iA


The perils of international trade

by trevor. Average Reading Time: about a minute.

At Hello Baby we have recently started selling on several international marketplaces (Amazon.fr and de, eBay.fr and de).  Overall this has been a success, though we almost got kicked off Amazon.fr the other day.  Here are my thoughts having gone through the process

Increase sales without reducing prices

Increasing our international exposure has allowed us to sell more of our current inventory without dropping prices.  The set up cost have also been pretty minimal with the only a few template tweaks required.  Our lovely European interns have helped with the translation.

Easy to set up

Using a product like eSellerPro, the setup of additional marketplaces is pretty trivial, if a bit fiddly on eBay.  For example, eBay categories are different on different countries and so we had to build a lookup table.

…But

Delivery causes multiple headaches

The biggest problem we have had with international sales is with delivery.  Firstly, customers either don’t realise that items are being delivered from abroad or have unrealistic expectations about delivery times.  Secondly, international deliveries seem to be delayed and go missing more often.  It does not really help that our eCommerce platform, eSellerpro only supports that standard character set (WHY OH WHY OH WHY?)

Feedback problems

Anecdotally, it would seem that European buyers are generally less likely to leave feedback, and more likely to leave bad feedback if they feel something went wrong.  Most of the feedback was due to perceived late delivery of items.  Things reached a bit of a crunch point the other day and we had to engage in some rather undignified pleeding to get some feedback removed so as to avoid being kicked off Amazon.fr

Translation requirements

As would be expected, we now get many more queries in European languages.  Google translate is surprisingly useful for deciphering these and we also make us of boiler plate customer service replied using Zendesk.  About 50% of our questions are along the lines of ‘where is my item?‘.

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