Cross-border selling on marketplaces - the good and the bad?

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Herts, England United Kingdom
Andy
Kudos: 11,619
Joined: Jan 1, 2001
Cross-border selling on marketplaces - the good and the bad?
29 May 2015
eBay and Amazon push sellers to sell internationally but it's still a headache for a lot of people.

What's the best thing that the marketplaces do to help you sell internationally?

And what's the worst thing about selling internationally that you wish they would change?

[Last edited: 29 May 2015]
Andy Geldman, Web Retailer
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New York, NY United States
SureDone
Kudos: 123
Joined: Feb 18, 2014
Cross-border selling on marketplaces - the good and the bad?
29 May 2015
@Andy One of the many things SureDone provides is the ability to add additional instances of eBay (.com, .ca, .co.uk, etc) and same with Amazon. We currently have customers that choose to list on 2 international accounts based on the type of products they are, but you're not limited to only 2.

For instance, Radio Controlled cars sell very well in Australia even though they are being shipped from USA at a high shipping rate. Don't ask me why AU buys up US RC Cars! I can only imagine the price + shipping is still substantially lower than from the store in AU, but is best advertised on the AU sites and not the .com sites.

The same goes for bicycle parts. EU is a better place to list for a higher sell-through rate than just sticking with .com. If you can fully understand the shipping process of your items, you can have it down to a science instead of a mystery.
Nottingham United Kingdom
Bigian13
Kudos: 2,251
Joined: Feb 21, 2014
Cross-border selling on marketplaces - the good and the bad?
31 May 2015
@Andy

The best, and worst, thing that happened to us was ebay advising us to use WebInterpret for jump starting our international sales.

This opened our eyes to the number of sales we had been missing out on, but also the problems involved.

Looking back, I would advise any seller looking to sell to non English speaking countries to hire a student for a day to translate your listings and common message responses, then rely on google translate, common sense, and a bit of luck.

I know that it is not perfect, but 50% of our transactions are now international.

I am now also fluent in American, Canadian, Australian and New Zealandese
E-commerce , love it or hate it, that's why we are here
Rotterdam Netherlands
zoeyul
Kudos: 41
Joined: Jun 8, 2015
Cross-border selling on marketplaces - from china to global
8 Jun 2015
Not only just the retailers from ebay and Amazon, my biggest concern is on manufacturers. As I know most manufacturers have started international retail business through e-commerce. This is also a big crush to the rest wholesalers. For the local web retailers, no much competitive advantage.
Supplier
Toronto Canada Canada
Stalco
Kudos: 41
Joined: Jun 9, 2015
Cross-border selling on marketplaces - the good and the bad?
9 Jun 2015
Does anyone use consolidated shipping to the country of destination? If you have the volume (approx 50-100 at a time) you can ship all your orders in bulk and have them inserted into the domestic postal service at a fraction of shipping it individually from your country.

We do it all the time for people shipping from US and the UK into Canada. We bring pallets of orders in daily and clear them through customs in bulk then insert them into Canada Post domestically. Typically saves 40% vs International UPS or Fedex and can also eliminate the COD charged by Canadian Border Services for tax, duty and broker fees.
Looking to Ship to Canada or Internationally?
Lowest rates on small packages under 5lbs.
Consolidated shipping options to eliminate COD taxes, duties and broker fees for your buyers.
www.stalco.ca
United States United States
nschneider
Kudos: 99
Joined: Apr 13, 2015
Re: Cross-border selling on marketplaces
9 Jun 2015
@marcel we don't use FedEx of DHL from USA into Canada but rather a mail consolidator with the USPS, I think our rates are good but I would love to know what you are seeing from a cost perspective. Whats a 4 lb from Chicago,IL, USA into Canada costing?
Supplier
Toronto Canada Canada
Stalco
Kudos: 41
Joined: Jun 9, 2015
Cross-border selling on marketplaces - the good and the bad?
9 Jun 2015
@nschneider Consolidated shipments depend on how many packages you bring across the border at once. Stalco will typically pick up a pallet from your location, clear it through customs for you and insert it into Canada Post from our DC using our local Canada Post rate. We just need to balance the frequency of pickups with the number of packages. It's cheaper to do one pickup a week of 500 packages than it is to do daily pickups of 100 packages but you may not want to delay your deliveries that long.

I will PM you my email and send you a shipping calculator you can use to figure out the price to ship a package to any major Canadian center. We work with a lot of US Fulfillment and 3PL's who are looking to to figure out how to lower their Canadian shipping rates and COD headaches when it comes to duty and taxes collected at the border.
Looking to Ship to Canada or Internationally?
Lowest rates on small packages under 5lbs.
Consolidated shipping options to eliminate COD taxes, duties and broker fees for your buyers.
www.stalco.ca
ESH
NJ United States
ESH
Kudos: 63
Joined: Jun 5, 2015
Re: Cross-border selling on marketplaces - content / listing
10 Jun 2015
@Bigian13 what you mentioned about hiring someone to translate the listings struck the chord with me.
Very recently I was researching on a blog topic for selling products in Europe (from outside of Europe) and it did reveal that having a native speaker can be of immense value because the more your online store contains translated content, better are the chances of you connecting with potential consumers. Also, while translation is important, one needs to be mindful of not making mistakes by using a literal translation.
Sharing this anecdote below as I found it interesting about international selling.

