Selling overseas can often be a fulfilling business venture.
But it can come with a lot of new logistics and foreign considerations that can be completely new and overwhelming to the average retailer.
This post will include five helpful tips for expanding your business into the EU with ease and confidence. But most importantly, tips for making the most of a new opportunity with the right preparations.
The most successful international businesses all have one thing in common:
Attention to localisation.
Localisation is the process of preparing a product for the country and culture in which it will be sold.
Practically, localisation is made up of three important components:
- Good copy, written by a professional copywriter – in the relevant language of the market.
- The use of familiar and trusted companies, such as efficient shipping companies and popular payment options used in each market.
- Staying up to date with the changing shopping trends and seasons, adjusting your business as needed.
These three considerations will not only gain your customers’ trust in your product, but in your ability as a thriving business in the EU.
Choosing a marketplace in the EU
The next step is choosing a marketplace in the EU.
In line with localisation, each country has its own trusted selling platforms which customers turn to for their products.
With this in mind, you’ll need to choose an online platform according to the country and audience that you wish to reach.
The options are numerous. So get to know your new market’s platforms – and find the most popular and trusted sites for your expanding business.
Logistics of international shipping
Managing international delivery and returns is a topic that can easily be brushed aside as a simple and practical procedure.
However, the ability to ship products and handle returns in a way that will profit requires a little more thought and preparation.
Many businesses have benefited by having a fulfilment partner to take care of the practical shipping procedures. Fulfilment warehouse companies stock your products and take care of picking, packing and shipping them out when each new order is made.
This kind of business partner can allow you the extra time to focus on other parts of business planning.
Dealing with international returns
Returns can be a messy business without the proper preparations.
We tend to look at international sales as a one-way street. But many forget the high expectations of customers that can lead to numerous returns.
When it comes to returns, you have a handful of options – each with its own set of pros and cons:
- If you’re selling a low-cost product, you have the option to give customers a full refund without return. This can save money in the long run by not having to deal with more delivery costs. However, you’ll have to be wary of customers taking advantage of this policy.
- International parcel carriers are famous for their trusted international deliveries, but can be expensive if you’re dealing with a lot of returns.
- Another option is to use an international returns management company, which is a third-party platform that can make returns run more smoothly.
Understanding cross-border VAT obligations
VAT – an import tax that is added to most products and services in the EU – can seem quite daunting to the new overseas seller.
But with the right preparation and research you can be paying your VAT with ease and confidence.
Regulations vary from country to country, so it’s necessary to check with the relevant tax authorities in order to know what is required of you. And keep track of all invoices for future paperwork.
Your responsibilities will usually include clearing products through customs of your country. While customers will usually be responsible for clearing products into their country.
Check the main tax authority website for the country in which you wish to start selling. You should find official registration documents as well as more information on your responsibilities.
Managing international payments
International payments, whether in reference to suppliers, customers or tax authorities, can be frustrating for new overseas sellers.
There can be a lot of transfer and conversion fees, which can eat away at your hard earned profit.
Finding an international payment platform can cut out a lot of hassle and confusion for your overseas business. As well as save you considerable amounts of money.
Platforms such as Payoneer offer membership for international esellers.
This aims to:
- Cut down expenses on conversion and transfer fees.
- Easily receive payments from international marketplaces and customers.
- And act as the middleman for your international payments.
Payoneer also has a service specifically for VAT, which wires relevant payments straight to the tax authority accounts.
To sum it up:
You’ll want to keep the following considerations in mind in order to prepare efficiently for your move into the EU market:
- Choosing a marketplace in the EU
- Logistics of international shipping
- Cross-border VAT obligations
- Making international payments
With the right research and preparation, your new overseas business will be a successful and fulfilling venture into profitable markets.