Selling cross border issues

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Italy Italy
mircoadobati
Kudos: 15
Joined: Nov 10, 2016
Selling cross border issues
10 Nov 2016
Me and my colleagues are assessing the main problems related to selling cross border with eBay/amazon/etc.

Is there anyone who can tell us what are the main issues and possible solutions for these issues?
Midlothian, VA United States
Jax Music Supply
Kudos: 2,387
Joined: May 25, 2009
Re: Selling cross border issues
11 Nov 2016
@mircoadobati

I currently sell Worldwide from the US. There are several problems I run into. First, explaining to people, especially in the EU, that they have to pay taxes and shipping on their purchases. Taxes especially. We do not have VAT and import fees on most small purchase in the US. You may not have an issue being in the EU already.

The other issue is returns. We refuse to pay returns for overseas purchases. A lot of people do not like that but it costs way too much. I don't have a problem if it is something we did wrong or it is defective but if you just don't like, tough. We cannot pay $8 to return a $12 item. Amazon is now enforcing this on Amazon.co.uk. As of Nov 15, you must offer pre-paid returns. We are shutting down November 15th on their site in the UK as there is no cost effective way to do this and it was already a borderline site for us in terms of ROI.
Kolkata, India India
OBVA Virtual assistants
Kudos: 102
Joined: Aug 25, 2016
Re: Selling cross border issues
14 Nov 2016
In eBay, it also matters in which countries you sell as they charge extra fees for images and listings.
France France
Mark Burch
Kudos: 51
Joined: Feb 4, 2016
Re: Selling cross border issues
15 Nov 2016
Returns are an issue for international traders but their are solutions out there to suit most value of items.

You can provide a local retrusn address if you don;t want to supply pre paid postage / courier labels back to you for most categories on Amazon.

We can help with local returns addresses as can other providers and we also have ways we can recommend for dealing with ad hoc returns if you only get very occasional return requests.

Other issues such as International VAT are also an area that can cause headaches depending on how you fulfill your orders and to what sales level.

regards
Mark - Ezi Returns
Mark Burch
Ezi Returns - International Returns Services
Nottingham United Kingdom
Bigian13
Kudos: 2,311
Joined: Feb 21, 2014
Re: Selling cross border issues
15 Nov 2016
Usually selling across borders is pretty straight forward on the major channels. Obviously a lot of things depend on what you are selling but be aware of the following:

  • Listing translation - If you are not multi lingual then there are services available such as WebInterpret or employ a freelancer from sites such as Fiverr. Depending on what you sell, there may be listings already translated on Amazon for example, but check the listing for errors before listing against them.

  • Delivery - Can you get the order to the customer when they want it ? Will the cost of international delivery make your price so high that you are not competitive ? Services such as the Amazon FBA Pan European programme are good for this. Also research international courier companies.

  • Customer service - Can you reply in the customers native language ? Again there are services and software available to help you with this.

  • Returns - Amazon insist on it, and others are sure to follow. If shipping internationally then you must provide a local return address or provide a free returns service back to you. There are companies that can provide this service but you have to work out if the cost of returning the item is worth the cost of the item. Also I believe that in Germany, items over a certain value must have a free returns service by law.

  • Taxation - VAT, TVA, call it what you will, but in Europe if you go over the threshold you must pay VAT in that country, and these amounts vary. Also if you fulfill orders from within a different country, such as by using FBA, you may be liable for that countries taxation straight away.

  • Customs / duty - Not a real problem if selling in the EU, but may prove a problem if selling to non EU countries. Are your products prohibited ? Will they carry duty on them either for you as a seller ( Amazon state the price charged to the customer is the price including any taxation / duty) or for the buyer.

  • Demand - Is there a demand for your products in different countries ? Research the many marketplaces in your target country to see if people are buying the same or similar products to the ones that you are selling.

  • Marketplaces - Apart from the major players such as Amazon and eBay that are available virtually worldwide, there are many other country specific marketplaces such as CDiscount in France that should be considered. There are also some other sites that you should look at to expand globally such as FRUUGO who will translate and list your products on 32 different 'local' sites. Each of these has different rules for the seller that should be read and understood before using them.

  • IP / Copyright / Licensing - This is a bit of a legal issue that several sellers have fallen foul of in the past, and depending on what you sell is something to consider. Are you legally allowed to sell your products in other countries ?

  • Payment - As you are based in Italy, most payments if you started selling throughout Europe would be in Euros, so no real problem. But once you start selling in different currencies you have to take into account conversion rates and bank fees. There are companies such as World First who can provide bank accounts in different countries and convert your payments into your local currency generally at a better rate than PayPal or your bank.

  • If you do take the plunge and start selling cross border, the rewards can be huge if done properly. Try and cut corners and you open up a whole lot of pain for you and your customers.
    E-commerce , love it or hate it, that's why we are here
    Midlothian, VA United States
    Jax Music Supply
    Kudos: 2,387
    Joined: May 25, 2009
    Re: Selling cross border issues
    16 Nov 2016
    @Mark Burch

    True. There are local return options such as those you provide. However, none of them are cost effective for lower value items. They are a great solution for high cost items though.

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