Learning how to sell internationally on eBay can unlock new revenue streams and reach audiences you’d otherwise never know.
Every day, millions of buyers and sellers around the world connect on eBay. Shoppers in more than 190 markets make purchases on eBay for countless products, including trading cards, beauty products, refurbished electronics and car parts. EBay’s global audience spans 135 million active buyers, and 50% of its revenue is from international operations.
Learn about your options for international expansion on eBay, eBay’s requirements and our tips for success.
3 options for eBay international selling
There are multiple ways to access international eBay sites.
Offer international shipping on your listing
The first (and easiest) option is simply to add international postage rates and information for international shipping to your listings on your home eBay site. This allows international users to view your listing on local sites such as Canada’s ebay.ca or Australia’s ebay.com.au.
This straightforward method allows you to easily expand your international selling capabilities across your product portfolio or on a product-by-product basis by sharing worldwide postage.
However, this approach has limitations. For example, listings aren't automatically translated into other languages, and they’ll clearly indicate that you are an international seller and potential buyers can filter and exclude international items. Some shoppers might be reluctant to buy from a foreign seller.
Under this method, eBay will convert your product prices to local currencies based on daily exchange rates. That daily variance could cause swings in the prices you charge outside your home market.
This simple eBay international selling method is a way to test demand in different countries before deciding whether you should invest time and resources into a permanent expansion.
Sign up for advanced international selling
U.K. sellers can also take advantage of the advanced eBay international selling option. This method unlocks greater access to eBay’s 15 biggest sites. You’ll be able to post dedicated listings in local languages, increasing your potential for international sales.
The company’s European Sales Booster program can simplify this process by translating your listings and placing them on sites for you.
Advanced international sellers can also set market-specific rates rather than having eBay convert your prices into local currency. This feature helps you be more competitive in more markets.
In contrast to basic international selling, advanced sellers only pay selling fees in the country where the item is purchased rather than in their home market. Sellers with featured or anchor shop subscriptions can also qualify for discounted final value fees.
Enroll in the Global Shipping Program
For many eBay sellers, the most straightforward method to reach a global audience is by enrolling in the Global Shipping Program.
With this option, all you need to do to sell internationally is send international packages to a global shipping center. Eligible items will be managed for you, including international postage and customs processes. And if something goes wrong because of the Global Shipping Program, you’ll be automatically protected against negative and neutral customer feedback.
For U.S. sellers who want to use the Global Shipping Program, you’ll need to have your items located in the U.S. and be a seller in good standing, among other requirements. While there’s no fee to join, some listing, seller and buyer fees will apply.
Requirements for eBay's international selling agreement
Consider these important factors as you evaluate whether to sell internationally on eBay.
EBay’s international selling policies
The most basic requirement is to meet eBay’s rules for international selling. You're bound by the policies of the eBay site you're selling from and the site where the purchase occurs, including any buyer-protection policies
If a customer disputes a transaction and eBay favors them, the international selling policy authorizes eBay (or an eBay affiliate) to reverse the funds. If you don’t have the necessary funds in your account, then eBay will reimburse the buyer on your behalf and charge you later.
You can opt out, but the marketplace may prevent you from listing items on eBay sites with buyer-protection policies and/or offering international shipping on your listings.
International payment requirements
To sell on eBay worldwide, you typically need to accept PayPal. In most countries, you’ll also need to be PayPal-verified. U.S.-based marketplace sellers know this as ID Verification. In Germany and Switzerland, it’s PostIdent.
EBay requires that you accept the international selling agreement before you can list on a site other than the one where your account is registered.. This is an acknowledgement that items sold to buyers through international eBay sites are subject to the policies on those sites (e.g., the eBay money-back guarantee).
Compliance with country-specific selling laws
As a global online marketplace seller, you are bound by eBay’s internal policies as well as those in the countries you’re selling from and to.
