International E-Commerce: Top Ten Tips

In this webinar Andy Geldman, (founder of Global Seller Community Web Retailer) talks with online exporters Trevor Ginn (of HelloBaby online retail baby products), Ian Johnson (from jmd online) and Gary Rees, (the CEO of SEKO SYNERGY retail support) who share their hard won tips for ensuring you have the right payment, fulfilment and customer service solutions to support your international growth.

The major talking points

Start slow and get your priorities right. You may have to face early challenges so it is necessary to not rush things.

Centralise your inventory management. There is useful software that can help expand your business and process your inventory.

Use market place management tools to expand and develop your business for example E-Seller Pro, Channel Map and Supply Handler.

Look outside Amazon and eBay. British SMEs usually focus on these marketplaces, however other countries may not use these sites. When exporting it is always recommended to look at other sites as well.

Think about returns such as logistics and refunds, get your orders out efficiently and be prepared if something goes wrong.

Consider customer service. Decide to automate or outsource services and consider problems such as language and time zone differences. Also protect your reputation and make an effort to come across as reliable and trustworthy.

Be pragmatic about getting outside help. Ask non-competitive yet similar companies for advice and tips.


Questions & Answers

Here are some of the questions and answers addressed in this webinar, the times have been listed.

How do you expand your international sales through eBay and Amazon? What is the best practice for translating and optimising your listings for each country? (15:20)

Translation is not always necessary as there is always the option to use English. However you can use machine translation or use professional translation (eg: Web Interpret). Amazon is catalogue driven so if your product is listed, a translation will be provided.

What payment methods are the best? (24:20)

When it comes to e-commerce there is not much choice. One option is to use Web Interpret to calculate your exchange rate then use Paypal for payment.

In regards to international order fulfilment, what duties will customers have to pay? (26:55)

Usually the customer pays for the duty however there are tools available such as “duty calculator” which calculates duties and taxes and also provides information on the subject.

What’s the best way to deal with international returns and customer complaints? (32:02)

Generally there is a higher standard of expectation outside of the UK in the international market. Sometimes modifications must be made to the product and if you are selling a cheap product it can be more cost effective to offer a refund rather than have it returned.

What sort of software is available for managing your inventory and sales? (34:48)

There is a lot of software available and you can even use Web Retailer as a directory. Here are some examples of what’s on offer: E-Seller Pro is a general e-commerce and management tool, Channel Map is used for pricing and Supply Handler is used for customer communication.

What other market places are available? (48:00)

It is important to try and seek out market places outside of Amazon and eBay. Specialist marketplaces provide serious competition for eBay depending on the goods. Plus other sites like Alibaba in China and Allegro in Poland and Trade Me in New Zealand are extremely popular.

Topics: E-commerce
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