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We have our fingers on the pulse of global retail


4 October 2016

India is one of the hottest markets for UK retailers looking to export, with the ecommerce market growing at a rate of 68% Y-o-Y. However, importing products and adhering to India’s strict cross-border trade requirements is not easy! Various barriers to entry, such as poor infrastructure, regulatory constraints, strict local sourcing requirements, complicated logistics and high import tariffs are all factors that often put retailers off pursuing this lucrative market.

Below, we have outlined five top tips to help you navigate India’s tricky custom and logistics regulations, so you can capitalise on the growing Indian ecommerce opportunity.


Tip #1. Plan ahead when sending your products to India

Shipping – Do your research on different couriers or shipping companies, and find out how much it would cost to send your products to various parts of India. Make a list of all states across India that you would like to sell to, and carefully calculate shipping fees to each state, considering the size and weight of your products.

Storage – Depending on your inventory, you might need to rent warehouse or some storage space for your products. Research different options and plan your storage costs ahead of time. Some online marketplaces like Amazon, for example, will let you use their warehouses at a small fee.


Tip #2. Keep in mind prohibited and restricted items

Don’t forget to carefully go over all items and products that are prohibited from entering India, such as baby gender prediction kits, wild meat products, endangered plants and animals, natural abrasive products, and jewellery containing precious metals and stones.

Some products can only be shipped by specific importers, while other items are restricted by the Indian government, so licensing or permission is necessary to import them into India; this includes birds eggs, live plants and animals, bovine meat, potatoes, garlic and others.


Tip #3. Adhere to all packaging and labelling requirements

Make sure you strictly follow all packaging and labelling rules in India. The local government has very specific requirements and all imported pre-packaged commodities must carry the following declarations on their label:

  • name and address of the registered importer
  • generic or common name of the commodity packed for import
  • net quantity in terms of standard unit of weights and measurement
  • month and year of packaging in which the item is manufactured, packed or imported
  • maximum retail sales price at which the goods, in packaged form, may be sold to the end consumer

Declarations can be printed in English and/or Hindi, and all imported goods and transport documents must show standard units of measurement and weight.


Tip #4. Don’t forget ‘Customs’

TIn general, the value of imports is based on the transaction value, which is used to assign an applicable customs duty for every parcel. Custom duties for any imported product can be calculated online through the Custom Duty Calculator. All imported products must also comply with the above packaging and labelling requirements, in order to be cleared by Customs in India.

It is also important to keep in mind that parcels sent to India should be very well packed, since packages may receive heavy handling, spend a lot of time at ‘Customs’ or be left in the open air for longer than anticipated, which may lead to goods being partially or fully damaged.


Tip #5. Take your time to identify and choose the most suitable shipping partner

Depending on your product types and business needs, you can select from a wide range of international or local shipping and logistics companies that have made their delivery services available in India.

From economy and express shipping to sea-freight and air-freight services; door-to-door delivery to freight forwarding; packaging and storage to warehousing and returns management – these are all services you can choose from by selecting the most suitable shipping partner.


Global shipping companies like DPD, UPS, DHL, Parcelforce, Parcel Monkey, Transglobal Express and Royal Mail, as well local and India-stationed players, specialising in end-to-end or last mile logistics, are all viable shipping partners you should consider when selling into India.


Bonus Tip

If you are keen to sell into India, and are looking for support to help you accelerate your online success, Pentagon has successfully established processes that comply with the local restrictions, allowing us to service our clients on Indian marketplaces. To find out more, get in touch with the team today!

The Indian Ecommerce Landscape


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