- Register with a global online marketplace like Amazon, Rakuten, or eBay.
- Sell items that are easily shipped, and are in high demand somewhere year-round.
- Create an international payment account to receive international payments affordably.
OFX – Do you remember back in the old days, when, if you wanted to sell something, you’d lease a shop in the middle of strip mall, print out some fliers, and maybe pay to feature your products in a wholesaler’s catalog so international buyers could find you?
No? We don’t either.
That’s why today, the easiest and most powerful way to sell products internationally is online. But knowing exactly when, where, and how to sell them can mean the difference between global retail domination, and just another good idea.
So, how do you sell products internationally online? Let’s review some of the easiest ways!
The best way to sell products internationally online
Using an international marketplace is probably the best way to sell your products internationally online. Why? Jason Kumpf, International eCommerce specialist answers; “Because the international marketplaces have the infrastructure that enable you offer your customers the best possible customer experience. Selling on major global marketplaces provides great benefits to a small to medium sized company looking to sell globally.”
- Local payment methods are usually supported. Some markets rely heavily on credit cards while other prefer eWallets or bank transfers. Large marketplaces usually have payment settlement options that reflect the local market preferences and they may be able to help in the case of fraud or misuse. Of course, they also make it simple for your customers to pay in local currency.
- Warehouse and distribution infrastructure can simplify your operations. With FBA by Amazon, you can let Amazon stock and ship your products. Delivery is often expedited and you may be able to reduce paperwork and costs associated with customs, duty and shipping restrictions. Kumpf re-iterates the greatness of Amazon FBA; “Amazon has revolutionized the small and medium sized business landscape. By offering their global platform to the mom and pops so that can sell to a global audience, with relative ease compared to just a few year ago.”
- Customer service is easier. International marketplaces are invested in strong customer experience, so any returns are usually facilitated and complaints may be mitigated by partnering up with the big dogs.
Selling internationally on Amazon
Amazon makes it simple to sell products internationally. They’re the eighth-largest retailer in the world, with fulfillment centers in 13 countries (and coming to Australia in 2017).
With Amazon Global Selling, and their Fulfillment By Amazon program, you, too, can leverage the reach, infrastructure, and visibility of the world’s most famous online retailer. Amazon enables you to register as a seller in as many of their 11 unique global marketplaces as you like, ship and store your product inventory in any of their local fulfillment centers in those countries, and allow Amazon to pick, pack, and ship the products to your customers when they’re ordered.
What better way to expand your international selling than by using the marketplace where so many millions of the world’s buyers already are? Jason Kumpf says he sees groups expanding their clientele form the US to Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy quickly and doubling their sales potential.
Selling internationally on Rakuten
Rakuten, the Japanese online retailer, is also one of the world’s largest online marketplaces, and offers another channel to sell your products internationally.
One of the most attractive aspects about selling internationally on Rakuten is all the extra tools and goodies a Rakuten selling account includes. Among these are a dedicated CRM tool that lets you better manage your customer relationships and convert more repeat buyers, and a customer loyalty cash-back program called Rakuten Super Points. The latter gives sellers the chance to offer bonus Super Points on certain items as an incentive to buyers, giving you the means to sell even more.
Rakuten’s international popularity – especially in Asia – makes it a viable way to sell more products internationally.
Selling internationally on eBay
The world loves eBay. The online retailer became famous as the internet’s most beloved and well-known auction house, selling everything from vintage toasters to Ferrari Testarossas. Now, the online giant features plenty of conventional fixed-price listings, but its bidding-style auctions offer international sellers some interesting options.
If you have products that are rare, vintage, custom, or one-of-a-kind, eBay auctions are a great way to not only sell them for the maximum price, but to give international buyers – in whose country your products may be even more rare – a chance to bid on them and hopefully purchase them. This makes eBay a powerful way to sell your products internationally if you’re looking to sell some highly sought-after rarities.
What’s more, eBay provides robust seller protections that help shield you from the risk of fraud, which can be greater when dealing with international buyers who are obscured behind the veils of distance and international law. As part of a diversified portfolio of storefronts, Jason Kumpf mentions that many of his growing clients are on multiple platforms to increase their global presence and hedge their revenue streams.
What products to sell internationally
Now that you have several options from which to choose for your selling platform, what products are the best, simplest, and most successful to sell internationally?
First, small, light products are a good place to start. Given the realities of international shipping costs (yes, even with tricks like Fulfillment By Amazon), the cheaper your products are to ship around the world, the less revenue you burn in operational costs, and the more profit your business takes home.
These products also take up less room in inventory, whether you store them yourself or store them with Amazon (who charges storage fees by size and weight).
Secondly, choose products whose international demand you can wield to your advantage. Seasonality can go from being your worst enemy when selling domestically to your best friend when selling abroad. For example, swimsuits may only be in demand about three to six months out of the year in the southern hemisphere, but as soon as demand for this warm-weather product begins to wane, it is just ramping up in the northern hemisphere! The same applies to generic holiday decorations like string lights, which may be in high demand during Christmas, but can also be sold internationally for Diwali, Carnival, Chinese New Year, or lots of other festive occasions.
Kumpf mentions that there are also numerous tools available to entrepreneur and small store owners to help them identify top selling and trending products to give them insights into what online shoppers are buying.
The best way to accept international payments
One of the most intimidating aspects of selling products internationally is getting paid for them.
Fortunately, there are also online platforms that can be easily used to help you accept money internationally. Unlike some marketplaces, which charge high currency-conversion and transaction fees, other third party services can lower the transactions costs and increase your profits.
Selling products internationally is an exciting, promising way to make money. Thanks to the internet, global online marketplaces, and other marketplace plugins, it’s now easier, faster, and more profitable than ever before.
Post by Jason Kumpf at OFX