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Is Now the Time to Try Selling Internationally?

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Is Now the Time to Try Selling Internationally?

With shipping disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it may feel that now is not the best time to try selling internationally. According to ShipStation‘s Krish Iyer, the opposite may be true.

ShipStation announced a new deal with Mercado Libre to help US sellers reach shoppers in Latin America. Curious, we asked Iyer how smooth mail delivery from the US to Latin America was given the COVID disruptions to mail.

“In this case, the Mercado Libre Global Selling Program makes use of Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) shipping options that ensure the proper delivery of items,” he said. “It is important to note that while mail disruption has occurred with some markets in LATAM, Mexico – which is the first market for Mercado Libre-ShipStation’s partnership – is a market unaffected by current mail disruptions.”

What about other countries – should sellers wait before entering an international market due to delivery concerns, we asked?

Iyer said the opposite can be true. “Cross-border trade involves many trial-and-error factors, and brands will never have a more opportune time where end consumers are more understanding of some of the friction points that affect international sales,” he said.

In addition, shoppers may be less price-sensitive due to limited supplies in destination markets, he said – “This is true when it comes to the price of shipping as well as total costs with duties and tax.”

“Merchants that want to sell internationally now have the ability to build brand loyalty by beating competitors to new markets where consumers are willing to pay a premium for products that they might not have access to otherwise,” he added.

Even at the best of times, international shipping adds a component of risk, so merchants eager to test expansion should stay informed.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

One thought on “Is Now the Time to Try Selling Internationally?”

  1. For years online I shipped internationally. Then – a few packages turned up in my mailbox months after they were shipped because the buyer did not pick up and pay extra taxes imposed by their country. Very sad and frustrating.
    So about a year ago, I sadly marked my Etsy shop as US only for direct sales noting that I would consider international orders based on country and clear communication with potential buyer. So many marketplaces have just assumed that small businesses can handle all of the factors involved – and it goes beyond shipping! I have no legal dept to advise me regarding income from foreign countries, taxes, etc etc.
    So – I am not opposed to cross border sales by any means. I miss my customers in a few countries for sure! But there is much more to consider and be prepared for when selling internationally. Shipping is not the only concern.

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