How to sell internationally on eBay
As the world’s leading online marketplace, eBay offers a seamless way for businesses to expand their global presence with ease and efficiency. With over 114 million users spanning across 150 countries, eBay provides unparalleled access to a vast international audience that no other marketplace can match. Moreover, selling internationally on eBay isn’t just beneficial for business, but also a fun experience. Many community members have expressed excitement in connecting with fellow eBay sellers from around the world, learning about different cultures, and offering unique products that are not readily available in foreign markets. Drawing from the experiences and success stories of eBay members who sell internationally, we have developed this guide of simple steps to effectively reach and sell to an international audience on eBay.
PREPARING TO SELL INTERNATIONALLY
The key to becoming a successful seller starts with carefully selecting the products you want to sell and identifying the regions where you plan to target your sales. To make informed decisions on what products are best suited for international selling, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of eBay’s policies regarding product eligibility for international shipping. Whether you’re aiming to reach international customers or determining which regions to ship your products to, gaining a thorough understanding of the eBay Global Marketplace is crucial. At eBay it has been observed that there is a growing trend of buyers and sellers engaging in trade with users from countries where English is commonly spoken, such as the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, and Germany.
You must be aware that there are items that cannot be sold on eBay:
- eBay Prohibited Items – eBay has a list of prohibited items that cannot be traded on the site. Be aware of these before you list an item on the site. Here is the list of prohibited items for eBay.com.
- Internationally Prohibited Items – in addition to eBay’s prohibited items list, each country has a specific list of items that are prohibited from entry. Make sure that your items can be legally sent to the countries you are targeting by going to the United States Postal Service (USPS) website.
Generally, Items with a high dollar value in relation to their weight are prime candidates for international sales and these are the items that usually sell best on eBay. Examples of products that meet this criteria include sought-after collectibles like coins and stamps, exquisite jewelry pieces, electronics such as MP3 players, auto parts, and popular sporting goods.
LISTING YOUR ITEMS ON EBAY
Once you have gained familiarity with eBay’s thriving Global Marketplace and are ready to kickstart your product sales, the next crucial step is to effectively list your items. Here are some key tips to ensure successful listing:
- Select Shipping Regions: When listing your item, navigate to the “Ship-to locations” section and choose the “Will ship worldwide” radio button. Alternatively, you can select specific regions by using the appropriate checkboxes to indicate where you are willing to ship.
- Setting expectations: set clear expectations in the item description. Be sure to include an estimate or separate cost for international shipping and be clear about delivery time. Be transparent about any additional customs fees that may apply and advise buyers to research these fees beforehand.
- Language Differences: if you are targeting a specific audience be aware of the language(s) spoken in that country or region. If there is a need to translate a description, do so. Avoid using colloquialisms or abbreviations as these may not be understood by international buyers to whom English is not their native language.
To ensure swift and secure payments from your international buyers, PayPal is here to help streamline your transactions. With its expanding global reach and support for multiple currencies, PayPal makes international selling hassle-free.
- Currency Conversion: eBay automatically converts the cost of your product to the default currency of the site where it is being viewed. For example, if a UK seller is viewing an item listed on the US site, they will see the cost in both US dollars and UK pounds. For more information on how your product’s cost may appear in local currency, visit the currency converter link: http://pages.ebay.com/services/buyandsell/currencyconverter.html
- Receiving Payment: PayPal enables sellers to accept payments in various currencies and withdraw funds in U.S. dollars, overcoming the obstacle of not being able to accept local currency. To check if PayPal is available in the country where your international buyers are located, refer to the following link: http://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_display-approved-signup-countries-outside
- Hot Tip: Accepting PayPal can significantly reduce payment processing time, eliminating delays of up to 10 days compared to other methods like money orders. Register at http://www.paypal.com to enjoy the benefits of faster payments for your international sales
SHIPPING & CUSTOMS
Once you have received your payment it is time to ship the product. Here are some tips to help you navigate this process smoothly:
- Shipping Services: Choose a reliable shipping service that offers tracking and delivery confirmation for international shipments. This will allow you and the buyer to easily track the package’s progress and ensure its safe arrival. Popular shipping services for eBay sellers include USPS, FedEx, UPS, and DHL.
- Invoice Inclusion: Include a printed commercial invoice with the item’s description, tariff code, value and quantity as evidence of the buyer’s payment, in case customs officials need to open the package for inspection. This will help customs officials accurately assess the package and reduce the risk of delays or misunderstandings.
- Other Documentation: Make sure you supply both the documentation required to clear the package for export from your country and import into the buyer’s country. Sometimes the country of import may have additional regulatory requirements, such as a health certificate for plant based goods or a fumigation certificate for wooden products. Your shipping company should be able to advise you on any additional documentation needed for customs clearance.
- Packaging: Make sure your packaging is sturdy, well-cushioned, and properly sealed. International shipping can result in more wear and tear on packages, so take extra precautions to ensure that your items arrive safely to their destination.
Expanding your business to international markets through eBay can be a lucrative opportunity, but it requires careful preparation and attention to detail. By understanding eBay’s policies, effectively listing your items, using secure payment methods, and navigating the shipping and customs process, you can successfully reach and sell to an international audience. Remember to always communicate clearly with buyers, provide excellent customer service, and comply with international laws and regulations. With the right strategies and approach, selling internationally on eBay can be a fulfilling and profitable venture for your business.
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About the author
Trade consultant, researcher, writer
After receiving her degree, Zoë joined the Trade Logistics team as a trade consultant, researcher and writer, assisting multitudes navigate and grow in the world of international trade. In her free time, you can find her programming, baking, or reading a great book.