EBay doesn’t allow the sale of legally prohibited items to or from certain countries. There are also restrictions on certain organizations, businesses or individuals.
Compliance with country-specific tax laws
You’ll also need to make sure that you comply with tax laws across all markets, including laws regulating the import and export of products. Again, these are country-specific, and different jurisdictions within countries might also have additional taxes.
For example, value add taxes (VAT), sometimes known as goods and services taxes (GST), are indirect taxes placed on goods or services. Many countries impose VAT on international purchases, but requirements can vary based on the price of the order, the location of the item and the shipping address. Rates also vary from country to country. Hungary, for example, currently has the highest VAT rate at 27%.
International customer service
To become a successful international seller on eBay, you’ll need effective customer service, including prompt responses to customer questions across time zones and languages.
If your business isn’t familiar with local languages, consider using translation software or human translators. It’s ultimately your responsibility to ensure that your international product listings and information are accurate, especially when they are translated.
6 tips for reaching international buyers on eBay
Expanding your ecommerce business to include international sales on eBay provides an enormous opportunity to broaden your reach and grow revenue. But international success takes time, and requires careful planning and execution. It’s important to use available resources to ensure your growth is sustainable and you’re meeting performance expectations.
Growing your business is an ongoing process. These tips can help you manage your international efforts while continuing to scale and optimize your operations.
Focus first on English-language eBay sites
If you don’t have the resources or time to translate your eBay product listings and information into multiple languages, start by expanding overseas to English-speaking international sites.
For example, U.S. sellers can examine product and market fit for selling on eBay international sites in Canada, Australia or the U.K.
Expand your international sales prudently and systematically
Because every market has unique requirements and customers, consider expanding one international eBay site at a time.
That way you can be more confident that you can handle the sales volume, delivery requirements, listings management and branding so you can maintain quality control across international markets
Translate and localize your international listings
Not all individual listings are automatically translated under eBay’s basic program.
If you choose to go beyond basic international selling to a few countries to selling on multiple international sites, you can improve your eBay listings and expand your reach by translating your listings into the local language.
Translation options include:
Free DIY tools. Free tools such as Google Translate can provide translation services without requiring a financial investment, but keep in mind that the results may not be accurate.
Human translation. Using human translation is the most accurate method, but it can also be among the most expensive. If you’re working with a dedicated person or team, you’ll likely also have less flexibility for turnaround when compared to an automated translation.
Test eBay’s international site visibility upgrade
In the US, UK and Canada, EBay’s international site visibility is an optional upgrade that ensures you’re at the top level of search results on eBay international sites.
This isn’t a requirement to sell on international eBay sites, but it could potentially improve your performance on those sites and help you reach more international buyers. There is a separate upgrade fee for each country site that you choose.
Build trust with a buyer-friendly international shipping and returns policies
An international returns policy can increase global sales, build trust and boost overall sales. EBay favors international sellers with buyer-friendly policies, such as 30-day or 60-day returns, and it may improve your product visibility. Adjusting the length of your returns policy can help international buyers feel more confident buying from you.
Provide clear explanations of the conditions for returns, as well as who pays for return international shipping costs and any required documentation.
Aspire for global top seller status
EBay uses seller performance standards to highlight marketplace sellers who offer excellent service.
EBay top-rated sellers receive exclusive benefits, such as a higher ranking in search results and eligibility for discounts. This designation reflects the excellent level of customer service you’re providing over time, rather than something that can be bought or is accompanied by fees.
Expand your international eBay opportunities with inventory management software
As you expand across multiple eBay sites, managing your business and maintaining control of your processes gets more and more complicated.
If you’re using manual processes, you’re losing countless hours to listings management, inventory tracking and order management on eBay. That doesn’t include all of your other sales channels. That’s time that could be better spent on growing your business.
Are you ready to take your international eBay business to the next level? eBay inventory management software enables you to manage your stock from one centralized location, fulfill your eBay orders faster than ever before and build a more profitable eBay business.