Offering products to customers around the globe can certainly up the sales–but at what cost? It’s no secret that shipping costs can be huge, especially to places like Asia and Europe. Paying too much for shipping, even when the customer is doing it, can hurt the bottom line. Fortunately, there are 4 pretty simple ways to lower the shipping costs for international customers.

1. Parcel Forwarding

Customers that live outside the US can sign up for an affordable parcel forwarding plan. Basically, they get a US address that automatically forwards their parcels overseas. Sites like www.parcelbound.com offer great rates. Customers can save up to 75% off shipping fees and rest assured that their packages are well cared for and properly packed.

2. Consolidate

Depending on the carrier, both weight and size might be a factor in determining costs. Whenever possible, consolidate shipped items and lower the weight by removing unnecessary packaging or items like batteries that can be purchased anywhere. Shipping one large package is exponentially more affordable than several small ones. Encourage customers to shop in bulk, do it all at once and aim to pack things as tightly and lightly as possible.

3. Aim for Large Volumes

The big retailers like Wal-Mart can offer free shipping because they’ve negotiated a large-volume deal with carriers. Usually, a company is required to ship 300 packages a day to qualify for a steep discount. This can be a goal that any company sets, but negotiations can start before the 300-mark. Carriers want business, and they might accept a company that just barely misses the 300-mark but has great promise.

4. Shop for Discounts

Businesses that aren’t anywhere near the 300-package mark can still get deals. For example, FedEx offers a 15 percent discount on shipping just for signing up for an account. Most carriers are open to negotiations even if it’s not advertised. Choosing to ship with one carrier, parcel forwarding service or consolidator can lead to a discount, so don’t be shy about asking.

Shipping internationally can certainly seem like a headache, but the two best tools are negotiation (just ask for a discount) and shopping around. There’s no one best solution that will fit all businesses–if there were, there wouldn’t be multiple carriers. Do the research, talk to someone in person or on the phone and wheedle down the quoted prices until it’s something reasonable and manageable.