|Sat Mar 31 2012 13:59:14|
What Do Your International Buyers Want?
By: Julia Wilkinson
In writing an article about "What International Buyers Want" for tomorrow's EcommerceBytes Update newsletter, it was very interesting to learn more about the kinds of things people in different countries look to the U.S. to buy.
It made me also see that many of us may be missing out on selling opportunities by not realizing the "home team" advantage we have in living in the specific region we do, and having access to items they love overseas.
What Do *You* Sell Regularly Abroad?
What types of things do you sell consistently to other countries? And was there anything in the article that took you by surprise?
What's Hot Where
I hadn't realized that cameras, and camera parts such as lenses, sold so well to other countries. Shannon Paasch in particular had sold many Polaroid cameras overseas.
With some other things I did have an idea about, such that some sports brands like golf shirts are popular in countries like England, Germany, and Brazil. But I didn't know they were so into Harley Davidson in England! And I was surprised to learn from a jewelry seller that she regularly sells Trifari brand costume jewelry to Italy, where there is more interest in it than in the U.S.
Home Team Advantage
So if you live, say, in a rural area where folks ride a lot of motorcycles, you may be in a better position to capitalize on the secondary Harley Market than others. And I am very envious of folks like Skip McGrath (http://www.skipmcgrath.com/) who live in Seattle, home of the most Starbucks mugs! Those are popular in the US and all over the world.
But, being a denizen of Washington, DC isn't too bad, either. Here we are at an advantage of finding things such as political memorabilia, artifacts from all over the world from career foreign service officers who have estate sales or yard sales, and wonky books like studies of terrorism or political memoirs (I always look for a signature, and regularly attend a national book festival here in DC to get signatures of my own!).
Use the "Lingua Franca" of the Country You Target
It's great when you can count on an international market for regular sales, too. eBayer Robin Yencer Vergason says she sells "Paci Plughies" (Pacifiers with little plush animals attached) to Australia weekly in different styles.
But another seller pointed out to also remember to add the word "dummy" to this listing, because that's evidently what they call pacifiers in Australia.
Seller Sally tells us of other examples of words that aren't exactly the same in other English speaking countries, e.g. piggy bank = money box, flashlight = torch, diaper = nappy, etc.).
Obviously, there are risks to selling overseas, especially if you use the cheaper first-class international USPS method (in some cases the only method that makes sense given less expensive items), but one thing that's better about these sales? "They pay postage, instead of free shipping I offer here," said seller Lois Dupre, who said she "just sold this vintage 9 in 1 desktop piece for $19 to Germany. If I had accepted that offer for the US it would have been with free shipping, which would have cost me $5." In other words, international buyers certainly do not expect free shipping,...well, the majority of them, anyway!
Tell us about your international sales,...what do you ship where? And do you notice buying preferences or trends in different countries? Are you in a unique position to sell anything because of the region where you live? Post a comment here!