Thursday, September 23, 2004

Expand eBay Sales by Selling Overseas

In Startup Wall Street Journal

The following article begins with:

• Selling in other countries is an exciting opportunity to expand your eBay business. Your potential market is bigger, and consequently profits can be greater. What's more, American goods are very popular abroad. The article can be found here: Expand eBay Sales By Selling Overseas

Now, let me give you my take on the situation. eBay will serve as a prelude for small businesses interested in expanding internationally in a BIG way. Here's why: It serves as a powerful avenue to find your first overseas customer and then allows you the opportunity to service them offline in volume.

The article mentions a couple of pitfalls to conducting business on a global scale and I disagree with many of the authors' comments:

First, language should not be a problem for the small business person because if you are able to process the transaction on eBay, you will be able to service that same customer on a larger scale. In other words, you have already established a good communication channel.

Secondly, if you use a simple transportation company that is well-versed in international movements, for example, UPS or FedEx, much of the so-called hassles mentioned in the article concerning paperwork, shipping, taxes, governmental regulations and even payment can be handled by these carriers.

Finally, as for third parties, when you ship single-items auctioned off on a global basis, there is no need to use a third party to get your product to your customer. Third party appointments are generally applied when you are seeking a wholesaler or distributer to import volume quantities. They, in turn, re-distribute your product to a target industry or customer-base (for example, department stores, independent mom and pop shops or convenient stores) and to a specific geographic territory (for example, in Japan, it might be Tokyo but not Osaka).

What's the bottom line? Don't be scared off by this article. Use eBay to introduce the world to your product and then go offline to service customers in large quantities.

If you need further assistance, visit We just published a practical resource guide that can be downloaded for FREE at the bottom of the page. Look for "WorldIsYourMarket.doc." It lists all kinds of tips to help you go global.

Good luck! -- Laurel

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