How Ecommerce Business Can Go Global: 5 Ways to Start Selling Internationally

Is your business ready to go global and take advantage of the growing international market? Our partners at ShipStation will offer simple tips for getting started.

Would you like a piece of the $1.5 trillion in global B2C ecommerce sales?

You might be surprised to learn that most of this large and growing market is outside of the United States, from countries in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as from Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, Italy and Canada, according to information from eMarketer.

Bottom line:  If you haven’t considered selling internationally, now is the time to start.

If you’ve thought about selling internationally, but have wondered if it’s too much of a hassle, we’ve put together some tips.  Here are five ways to start selling internationally, quickly and easily:

1. Choose a few countries where you speak the language. Many U.S.-based companies start selling internationally to a handful of English-speaking countries, especially Canada. Starting with countries with which you speak the language can help with customer inquiries and learning the lay of the land as you get comfortable with international selling.

2. Pick the right products to start selling internationally. These include items that are:

  • Able to be exported to each individual country (each country has a list of items prohibited from import). You can check restrictions by country, with this USPS tool:
  • Appealing to customers in the country to which you want to sell
  • Lightweight and probably fairly small
  • Not fragile or otherwise easily damaged
  • Not returned often
3. Consider using third-party fulfillment services. Services like Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) may cost a little more, but they help get you started selling internationally with a minimum of work. For example, if you’re already selling through FBA, you can check one box, upload an image file of your signature for customs forms, and you are able to start selling internationally through FBA. However, there are limitations on the types of products you can sell internationally through FBA, as well as the countries that you can sell to.

4. Take advantage of third party software that will help streamline the process and create customs forms for you, if you decide to ship internationally on your own. For example, for UPS, FedEx and DHL shipments, ShipStation can submit forms electronically or you can print them. For USPS shipments, ShipStation provides an integrated label, with the customs information printed directly on the label. Learn more about how ShipStation can help you ship internationally here.

5. Use insurance for all international shipments. Spending a little upfront can save you a lot of money in the long run. Policies vary by carrier and type of insurance, but in general, the insurance protects your shipments against damage or loss in transit. All shipping carriers offer insurance, but not to every country.  Private shipping insurance companies are another option for insurance, although there are also some countries where they don’t offer insurance. Some third party shipping software may include built-in, private insurance coverage. At ShipStation, for example, we offer Shipsurance.

If you’re looking to increase sales, look globally. Our tips will help you get started on your way to getting a piece of the international pie!