International ecommerce – selling directly to consumers abroad – is growing at a tremendous rate. For sellers it’s a compelling proposition: expand into huge new markets with less competition, and reach new buyers who may be willing to pay more than your customers at home.
Those benefits are real, but there are plenty of challenges to go with them: language and culture, taxes and regulations, logistics and timezones.
Here’s a roundup of articles from the Web Retailer blog focusing on cross-border trade. They cover specific international marketplaces like Cdiscount and Rakuten Japan, product regulations and taxes in the EU, sales tax in the US, international returns, currency exchange and more. I hope they help you unravel some of the complexities of international ecommerce.
Think of an entrepreneur, and it’s likely your image will be of someone who is extremely busy: taking calls, responding to emails, and dealing with dozens of problems that come up every day. It’s a manic life, or so we’re led to believe.
One entrepreneur who takes a more relaxed approach, but still manages to be extremely successful, is private label Amazon seller Adam Hudson.
In this interview, Adam talks about how he built a business with annual sales of one million dollars and a really high profit margin. He puts about 15 minutes a day into the business. This is how private labeling is supposed to work, but very rarely does.
Adam also bucks the private label trend for low cost, low quality products. He doesn’t try to screw his Chinese suppliers on price either. In fact, when he receives a quote, he asks them to charge him 20% more. Why would anyone do that? Read on to find out.
The first time I heard about ShipStation was back in 2011. I received an email from Jason Hodges, one of the founders, who at that time I knew as the developer of eBay shipping tool Auctane Pro.
Jason told me that he was launching a new multi-channel shipping application called ShipStation. I’ve been running the Web Retailer directory for 13 years now, and I’ve seen a lot of tools come and go, so it’s not easy to get excited about new products. I just thought, “OK, that sounds interesting. I’ll keep an eye on them.”
Now, most new tools launch loudly and then go quiet while they wrestle with the messy demands of customer support, staffing, technology bugs and all the rest. But not ShipStation. They just got louder and louder, as they released one new integration after another. There was none of the usual post-launch bunker mentality from these guys.
In just a little time ShipStation had support not only for the top marketplaces (eBay and Amazon), but other sales channels including Magento, Volusion, 3DCart, Storenvy, Prestashop, OpenSky and many more. A new integration seemed to come out every week, covering parcel carriers, marketplaces, shopping carts, fulfillment services and mail consolidators. That’s a breakneck speed of development, and it continues today.
Finding good products and marketing them successfully are what gets a business off the ground, but there’s a lot more to master to stay profitable in the long term.
As a business grows, a whole host of operational challenges emerge. The skills needed to handle them successfully are quite different to those that got the business started – disciplines like inventory management, efficiency and process improvement. They’re less exciting than sourcing and branding, but are absolutely essential to the healthy functioning of the business.
Here’s a roundup of articles from the Web Retailer blog focusing on the operational side of the ecommerce business. They provide a great primer on warehouse management, making use of data, repeatable processes, supply chain management, handling growth, inventory management and optimization, and systems thinking.
Over the past two years we’ve covered selling on eBay from many different angles, from Cassini and conversion to software tools, listing design and markdown sales. Here’s a roundup of our best posts focused on eBay.
Also see our Seller Stories and Supplier Profiles – many of those interviewed are also authorities on eBay selling.