International shipping is back for everyone, here’s what happened…

As I’m sure you are aware, especially if you are based in the EU, earlier this year we had to turn off ordering for EU customers. The reason being that Brexit was causing a number of charges to be added to the package at the point of crossing the border. The charges felt expensive but were also often a surprise to you guys and there was no way of us giving you a cost to expect. So we battened down the hatches to come up with a solution.

In doing so we decided to take a look at the whole system for international customers, not just those in the EU.

Before we worked on the solution, it was important for us to remind ourselves what we wanted to achieve. Just easing the Brexit border issues isn’t the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is that the end result (pricing, logistics, customer experience etc) is fair and comparable no matter where you are in the World. We’re considering the whole end to end chain not just ordering. For example can we make returning a jersey from Australia as easy and cost effective as returning it from the UK? Essentially, can we set the business up so that your experience is comparable to shopping with a local business no matter where you are?

This boils down to the following key objectives:

  • The ability to order from anywhere
  • A free or heavily subsidised shipping option for everyone
  • Checkout in localized currency
  • Checkout with local payment providers not just credit card options
  • Easy returns
  • Cheap or ideally free returns for everyone
  • Guaranteed low rates on import fees
  • No surprises at the borders
  • No unnecessary custom clearance delays

We believe we have resolved or at least substantially enhanced most of these things now.

I’m an international customer, I use to pay X and now I pay Y, why is that?

If you are an existing international customer you will notice some changes in the prices as you browse the website. Pre Brexit we would take VAT out of the equation where appropriate, send you the package and customs would charge you or not charge you depending on how the wind was blowing that day.

Now, in most cases, the import fees, duties, local taxes etc are now fully incorporated into the product prices. If not then you will see this explained at the checkout with an option to pay these fees before you checkout (to avoid custom charges). What’s happening here is that we have negotiated the lowest possible custom clearance fees with the shipping handlers and bundled it into the product pricing. This means that as you browse and view the prices – the price you see is the final price. There will be no custom charges, guaranteed. Or delays due to custom clearances.

Further to this…. we have leveraged shipping hubs in most territories meaning that we can heavily subsidise what it costs you to return a package. As an example it would often cost a US based customer more than $40 to return a package. We have now got this down to $5 and its a simple label to print off and attach to the package. Also the $5 comes out of the refund fee so there’s no additional spend. We are working our way towards free returns for everyone. I can’t think of many companies that offer free returns worldwide so we’d very much like to be on that list as soon as possible.

You will notice the prices are in your local currency and also our international logistics partner has relationships with hundreds of payment providers so you should see a payment solution that you are familiar with at the checkout.

If you are based in the EU then there’s no escaping the fact that Brexit has added fees and complications to you ordering from the UK. We have removed all of the complications and reduced the fees as far as possible.

We have also stuck with our free shipping for everyone policy. Make no mistake, we’re not Amazon, so this policy costs us a lot of money but the end result is we are closer to achieving parity and fairness for everyone. The Herd is spread far and wide so we will attempt, at every juncture, to ensure you get a similar experience no matter where you are based.

Many thanks for all your support over the last few months. Rest assured we are always developing the system. The job is never done, there are always improvements we can make and with enough time we will get through them one by one.

Stay safe, happy cycling.

Tim.


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