blog / article

Selling and Shipping Internationally

by Leo Chan
20 Nov 2019

Selling and shipping internationally can be overwhelming at first. We live in a big world filled with a variety of cultures, languages, and currencies. Learning the ins and outs of international shipping can seem daunting and make even fearless sellers nervous. Before you say no to international shipping consider the positives. A world of customers lies outside your country waiting for what you have to offer.  It’s a great way to soak up that market share.  Most eBay sellers have reported a massive increase in sales after diving into global retail. With a little common sense and technology, selling and shipping around the world can be a simple and rewarding venture.

Check and Prepare

Before you consider selling internationally make sure your eBay account is in good standing, establish a PayPal account and be PayPal certified, and offer eBay as a payment option. You must have at least 10 feedback points and a minimum of 90 days selling experience.  You also must meet the listing requirements and post in eligible categories.  Video games, DVDs and movies, hunting knives, auto parts and vehicles are not eligible for international sales.

Next, determine where you want to sell. It’s best to start small by beginning in nearby countries. It’s also helpful to sell in countries that share your language to avoid miscommunication. Choosing items that are light, small and not easily broken or degradable can save you considerable trouble in the long run.  The best items to sell are the ones with a low return rate.

Research shipping regulations and prohibitions. Some countries have fewer shipping restrictions while others, like Italy, have numerous restrictions. You need to know what you can and can’t sell and ship. Parcel carriers like UPS have lists of countries and their shipping regulations. You also want to consider taxes and customs rates.

Set up and Ship

Once you’ve made sure your account is in good standing and the items you are selling are good to go, update your shipping options and make your products available worldwide or available to buyers in specific countries. Your physical location will still show up but buyers will see that you are offering shipping to their countries.

Adding international shipping to your listings is easy.

  • Choose Show international services and options
  • Select Save
  • Choose Flat Rate or Calculated. Flat rate lets you choose your shipping cost while the buyer’s location determines calculated shipping.
  • Select Destination and Service for your shipping carrier (UPS, FedEx etc)

Next, select your shipping destinations by either choosing on an item-by-item basis  or  standard rule. Item by item basis lets you designate international shipping locations on the listing form where you can choose Worldwide or certain regions and countries. Standard rule allows you to determine regions or countries you don’t want to ship to in Site Preferences. Remember that international shipping can take longer so plan accordingly and communicate shipping rates and times clearly to buyers.

Another option is to sign up for eBay’s Global Shipping Program. Ship your items to their domestic shipping center and they take care of the rest. ShipStation also provides software to help calculate shipping costs and they provide customs forms and insurance for damaged or lost items. Be aware of restrictions and follow guidelines to ensure seamless service.  Fees and charges may apply.


Selling and shipping internationally doesn’t have to be painful. The deities of the information age have provided an endless supply of articles, how-to guides, and tools to the citizens of e-commerce land.  The key to international retail is in your hand. You need only to determine which door is right for you, unlock it and join the 58% of international eBay sellers.


Cardy Chung is the founder of StreetPricer. Read more articles by Cardy Chung.

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