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Wellness Without Borders: How to Sell and Ship Supplements Internationally

Sep. 27 2023

The global dietary supplements market is projected to reach over $230 billion by 2027.

There’s a good reason for this. Given their small size and light weight, supplements and wellness products are highly-suited for international shipping. And while market regulations may vary by country, it's worth noting that in many regions these rules aren't nearly as complex as, for instance, those for prescription drugs. 

That’s a lot of opportunity for wellness brands to spread their influence, make an impact, and boost their bottom line. But to make the most of these prospects, brands must execute just as successfully with their international shipping as they do when shipping domestically.

The Role of International Shipping in Supplement Brand Growth

Here are some key elements to consider when determining how to navigate international expansion for your supplements brand:

Consider Your Value Propositions From a Fresh Angle

While customers are often ready to invest in wellness products, brands should take a fresh look at how they position the value of their offerings to different cultures. 

Much of what works domestically may translate, but consider also how your overall international value proposition extends beyond your products—including when it comes to transparent and competitive pricing. 

Particularly with it comes to shipping fees and import duties, put yourself in the shoes of your prospective customers, and then make any necessary added efforts for assuring them that their personal investment into your products will be worthwhile.
 

Deeper Customer Connections, Across the World

Swift responses tailored to individual concerns, empathetic handling of problems, and personalized interactions all create an experience that makes your global customers feel truly valued. This moves your international shipping beyond transaction, and into a transformational process for deepening the connection between you and your customers.

In a market flooded with choices, this relationship-centric approach can foster deeper loyalty, turning your customers into advocates and setting your brand apart in the crowded supplement industry.
 

Standout International Shipping as a Growth Strategy

Efficient, reliable shipping – in addition to representing a logistical consideration – can also be a strategic growth lever. 

By ensuring timely deliveries and proactive communication about delivery status, brands can build a strong customer base, boost customer satisfaction, and ultimately drive global growth.

As with domestic growth, each successful delivery to new markets outside your base country is an opportunity for a repeat purchase and could become a stepping stone towards broader market recognition. While it may take some added up-front effort to mimic domestic success in this way (although not as much as you may think, with the right partner(s) on your side), efficient and informed global expansion will pay for itself and then some over time.

And with those aforementioned small form factors and lighter weight items on your side, supplement brands can also leverage opportunities in international shipping to cost-effectively explore new markets without overcommitting resources, widening your customer base and potential for increased order volume.

In essence, well-optimized international shipping can turn a logistical task into a competitive edge, helping you to establish your brand globally in the supplement industry. The question then arises, though, as to how to arrive at or cultivate this optimized state when shipping your supplements globally.

Key Factors to Consider When Navigating International Supplement Shipping 

At Passport, we’ve identified several common factors to assure a smooth and profitable expansion into international markets. These same factors would also help you get started with an internal audit, if you’re already shipping internationally but aren’t seeing the results you need.

  1. Transparent Pricing: Unexpected costs can turn an online checkout from a joy to a jolt. Clearly outlining all taxes, duties, and shipping fees in the final cost can keep surprises at bay, potentially reducing cart abandonment rates for cross-border shipments. For these reasons, consider Delivered Duties Paid (DDP) pricing for your supplement brand. Or communicate costs clearly if Delivered Duties Unpaid (DDU) needs to be the method for you.
  2. Reliable Delivery: The journey towards better wellness, for your customers, extends beyond the simple act of purchasing. Reliable and predictable delivery becomes an essential part of your customer’s wellness routine, encouraging satisfaction and recurring business. Delivering packages within their original estimated delivery window is crucial to satisfying your eager international customers.
  3. Effective Customer Support: Communication, again, is key here. Whether it's proactively sharing order status updates or promptly addressing concerns, these interactions can significantly uplift your customer's experience and form positive brand associations. Again, there may be a few added steps compared to your domestic customer support process, but these can be integrated and/or automated into your current domestic practices, with some work and maybe some help.
  4. Fair Returns: As a category, supplements can yield varying results for different individuals. Having an easy, fair returns policy can encourage customers to try your products with less hesitation, knowing they have a safety net. Should this prove difficult for your brand, consider a combination of other policies for dissatisfied customers that balance your short and long term business interests.
  5. Clearing Customs: The world of supplements can sometimes require contending with country-specific regulations, which might initially seem daunting. Guiding customers through this process, or ensuring it’s properly handled by your shipping partner(s), simplifies their journey and positions your brand as a reliable, customer-focused entity.
  6. Unforgettable Packaging: In the supplement market, where repeat purchases are commonplace, every unboxing is an opportunity to reinforce a positive relationship with your brand. Thoughtful, personalized packaging can leave a lasting impression and amplify this experience. This doesn’t have to require an outsized amount of work or expense. It can be as simple as creating convenient packaging that adequately protects your product, perhaps also minimizes environmental waste, and which the customer finds easy to handle when unwrapping.

Your particular mileage may vary for your own brand and products, when it comes to these factors. But taking a fresh look at how your offerings and plans measure up will likely go a long way to optimizing yourself for international shipping success.

Partner with an International Shipping Expert for Enhanced Customer Success

Although nothing we’ve covered today should prove too complicated to your international expansion, busy supplement brands may still encounter enough complexity in execution that it might make sense to outsource your global shipping to a proven partner.

Partnering with an expert in international shipping can provide numerous benefits, such as:

  • Navigating International Regulations: Understanding and complying with global customs rules and product regulations can be a complex task. An expert partner can handle this for you.
  • Enhancing Operational Efficiency: Outsourcing international shipping can free up resources, enabling your team to focus on core business functions and growth.
  • Offering End-to-End Transparency: Expert shipping partners can provide full transparency in pricing, tracking, and delivery – enhancing the customer experience.
  • Mitigating Risk: With their experience and networks, shipping partners can better manage and mitigate the risks associated with international shipping, including lost or damaged packages.

This sort of partnership doesn’t signify a lack of control or influence on your part, when it comes to global expansion efforts. Rather, it can represent a strategic decision to optimize resources and capitalize on the expertise of others to provide a seamless global shopping experience for your customers. 

As evidence, check out how Passport helped hair wellness brand Vegamour increase cart conversion rates by 38.7% (among other gains).

Reach out to our team anytime you’re ready to add or optimize international shipping for your own supplement brand.

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− Passport Shipping team