Your Guide to Selling Internationally on eBay

Boost Your eBay Sales by Being Open to New Markets

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Selling on eBay is fun and can be tremendously profitable, and allows buyers and sellers from all over the world to connect with one another.

By selling internationally on eBay, you expand your market and base of potential buyers significantly. But before you start selling to international buyers, accepting payments from them, and shipping goods to them, there are a number of things you should be aware of as a seller.

By keeping these issues in mind, you can reduce considerably any hassles that could arise.

Know (and Meet) the Requirements for International Sales

There are a few basic requirements your account has to meet in before you can sell internationally. First, your eBay account must be in good standing. You have to have a Verified PayPal account and will need at least 10 feedback points as a seller. You should also be aware that your account can't be brand new; you'll need to wait 90 days from your first sale before you're eligible for international sales. Get a few domestic transactions under your belt first.

Know Where to List Your Items

There's a difference between selling to international buyers that are shopping on your home country's eBay site and actually posting a listing on an eBay site in another country. If you live in the United States but your intent is to reach the widest possible swath of buyers in Hong Kong, for example, you might want to actually list your item on eBay's Hong Kong website, rather than merely opening bidding to Hong Kong-based shoppers on the United States eBay site.

Be prepared, however, to list in another language if you're this serious about international selling.

Understand How to Ship Internationally

When you say you'll ship worldwide, you're agreeing to do business with literally anyone on the planet. If you're new to international trade, it might be a good idea to start slowly, and with a country where you're fluent in the language.

American sellers tend to begin with Canada, the U.K., and Australia, for instance.

To avoid some of the hassles with international shipping, any seller who's eligible is automatically enrolled in eBay's Global Shipping Program. Sellers list their item or items on, then when an international buyer purchases the item, the seller ships it to one of eBay's U.S. shipping centers. International shipping experts manage the entire process, including customs, to get the item to the buyer.

This streamlined shipping process has some additional requirements, so make sure you are familiar with those before opting in.

How to Handle International Payments

Accepting international payments can be a hassle. Apart from currency conversions there are always potential problems with credit card fraud, bank fees, delays in sending and receiving checks by mail, and so on. Of course, eBay recommends PayPal, which does offer currency conversion and decent exchange rates automatically. There are other electronic payment methods you can use, or you can choose to accept credit cards, just make sure it is clear to potential buyers before the transaction occurs how you want to be paid.

Communicate Clearly

Because differences in native languages can increase the potential for misunderstanding, it is extremely important that you communicate clearly when selling internationally. Use simple, strong language in your listing and email communication and include as many high-quality photos in your listing as possible. If there is any doubt in your mind that your trading partner understands an important aspect of the transaction, follow up with them and ask them to confirm that they understand you.

Know the Law

Some types of goods are prohibited in some countries and/or prevented from crossing its borders. Before you make a sale and ship an item, be sure that both you and your trading partner know the item’s legal status in its destination country.

By keeping these points in mind, you can increase the likelihood of a happy, successful, and trouble-free transaction for both you and your international trading partners.

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