One question that we get more than any other is, “Do you offer international shipping?” Unfortunately, we only ship to the Unites States at this time.
While, we’d love to expand internationally in the future, we want to make sure we cover all of our bases and get everything just right before crossing that bridge. With that said, we wanted to share some of the obstacles we (and many companies that offer international shipping) must overcome before Athos gear can be available to the rest of the world.
One obstacle that often gets overlooked when considering international shipping is that a company’s app, packaging materials, website content, and support, must be offered in each language where the products will be shipped to. This can be difficult to provide for smaller companies who handle operations all in-house, as we do here at Athos. While Athos boasts a diverse team that speaks several different languages, it’s quite a challenge to write content in languages we aren’t fluent in. We learned this first-hand when expanding to Canada earlier this year. Due to market regulations, we were required to not only write a User Manual in French, but we also had to rethink everything from our garment packaging to our clothing labels to ensure all aspects of our product were compliant. While we're glad we made it work for Canada by selling through SportCheck, it was a lesson in what it takes to pull off sales abroad, and that was with the luxury of having French speakers on team Athos!
We could expand only to markets that we are fluent in, but that would be pretty limiting and we want everyone to be able to enjoy Athos gear despite our language barrier. Similarly, it’s tricky to provide quality in-house support for our users when our team doesn’t speak every language. We’ve been able to translate short messages from international friends, but as you can imagine, that isn’t very scalable and requires us to take a lot longer than a few hours to reply to emails (our goal is to reply within 12 hours!). When we start shipping abroad, we want to ensure that all of our users can have the same quality experience as our users stateside no matter their language.
When a company prepares to ship their products overseas, there are a number of regulations and laws that must be followed to ensure that the products follow local rules. Each country has their own regulations regarding how items, such as electronics and batteries, can be distributed. Each of which requires different permits in order to comply with these laws. Even registering as a business can vary from border to border and requires a different set of permits. This approval process can takes months to complete and requires a designated international operations team to ensure all parts of our product are compliant. Right now our team is still pretty small (~50 people) so we’d definitely need to grow our team first to accommodate these additional responsibilities.
As a small crew, one of the most difficult challenges with international shipping is the actual product distribution. Often times, the most cost-effective way to ship products overseas is to set up a distributor in the country where the products will be shipped to. This allows the customer to avoid costly international shipping charges and ensures that shipping times are a matter of days versus weeks, or even months. The flipside of working with a product distributor is the amount of onsite manpower required to keep things moving smoothly and to ensure each item meets quality control’s high standards. This is another area of the business that would require us to grow our staff significantly in order to make sure all of our international customers receive their products on time and can return/exchange their gear without issue.
So How Much Longer Until You Ship to my Country?
Right now, international shipping is still on hold while we work to make an amazing app/garment experience for our users. In the meantime, sign up for our newsletter to be notified when we can ship to your part of the world and feel free to write in and let us know where Athos is wanted the most!