I discovered that my online shop ships to Australia! My Shopify website is new this year and I'm still getting to grips with all the ins and outs. What I didn't realise was that I had actually set up to post outside of the UK. So, imagine my surprise, when an order came through and I was to post a painting to Australia!
Cue panic and excitement.
Suffice to say that I severely undercharged for postage but I was up for the challenge and started to investigate prices and couriers. After going on several websites and trying to go through the process to figure out what to do. I got more and more confused with all the different steps and paperwork you needed to get through customs.
I finally used a website called Parcel2Go, which is an intermediary between customer and courier. I decided to use FedEx and the website took me through the steps in a way I could understand. I had a few extra documents to print out and put in an envelope, labelled customs documents.
I also had to make sure I packed my painting really well, using extra thick cardboard (I used cardboard we had purchased some garden furniture in) as well as using big-bubble bubble wrap and palette wrap to make sure that it was really secure.
So everything was set and the carrier was booked and I was relatively pleased with how straightforward the process was. There were two main obstacles I was nervous about; one for the painting to arrive safely and in one piece, and two to make sure that the painting got through customs and didn't get stuck. As I was going through the websites during my research I kept reading so many things about parcels getting rejected, stuck, lost or even destroyed at customs.
FedEx was booked and on day of collection... they didn't turn up, which was a really bad start and did not help my nerves. I logged onto the website and calmly rebooked the collection for the next day. By 3pm that next day FedEx still hadn't picked up and I was starting to get agitated. I logged onto a chat with Parcel2Go, to find out what was going on and, after jumping through several chatbot hoops, I managed to talk to a person. They reassured me it would be collected today, but I’m slightly ashamed to admit I didn’t really believe them. I’m not sure how but I somehow wanted proof that it would happen. I was dreading having to go back to the customer to say that their delivery was delayed. After making my poor support person tell me about three or four times that they would definitely pick up today I ended the chat and kept my eye out the window.
Thankfully I didn’t have to wait much longer, at 3:30pm they picked up the painting. I left it for a few days and then tentatively clicked on the tracking link to see where the painting was. And I can't tell you how happy I was at the result, it was in Australia! It got through customs!
What a relief!
I saw on the tracking that the painting should be delivered the next day. Happily, I checked the tracking the following morning and the painting had been delivered. So successful delivery - big tick, I only hope that there was no damage. Later on that morning. I got an email from the customer saying that they were very happy and it arrived, safe and securely. I punched the air with joy! What a good result, the whole process apart from the delayed collection, which could happen for any collection, was very straightforward, and I would definitely do it again.
It’s great that something that surprised me turned out to be such a success.
A big thank you to my customer who not only let me know about the safe arrival of the painting, but also very kindly put a review on Google for me, which you can see below.
Here's to many more international deliveries!
“Diane offers an efficient and caring service. The painting has sentimental value for our family and she ensured her beautiful work arrived promptly and safely in Australia. Thank you.” - Lydia Curtis