Preparing for Ramadan: Tips for International Business Shipping
Make the most of the month-long holiday with low-cost international shipping, consolidated packaging, and one-cart checkout.
Beginning at sunset on April 11, 2021, Muslims around the world will begin the month-long observance of Ramadan, a holiday focused on gratitude, community, family, and prayer. A Pew Research Center report projected that currently there are more than 1.8 billion practicing Muslims in the world. Without a doubt, Ramadan is a major event, touching nearly every corner of world.
Small business owners and resellers want to be sure that they are accommodating this global customer base, especially during important events. While observers may be abstaining in some areas, studies show the month of fasting does not curb shopping habits.
Knowing how to anticipate the customer’s shopping needs during this festive and sacred month, and to plan accordingly to deliver what they want on time is the key to building loyal customer base and maximizing profit margins.
Understanding Ramadan for Your Customers
For most, Ramadan is time for travel and community gathering. The regular pace of business and life slows; workdays and hours of operation are usually lessened; and staffing is low because many people travel to be with families for the sacred month. What this means for small business owners and resellers is to not expect typical business operations during this relaxed month. Instead, be ready to adjust your plans to accommodate the season. Other things to consider during the Ramadan season include:
- Recognizing the Consumer Experience: Another shift to consider is that because most people are with their families and away from their desktop or home computers, mobile shopping sees an uptick during Ramadan. As much as 82% of Ramadan shoppers say they make more purchases via their mobile phone. Making sure your products and inventory are accessible and easy to navigate could mean the difference between a sale or not. A good customer experience will likely translate to repeat business, especially if your competitors aren’t as agile.
- Anticipating the Customers’ Needs: Like any big event, shoppers will be making purchases to help them observe Ramadan, and those purchases will change as the holiday progresses. Clothes and groceries are the most popular items purchased during Ramadan, while gifts, confections, and travel are in high demand as the month winds down and Eid approaches.
- Strike the Right Tone: People celebrating Ramadan are focusing their energy on family, gratitude, community, and prayer. Aligning your business plans to complement—not combat—this shift will help you better serve your customers and strike the right chord with shoppers.
Business owners should consider how their products can pivot to accommodate and celebrate the Ramadan season. By knowing what your customers need for Ramadan, you can create more personalized connections during an important time of year for your Muslim customers.
Tips for International Shipping for Ramadan
As the saying goes, “luck favors the prepared.” Having a thought-out plan for how to best maximize your profit margins while delivering to international customers is a pragmatic way to approach the Ramadan holiday. Shipping ahead and consolidated packaging are smart ways to maintain control of your profits and maintain inventory, but it’s also prudent for business owners and sellers to build in room for unexpected delays. Some other things to consider for shipping before or during Ramadan include:
- Time your shipments. Shipping before Ramadan will provide the most advantage, rather than during or after, when the activity is heightened and underway. While you can anticipate some delays, you won’t be able to predict all possible scenarios and having enough time to meet your delivery window will give you the peace of mind if something goes awry.
- Don’t forget about compliance. To avoid incurring preventable fees and delays, be sure to check the restricted or prohibited items list to the country you are shipping. A reputable shipping company will help members ship restricted items safely and legally to several regions with varying restriction clauses. Make sure that the company you chose will send notifications if an item is prohibited from entry, saving you unnecessary shipping charges and undelivered goods.
- Assess costs accurately. A good practice is to estimate the shipping costs before you purchase an item by directly asking the merchant for the weight and dimensions of the package, then utilize a shipping rate calculator to accurately assess the cost.
- Efficiency saves time and money. Where possible, consider repacking services and consolidated packaging to also help streamline your Ramadan shipments. Too much space in a shipment, from boxes too large or inadequate packing material, can mean extra money in weight and items are more likely to be damaged. By repacking and consolidating packaging with efficiency from one central warehouse, your products will arrive safely, securely, and ready for resale.
- Know your deadline options. Rush processing can incur expected costs in the shipping fees and time it takes to make a change. Be careful to check all deadlines and change fees associated with your shipment, as well as the best way to monitor your shipment. For example, MyUS allows you to expedite your shipping method directly from your smartphone with an “Urgent” option, available for a small fee.
- Do not overlook region-specific restrictions. Each region and country determines and abides by their own customs, restrictions, permits, taxes, duties, and export laws, which can be impossible to master without reliable, experienced help. To avoid costly delays and access issues, make sure you use a trusted, experienced shipping company to provide white-glove service and guidance through every shipping port and destination.
International Shipping During a Pandemic
Every corner of the world is feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including international shipping. Fortunately, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) both agree that it is safe to handle and receive packages. Most countries have considered shipping and logistics operations as essential services and allow businesses to continue to ship their goods.
While some areas may have closed or restricted borders, travel bans do not generally apply to cargo and commercial shipping. You might expect some delays since regional lockdowns and shortage of staff in businesses and carrier services can impact shipping operations. As we experienced with the recent global pandemic, shipping delays could happen overnight. MyUS is always prepared to swiftly and securely navigate government restrictions and find the best solution for your shipments to ensure your complete satisfaction.
For business owners and resellers, going about business-as-usual before or during Ramadan would be like overlooking Christmas, or ignoring the High Holy Days of Judaism. Not only is it out of touch with the large and growing customer base, but it also would be a substantial missed opportunity to engage new and old customers and build authentic consumer experiences.
To be sure your business is ready for Ramadan, contact MyUS.com today to review all your international shipping and consolidated packaging options.