Free Auction News & Reviews | Volume #9 | February 2006
eBay the International Marketplace

Harness the presence of eBay throughout the world to increase your sales or find new bargains. A lot of sellers on eBay tend to trade within their comfort zones without realising the potential of expanding global markets. Whilst it its true that for some sellers it is simply not practical, in shipping terms, to target international markets - for many it is an opportunity missed.

For buyers the sheer scale of items available makes international purchases an attractive proposition. On any given day there are thousands of items listed worldwide by the over 169 million eBay users across 33 markets.

Obviously when considering venturing into international markets a lot of questions will be raised and here are a few of the top points for consideration:

  • Payment
    Quick & secure payment is the top concern for most eBay sellers and when the buyer is many thousands of miles away this is never more true. Whilst it may not be everyone's favourite payment processor Paypal has enabled international trade on a scale never before envisaged. There are other methods of payment but very few if any have the instant recognition that Paypal has accumulated over the years.

  • Shipping
    Costs to ship to other countries can vary greatly depending on the distance, shipping method and the item being sent. It is advisable when creating a listing to present the shipping information so that prospective buyers can see the total cost upfront and can therefore make an instant decision. It is worth remembering when selling an item into an overseas market that the buyer may well have to pay additional duties/taxes or Customs clearance fees. You should always ensure that shipments sent by you are insured and the ability to track your consignment will enable you to provide proof of delivery should there be a dispute with the buyer.

  • Taxes & Custom Duties
    It is normal practice for buyers to pay for any taxes or duties that may arise and this together with the cost of shipping should be taken into consideration when bidding. In the UK you may find that the HM Revenue & Customs website is helpful when trying to work out what the charges may be - see the links below.

    Each country will have different tariffs depending on the type of item and by doing a little research you can avoid purchases that become uneconomical by the time they arrive at your door.

  • Local Laws/Regulations
    When considering selling items internationally it is crucial that you ensure the transaction is lawful in the countries of both the buyer & seller. eBay specifically prohibits sales that contravene the local laws of either party - educating yourself about the pertinent laws prior to sale will avoid problems later. You may find further assistance available by contacting your courier of choice who should be able to provide information regarding the paperwork needed for shipping and any restrictions applicable. It is advisable that sellers visit the eBay sites that they intend to trade on for specific details as to what that particular site considers a restricted item.

    Whilst it can certainly be daunting to make the initial foray onto the world market you can guarantee that if you don't take advantage of the opportunity your competitors most certainly will!

    Click This Link for a comprehensive list of the eBay International Auction Sites.
    Click This Link for the UK's HM Revenue & Customs - Shopping On The Internet page
    Click This Link for the US Customs & Border Control - Shopping On The Internet page

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