To successfully run an international drop ship business, you will need a solution for automation. EDI, or electronic data interchange, enables documents around order procurement to be sent/received automatically, and is often a mandate of large businesses. However, as currencies and languages are different abroad, so are EDI standards. EDIFACT is the international EDI standard which was developed under the United Nations. By adopting the EDIFACT standard, you can easily drop ship internationally with automated communication.
The EDIFACT standard provides a set of syntax rules to structure data, an interactive exchange protocol (I-EDI), and standard messages that allow multi-country and multi-industry exchange. Adopting the EDIFACT standard enables you to successfully work with many large international retailers. If you are just entering into the international business realm, it is important to distinguish EDIFACT from X12.
In 1979, the American National Standards institute commissioned the Accredited Standards Committee to develop uniform standards for EDI—X12. X12 is used in the United States, but a majority of the rest of the world uses the EDIFACT transaction sets.
A third party EDI provider can adhere to both the EDIFACT and X12 standards, allowing you to easily do business abroad and domestically. Outsourcing your EDI allows you to rely on a team of experts to handle mapping, testing, and ongoing support—freeing up your team and allowing you to focus on growing and improving other parts of your business.
Incorporating and EDI solution into your drop ship process also works to eliminate common drop ship risks. One particularly common risk associated with drop shipping is backordering. With EDI, inventory updates can occur in real time, ensuring product inventory is always up to date. Beyond inventory updates, purchase order acknowledgements, shipping notifications, and invoices will also be sent via EDI, speeding up the order lifecycle and leading to happier customers.