Welcome to a special blog post featuring everyone's favorite B-word.
With the possibility of a hard Brexit (or no deal Brexit) happening, it’s a great time to make sure you are aware of the information that needs to be going out on customs declarations and the level of detail that’s necessary.
So that's exactly what this article is going to cover, customs declarations and what you can do to help your customers get their parcels quicker.
What Might Happen if you Don't Fill Out the Declaration Properly
The consequences of not filling out this information properly could be anything from the parcel having to be opened and checked, to it simply being returned back to you.
Either way, not filling declarations out properly will likely result in delays to your orders arriving at their destination which may ultimately lead to customer dissatisfaction.
We thought we'd provide you with as much information as we're aware of to help you combat this and provide the best experience you can to your customers.
The CN22 and What it Should Contain
One of the most commonly used customs declaration forms is the CN22. This is the standard customs declaration label the goes on parcels being delivered internationally by Royal Mail.
As it stands currently, a CN22 must be used if your goods are being transported outside of the EU, up to the value of £270. Pretty soon, if we do end up leaving the EU, this will mean that CN22's will be required on goods being transported inside of the EU as well.
If the orders value is over £270 then a CN23 will be needed. This can be generated through StoreFeeder by going to the edit order page and clicking 'Order Shipping' on the left side. You'll find an option on this page to generate a CN23.
Fortunately, the majority of sections on a CN22 are numbered (1) - (8) which will make it a lot easier to explain which areas I'm referencing. The only part that isn't numbered and is mandatory is the check boxes at the top of the CN22; think of this as declaring your reason for sending, you can tick more than one box if necessary.
(1) Package Content Details - The important thing to note here is that this cannot be vague; writing "Shoes" wont quite cut it. Something more along the lines of "1 Pair of Men's Size 9 Leather Brogues" would be more sufficient. In short, you must state the quantity and item you are sending in as much detail as possible.
(2) Weight - The exact weight of the corresponding item stated to the left; this MUST be declared in kilograms.
(3) Value - The value that the end customer has paid for the corresponding product in the details section. This must be written as the amount paid proceeded by the currency code of the country the parcel is being despatched from e.g. 25.00GBP.
(4) HS Code (Commodity Code) - A set of numbers that categorise the goods in your parcel, meaning that customs are able to apply fees/charges correctly. You can find out the HS code for your goods by visiting https://www.gov.uk/trade-tariff. Having HS codes on your customs declarations will become a necessity soon so it's a good idea to start getting into the habit.
(5) Country of Origin - State the countries that the product's you are sending were manufactured and assembled in.
(6) Weight Total - The sum of the weights stated in the above column, again this has to be stated in kilograms.
(7) Total Value - The sum of the values stated in the above column, again the correct currency code and symbol that you use must be stated here.
(8) Date & Signature - The date entered here needs to be the date the CN22 is signed and then the signature should be of the person sending the parcel.
That's a Lot of Detail to Fill Out!
I know that's what you might be thinking but worry not; StoreFeeder has made this a simple process and will pre-populate CN22 forms for you with data you enter into StoreFeeder, so no need to fill out these forms manually.
We have informed our customers a number of times about electronic customs and the need for these details to be completed on the products. We even have a knowledge base article on this subject:
A little time taken now will mean that your despatch process will remain smooth and quick.
What Information Do I Need to Give StoreFeeder?
You'll need to head to the Shipping & Handling page on your products and you will see a section called ‘Customs Details’.
Here, you will need to enter important product information relative to the CN22:
Other information that already exists on the product and the order, will complete the other sections of the CN22 form, for example:
Although StoreFeeder can do the majority of the work for you, please be aware that you will still need to date and sign every CN22 label!
But I Have Thousands of Products!
Fear not, for all these fields are available to update on products using the Product Import/Export feature on StoreFeeder.
Go to ‘Products > Product Import Export’ and select the correct fields from the drop-down list. We have grouped them together to make this more convenient for you.
Once you have exported and filled in the required fields, simply do the import from the file using the 'Import (Update Existing)' tab in the left-hand column and this will update the information in the 'Shipping & Handling' section of your products.
What About Couriers that Don't Use CN22's?
The CN22 is only relevant for Royal Mail international shipments but other couriers do handle international shipments.
Most of these have electronic customs processes which take this information from the 'Shipping & Handling' section of your products and process this electronically without the need for an additional label.
If you use a different courier, please contact StoreFeeder Support if you need any further information on your specific courier.
That's All Folks!
We hope this has been informative; if you knew everything then you now know it better and if you didn’t then we hope this helps reduce the chances of delays on your shipments.
As always, we'll keep working hard to provide you with the best service we can.
From all of us here at StoreFeeder, happy shipping!
The StoreFeeder Team