Here’s an interesting statistic about international selling. eBay has well over 150 million active buyers all over the planet. And well over 50% of the net revenue of eBay comes from its international sales, rather than from its home country of the U.S.
As an eBay seller, you are losing a huge piece of your market place, if you do not open up your product lines to an international audience. Currently eBay has 23 international sites and is accessible in over 100 countries worldwide. Why would you not want to dip into that overseas business?
To do this, though, you need to learn a few tips and options. The following should help you get this accomplished.
1. eBay Has Rules for International Selling
The first step is to always have a plan in place. If you want to succeed in the long term as a high-volume eBay seller, the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants method isn’t going to cut it anymore.
That’s the reason you’ve been getting all those out of stock alerts in the first place. Follow these steps to start creating a great plan:Before you can sell internationally, here is what eBay requires:
- Obviously, you must have an eBay account in good standing
- You must have a PayPal account and be PayPal verified
- You must offer PayPal as one of your payment options (you can offer bank cards and other options too, of course)
- You must have earned at least 10 feedback points as an eBay seller
- You must have made your first sale more than 90 days ago
- Post only in eligible categories. You may not sell DVD’s and movies, auto parts, vehicles, or video games internationally
If you meet all of these criteria, then you can get a universal user ID and begin your journey to international selling.
2. It’s All About Shipping and Customer Service
Your first step in expanding overseas is being able to ship your products. You have a few options here:
- You can use eBay’s shipping process. This is the easiest option but may not serve all of your needs. In short, you add the places to where you will ship to your eBay listings and you use eBay shipping. Their Global Shipping Program removes a lot of hassle for you. You ship to an eBay shipping center, and eBay handles all of the customs issues and ships to the buyer. Of course, you will pay for this. But the big plus is your responsibility is reduced. And a tracking system is built in. The downside is that right now, this option is only open to U.S. and UK sellers.
- You can choose to sell and ship to a customer using any number of other shipping tools that are available. In this case, you will need to be aware of the trade regulations and tariffs both in your country and in the destination country, but you can save money and expedite shipping (eBay’s global shipping program is a bit slow), which can make customers happier. This is a more complex process for you, but if you take it country by country, region by region, you can do this. Just be certain that you have the right tools for determining costs and for tracking your shipments and communicating with customers.
3. Options for Your Listings
Most international sellers use their “home” listing and simply indicate the regions or countries to which they will ship. This is easy, of course, and there are buyers in countries all over the globe that access U.S. and UK eBay listings in search of products.
Your other option is to place your listings on any of the 23 international sites that eBay currently has. In this case, you will need to think about translation and localization of your product listings and descriptions, as well as all of the little housekeeping issues, such as currencies. You would do well to find a professional translation service to help with this project, but you can find one on Pick Writers, a translation agency review service that can point you in the right direction. eBay offers an upgrade that allows placement on its international sites, and you can get all of the information here.
4. eBay’s International Selling Agreement
When you make your first international sale, eBay will require that you sign the International Selling Agreement. This document includes such things as details about payments, refund or exchange policies, and other guarantees for your customers. You need to study all of the details of this agreement here.
5. Considering Insurance
Once you have ensured that the item you will be shipping is allowed (you have to check each country’s regulations carefully, and you can actually check this on the USPS website), you need to think about insuring your shipments.
If you use eBay’s Global Shipping Program, items will be shipped “priority” with insurance. If you ship on your own, however, you will need to find a third-party insurer, and there are plenty. Costs average out at about $1 per every $50 of declared value.
6. Automate Much of What You Do
You certainly want to streamline as much of your eBay selling, and that includes your overseas activities.
Listing your international shipping options on your product offers, coming up with the best shipping solutions, and even deciding to list on any of eBay’s international sites will all expand your reach to a global audience. But that audience needs customer care, just as your local one does.
You need feedback; you need to communicate with “thank-you’s” and some cross-selling marketing; you may need automated shipping updates notifications. All of these things take time and effort, and you need tools and automation to make all of these activities as stress-free as possible.
October 2019 UPDATE: If you use 3Dsellers Thank You Emails, you can create an automatic translation of your emails according to the geolocation of your customers. You can learn more about our new features here.
7. Calling All Amazon Sellers
If you are currently selling on Amazon, expanding your reach to a global audience through eBay is a natural for you. Given the marketing and management tools that are now available, this is so easily accomplished. And these tips will help make it happen.
Marketing products and international selling is definitely encouraged for eBay and Amazon sellers because unless you move into global audiences, you are leaving a lot of potential revenue on the table for your competitors to grab.