer service representatives to help resolve any tracking errors or shipping issues. A recent survey found that 69% of consumers are less likely to become returning customers to a business if the item they purchased was not delivered within two days of the date promised. Proper tracking capabilities and a team of qualified customer support specialists can help mitigate shipping issues, resolve problems before they happen, and provide positive customer interactions.
ePost Global: Your International Shipping Partner
Cross-border commerce revolutionizes business strategies and is a trusted way to reach new potential; it’s essential to stay competitive. But, international shipping comes with many challenges that may be difficult to face alone. A knowledgeable and esteemed shipping partner reduces stress when navigating country-specific regulations and shipping qualifications by doing the leg work for you.
At ePost Global, we work to provide countless benefits for eCommerce businesses to expand, evolve, and expedite their shipping processes with ease. We achieve this level of service through:
Streamlined International Shipping Solutions
We offer domestic and international mail with the largest number of last mile carriers, plus parcel logistics solutions ensuring door-to-door delivery to your customers worldwide. Whether your eCommerce business is seeking priority or express shipping options, our menu of services is guaranteed to fit your budget and delivery needs.
Expertise in Navigating Customs and Regulations
At ePost Global, we have deep industry experience in the customs clearance process and know how to help you find success whether you’re shipping to Scotland, Amsterdam, , London, Paris , or beyond. Our global expertise guides your business through customs, so you can remain compliant when shipping without the hassle of understanding regulatory frameworks.
Reliable Tracking and Customer Support
Our enhanced tracking and visibility solutions are second to none. We’ve invested in innovative technology to track parcels at a speed and efficiency that is unmatched in the industry.
Providing customers with a positive and satisfactory shipping experience is paramount to success in a new country. We prioritize customer service as part of our process to ensure assistance and guidance at every step of the process.
When you partner with us, you get customized world-class delivery services, personalized customer service, and improved transport times.
Partner with ePost Global
Breaking down geographical barriers presents lucrative business growth opportunities by reaching international consumers worldwide. With a boosting economy and a large population of consumers eager to invest in global products, shipping to Scotland can be a profitable endeavor. However, mastering the complex shipping process to Scotland compliantly and successfully may be challenging. Following our above best shipping practices can help you get started on the right path when shipping to Scotland and achieve positive and rewarding results for your business.
Get in touch with ePost Global today to start shipping to Scotland with confidence.