Thinking of selling to international customers on eBay?

With the global shopping season upon us, timing is perfect to test your products into new markets. eBay is the world’s largest marketplace with online destinations in over 20 countries with over 171M global shoppers performing 300 million searches each day.

Here is a simple step by step walk-through on how to do some quick research to quantify and then determine whether selling cross border could be the right expansion model for your business.

Size up a country’s opportunity

Depending on the product you sell, buyer demand can differ by country. Having realistic expectations for sales will help you determine whether selling into a new country is an endeavour worth pursuing.

To create a solid sales estimate, you must first define the market segment you are selling into. The best way to do this is to identify the right product keywords that drive buyers to your products for that country. Note spelling and colloquialisms.

Researching a country with Google Adwords is not a bad way of obtaining a first cut of product keywords to test on that same country’s eBay site. Take notice of any recommended or related search terms from eBay. When you’ve confidently identified the best keywords on eBay to find products such as yours, you’ve also isolated a section of eBay’s marketplace where you will be selling. This is your market, your competitive space.

Next, plug those keywords into ShelfTrend's Supply Demand Report. Remember to select the country you’re researching. This free tool and report will give you the average weekly sales of the highest ranked listings for those keywords. You can dig deeper into each product listing and seller to understand how much of that country’s market they represent.

Having an estimate of weekly sales will help you determine whether that country’s market opportunity is worth further investigation. You may need to sharpen your keyword research a bit and run the report a few times to get the right perspective, but at least you have a sales benchmark to compare against.

Assess how your product could fare against competition from that country

Now that you’ve isolated your market segment and have established a realistic estimate of sales potential, you need to assess your competition.

Using the same keywords for researching weekly sales, run ShelfTrend’s Live Listings – Top 500 report for the country you want to sell into. This report summarises the top 500 product listings (the first 10 pages) of eBay’s Best Match search rank.

From a complex algorithm in the backend, eBay has determined that these listings are the most likely to make a sale from a historical sales and buyer data point of view. It is also precisely these 500 listings that your potential buyer will be comparing your product against as they make their purchase decision.

ShelfTrend’s Live Listings – Top 500 report summarises your competitive space. Get to know the:

  • price range being presented to the buyer,

  • number of sellers selling similar products,

  • popular brands and product features.

eBay is constantly shuffling listings up and down rank as real-time data on buyer demand and sales is processed. In high velocity categories and keywords product features can rise and fall in rank in response to what has been selling in that country. Schedule to run the report regularly to see how your competitive environment has changed from the last time you checked.

Ask yourself the following questions as you assess that eBay country’s potential: Is the marketplace already saturated by identical or similar products? How are they priced? Explore the data. Build some hypotheses and investigate your hunches. By understanding the competition well, you'll be able to better position and price your products to be competitive in that market.

Learn from that country’s best

Part of the process of studying a new market is to identify who you might be up against.

Will you be competing against one or two large eBay sellers, or many smaller sellers? The same ShelfTrend tools can be used to research leading competitors, their sales metrics and best performing listings.

Watching a country’s successful sellers will give you clues to how best optimize listings and product offerings. Don’t assume that if it sells in Australia, that it will sell the same way in the US. Although eBay is an easy place to start selling cross border, mastering a country’s local idiosyncrasies can be challenging.

Here are some areas worth considering when analysing your competitor’s listings:

  • Title optimisation – listing titles determine what is, and is not, included in search results. This makes it important to include as many relevant keywords and spellings as possible in your title.

  • Business policies – every country might have a different expectation for customer service. If they are a dominant and large seller, they will offer at least the minimum standard for sale.

  • Photos – You might think that the photos you use on your online store can be easily transferred over, and although it could be the case, remember that your photos in a completely different buying environment could also confuse your buyer. Research the type of photos that other sellers are presenting to buyers and emulate the style.

Selling cross border trade can seem daunting, but millions of sellers are doing it, so why couldn’t you? Gain some confidence by putting a little bit of time into researching a market’s potential. Have a look through the product range and assess the price points, the product features and what is selling. Learn from competitors and benchmark their products and sales. With hundreds of millions of global buyers, there is definitely a sale to be had if you’re ready to go the distance.

ShelfTrend is a real-time marketplace intelligence tool that presents easy to use and easy to understand eBay data reports to help Professional online and eBay sellers :
•    benchmark themselves against other,
•    monitor their search rank to gain more sales,
•    find product niches and
•    research competitors.

Try it for free and upgrade for US$14.99 per month when you need more. No commitments or contracts.