If you are selling online through sites like eBay, you may find from time to time that overseas customers are interested in your products. If you do not regularly sell overseas, catering for these customers may be expensive and difficult to manage. However, if a customer has contacted you about your products, it may be they are willing to pay whatever it takes to get your product to them.
Often when we are keen to find the right product at the right price, we are offered options from overseas sellers. The challenge is to balance out the cost of overseas shipping and customs charges. In addition to the sale price of the goods, it may not be financially viable. However, if the goods are only available from an overseas seller and you really want it, you will pay for it, no matter what.
If you have one or two overseas customers a month, you may want to consider an ad-hoc courier service. There are several websites that provide quotes for overseas deliveries like RapidParcel. You will need to enter your pick-up postcode and delivery address. Then input the parcel weight and dimensions to be offered a list of quotes from well-known couriers. If the business picks up and you are regularly sending items overseas, you could then consider a courier contract.
Selling online is one of the easiest option for small businesses. There is less need to recruit customer-facing staff, and ordering is often automated through your website. Picking, packing and distribution can often be completed by drop shippers if you do not have storage facilities of your own. How you manage your orders may be dependent on the type of products you sell.
Some online businesses exist only to cater for the local area. The website acts as an online catalogue in some cases. Independent mall or high street retailers favor websites that provide information about their store instead of selling online. Other businesses prefer not to deal with customers directly in person. Their website provides everything a customer would need. Websites can provide product ordering, tracking and information. Product services, company information and customer services through online chat can be added.
In some places, it is a legal requirement to publish a telephone number on company websites. Some sole trader businesses outsource a telephone answering service. This could be on pay-per-call or monthly subscription terms. Others use their website to increase telephone contacts with customers, believing this to be a better model for acquiring new customers.
If you are yet to venture into online sales, it is important to do your research. Check out some of your competitors’ websites. Use the search engine to type in some search terms your customers may use to find them. What do the websites provide for customers? Is there detailed product information? Are there customer reviews or feedback? Can products be ordered online? Are the photographs detailed enough? There are lots of questions to ask and decisions to be made before you design your website. Finally, find a good website designer to help you achieve the right look and functionality.