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Ebay International Seller

Ebay International Seller

If you are considering becoming an Ebay International seller and listing items on eBay to make them available for international customers you may be wondering what the pros and cons are. Certainly selling internationally can be a little bit risky, so let’s have a look and see what we can advise you on.

Advantages

Advantages

Advantages of becoming an Ebay International Seller

Selling on Ebay is a quick way to build up your business if you are offering the right goods at a competitive price. By selling internationally on Ebay you have the benefit of opening up your listings to hundreds of thousands more buyers than you would have, just in the UK alone. You will expand your market and your base of possible buyers considerably.

Simply by completing the listings page accurately when you start up your listing, you can offer international shipping options on your UK listing for the countries you are prepared to sell to and allow foreign buyers to bid. In no time at all you’re an Ebay international seller.

Easy transactions

Easy transactions

Even though you can deal with buyers all across the world, the payment system is simple and it doesn’t matter what currency your item is listed under or what currency the buyer wishes to pay using, the transaction will be seamless.

You get the option when you list your item for sale, of ticking the countries that you are happy to sell too. This means that you can exclude those that you do not want to send parcels to. You’ll find this item in Buyer Requirements when you list.

Ebay has made it easier and cheaper to include lots of images. This is great because it will bypass those language barriers. Make sure your listing contains lots of photos including pictures of any damage in close up. You want to avoid misunderstandings so that you do not run the risk of having to pay return postage.

If you are bilingual you can post on international, native-language eBay sites. Shoppers on those sites expect to search and read listings in their native tongues and that will actually widen your potential buyer base even more.

Work out the postage on this lot then, clever clogs!

Work out the postage on this lot then, clever clogs!

Disadvantages of being an Ebay International Seller

Working out the shipping to different countries for each item you list can be incredibly onerous. If you want to you can calculate the cost and enter shipping costs for each different location to which you’re willing to ship. You enter the costs on the “Give buyers shipping details” area of the listing page. Don’t forget that Royal Mail move the goalposts significantly every April, by putting prices up and changing parcel sizes so you need to keep on the ball.

Alternatively you can list everything with a fixed price “Flat: same cost to all buyers” if you want to charge a single shipping rate to all of the locations you’re willing to shop to. Just be aware that EU prices will differ to the USA, Australia and the Far East. If you do use “flat rate” or “free” shipping, keep in mind, that international shipping can cost you between 2-5 times more than domestic shipping, depending on where the parcel is going, how big it is and how much it weighs.

Freight is very expensive to send abroad

Freight is very expensive to send abroad

Heavy goods (anything that is going to need to be shipped by freight), extremely fragile goods, and goods that are really valuable are not good contenders for international sales. Sell them domestically instead.

If you are selling abroad you will need to account for currency conversion and other costs. You will be the one paying the PayPal cross-border transaction fees for automatic conversions as the seller and of course you need to account for greater shipping and packaging costs. Consider these in advance otherwise you’ll get an unpleasant surprise.

Category structures vary from eBay site to eBay site so your listing may not actually appear very high on international Ebay sites as your listing may be in the wrong category.

Shipping. International shipping can be a minefield. Try and find a delivery option that has some measure of control over the process (or at least minimal track-ability) all the way to a package’s destination in the country at issue. Quite often, once a Royal Mail package leaves the UK it is NOT track-able.

Lying on customs forms about the contents or value of your parcel can lead to seizure or additional taxes and tariffs at customs checkpoints.

Tracking is expensive

Tracking is expensive

Tracked shipping is very expensive. Because many parcels can’t be tracked when they leave the UK, they may mysteriously ‘disappear’ and this is the biggest disadvantage of being an Ebay international seller. You may send your item off, after organising a proof of postage from the post office and then a week later, someone in Russia is asking for a refund because the parcel hasn’t arrived. You may ask them to wait a little longer and they will escalate it to Ebay through the resolution centre. Ebay will always find in favour of the buyer in this case so you will have to refund both the price of the item and the postage and you’re out of pocket. It is worth considering self-insuring items in advance but again that’s extra expense.

Things to watch out for if you intend to become an Ebay International Seller

All of your listings and transactions will need to comply with laws that are applicable in the UK and in the country that your item sells to. It is your responsibility to ensure that you meet the criteria, not Ebay’s, and not the buyer’s.

You might want to sell to a country but the country does not allow the item you are trying to list. Your item will not show up in searches made in that country.

Your listings must follow Ebay guidelines. If they don’t, you will run the risk of the listing being removed and you could find that your buying and selling privileges are restricted.

Depending on where you are sending to there will be any number of borders involved and that may mean customs fees!

Don’t forget spelling and language differences. English words can vary from place to place, i.e. American English and British English. Colourful is colorful in the USA for example, jewellery is jewelry and so on – meaning that you need to include the keywords that buyers will be searching for. Also non English speaking buyers will look for items using their own language so it is helpful if you can list using different languages for some of the keywords depending on the market you are targeting.

Keep your language simple and straightforward in all communication. You want the buyer to be able to understand especially where English is not their first language.

Use a variety of specifications when you list your items. For example, not everyone will be familiar with metric so list measurements in both cm and inches, and in litres and ounces etc. Consider DVD region encoding as not everywhere will be able to read a DVD that is European. Mobile phones from and to the USA also cause issues as they have different frequencies. Do your research.

It’s probably not worth trying to sell coal to Newcastle or cheap plastic crap to China. Do your homework so that you know what will sell well in each country. What can you sell that would be unavailable to a country and earn you some cash?

Detailed Seller Ratings

Detailed Seller Ratings

Keep a close eye on your detailed seller ratings. As you’re probably aware your detailed seller ratings affect the fees you pay as an eBay seller and influence where you are placed in search results. Your buyers are rating you on communication, shipping cost, and shipping time. Shipping cost and shipping time are far beyond your personal control when it comes to international trade, but that doesn’t mean the buyer won’t penalise you. Amazon.com can sometimes be a better bet for international selling.

You really need to think about which areas you will ship to. “Worldwide” shipping means you’re agreeing to send something absolutely anywhere including some parts of the World that are more renowned for credit card fraud etc.

Watch out for fraud

Watch out for fraud

Only use PayPal. If you try to use anything else you are opening yourself up to any number of problems including credit card fraud, bank fees, delays in sending and receiving checks by mail etc.

How is being an Ebay International seller for you?

So, what are your experiences of being an Ebay International Seller? We’re very interested. Let us know below or come and chat on our Facebook page. Or do you have any tips for people who would like to sell internationally? 🙂

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