"Heard about the episode of John F. Kennedy’s speech at Berlin Wall ceremony in 1963? The Germans chuckled with embarrassment when he uttered the words ‘Ich bin ein Berliner‘. The literal translation of that being “I am a jelly-filled doughnut!”.

To avoid the embarrassment; hire a native speaker!
United States United States
nschneider
Kudos: 99
Joined: Apr 13, 2015
Re: Cross-border selling on marketplaces
10 Jun 2015
@ESH Have you used any remote hiring to accomplish a native speaker for a certain market? We are using odesk with success in some markets, but other markets like Asia dont seem to have a great presence of workers on odesk.
ESH
NJ United States
ESH
Kudos: 63
Joined: Jun 5, 2015
Re: Cross-border selling on marketplaces - Asia marketplace
11 Jun 2015
@nschneider we are now using www.elance.com/ for hiring content writers.
I think you can ideally divide Asian region into two when talking about business: Southern Asia / India & East Asia.

For East Asia, I believe you will really need native speakers and writers as local culture and language plays extremely important role there.
Check this link: www.elance.com/r/contractors/q...20writers%20asia/reg-030%2C035

However, if you see the eCommerce marketplace in India, the big players are Flipkart, Myntra, Jabong, Snapdeal and now Amazon. And if you notice these online shopping portals have all their content, listings and marketing collateral in English. At times, they may use "Hindi" the national language for media promotions, but English is widely accepted and used for marketing purpose.

Hope this helps!
United States United States
nschneider
Kudos: 99
Joined: Apr 13, 2015
Re: Cross-border selling on marketplaces - Asia marketplace
11 Jun 2015
@ESH thanks for the comment and the post. We have used elance in the past but found odesk/upwork to be better suited for what we need with technical people. I appreciate the insight on the India market and it lines up with what we have found to be true as well.
Bangor, Co-Down United Kingdom
roypat05
Kudos: 96
Joined: Mar 22, 2014
Note on Webinterpret
22 Jun 2015
@Bigian13

I use WebInterpret and they have a feature where I only pay by sale. Its great. My whole problem with International sales is the price of tracked Postage. I am just a small seller and not selling big ticket items but I was fed up with fraud and now only send 'signed for'. It unfortunately makes my P+P prices very high compared to what I am selling.
United States United States
nschneider
Kudos: 99
Joined: Apr 13, 2015
Re: Cross-border selling on marketplaces
22 Jun 2015
Is anyone selling on a country specific sites like 11st.co.kr ?
Supplier
Seattle, Washington United States
Cascadia Seller Solutions
Kudos: 55
Joined: Jun 23, 2015
Re: Cross-border selling on marketplaces - Compliance
28 Jun 2015
Don't forget about the legal considerations - you should do a quick check that your product isn't infringing on someone's trademark or patent where you're selling, or make sure the product isn't banned (for example, baby walkers are banned in Canada) or requires a certificate or license to import. Typically, if customers FROM that country are buying from you, they're held liable if the item is held at Customs, or if someone goes wrong with the product, because they're the importer (so if an Australian buys a noncompliant electrical device from you and it burns down their house, they can't sue you if the voltage was clearly marked, because they took on the risk to themselves by importing).

But... if YOU are the importer, all that risk is yours, even if UPS is facilitating, or a brokerage is helping you file paperwork, nearly all countries hold the importer solely responsible for regulatory requirements, and all countries hold the importer at a minimum jointly responsible (if there's another responsible entity, such as the broker). This means you can get sued by a customer, get your items involuntarily recalled (and you pay for the expenses) by regulatory authorities, or have your license to import revoked. In some cases, you are also open to criminal prosecution (yes, even in the US, but I've only seen that for items affecting children).

Bottom line - it's way cheaper to import directly to the UK or to Germany or China, then use FBA, but if you're the importer, all regulatory bodies will hold you fully responsible for the goods, and just because it's compliant in the US doesn't mean it can go to CA, UK, AU, or NZ just because we all speak English. Also, Amazon has NO problem handing over your information as a seller to regulatory bodies, when I was there, we did it all the time, we would get contacted about X item, and we would provide name, email, address, and phone number for the seller, because you are again - FULLY legally responsible for the safety of the goods you sell, and while there's wiggle room if you buy domestically, if you import, you're it. The margins are worth the effort and risk, though.

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