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It is easier than ever to connect with people from around the world. As a business owner, this means that there is an even greater reach for potential products. For business owners looking to sell products internationally, this article will explain how you can do so and what legal considerations you should bear in mind. 

Decide How You Will Sell

Before you begin expanding your business’ customer base internationally, you should research the market and determine whether international demand for your products exists. Specifically, you should gather market intelligence and look into the buying trends of the countries you want to target. As a part of this process, you can find out:

  • about international competitors, and learn about how they expanded into the global market;
  • what selling methods work;

  • what kinds of overseas customers would be interested in your goods;

  • how you should advertise your products; and

  • what medium you should use for selling.

The easiest way to begin selling your products internationally is through eCommerce. This is because it allows you to have an online store through a website. Alternatively, another way to sell products internationally is finding a local distributor in the country you wish to sell. However, even if you go with the latter route, having an online website is still recommended to maximise your customers. Therefore, you need to put care into your online presence and take advantage of various eCommerce tools, particularly those targeted towards international sales.

Establish an Online Presence

You have multiple options available for you when deciding how to sell your products online. These include:

  • building your own website to sell from;
  • using a ready-built website from an eCommerce platform, such as Spotify or Squarespace; or 
  • selling on an online marketplace.

You do not necessarily have to stick to one, and you can change your selling method if need be. However, when deciding your plan, you should choose online platforms that the customers of the country you wish to target are more likely to use.

For example, TradeMe and Felt are both online marketplaces catered towards New Zealand residents. Therefore, if you wish to sell your products internationally, you can place listings on international sites like eBay or Rakuten.

Online marketplaces and eCommerce platforms will likely come with international selling capabilities already, so this may be more convenient for you to use. This fact is especially important when providing ways for customers to pay online and accounting for currency differences.

Be sure to outline any important payment information or policies in your sales terms and conditions.

Comply with Import and Export Requirements

If your goods leave New Zealand for commercial purposes, this will constitute exporting your products. Therefore, you need to comply with New Zealand’s export laws. Additionally, you will need to comply with the import laws of the countries you are selling your goods to.

Foreign import laws can be more strict, depending on the nature of your products and the local market. This may affect any duties or taxes you have to pay. As a result, you should ensure you understand what rules may apply to your goods and how much compliance may cost you. You can then recoup this from your pricing. Complying with export law is crucial if you want to sell your products in a global market successfully.

New Zealand’s various free trade agreements make exporting to some countries cheaper and less complicated. Therefore, it may be easier to start selling your goods in countries that are New Zealand’s free trade partners.

Ship Your Goods

Another key aspect of selling your products internationally is determining how you will get them overseas, and then to your customers.

Engaging a local stockist/warehouse distributor may be useful if you are moving high amounts of products overseas. Some marketplaces, such as Amazon, have this functionality that you can link to your online store.

Notably, the lighter and smaller your goods are, the less it costs to send them around the world. Indeed, factors such as size will influence how easy it is to ship your goods. Moreover, the shipping logistics for your goods may affect your sales and profit. Therefore, clearly outline your shipping policies on your website so that they have accessible information about the delivery times for any goods they order. In doing so, you can reduce the potential for customer dissatisfaction.

Comply With International Laws

Finally, if you draft an appropriate sales terms and conditions document that protects your business, New Zealand law should apply to most of your dealings. However, various international laws apply to you when selling overseas, such as some countries’ consumer or privacy laws. Therefore, you need to ensure you implement measures to comply with these laws when selling products internationally. Otherwise, you run the risk of liability and legal penalties.

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Key Takeaways

Selling your products to an international market can mean reaching a wider customer base and generating more profits for your business. However, when selling in this way, you need to conduct appropriate research. This process is both to find success in selling internationally and also comply with the law. If you would like more information or help with selling your products overseas, contact LegalVision’s eCommerce lawyers on 0800 005 570 or fill out the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of products sell well internationally?

To find accurate data, you will have to do market research on the specific countries you wish to target. However, lighter and smaller products will cost you less to ship and manufacture, so this is something to consider if you are looking to begin selling products internationally.

How can I sell my products online to overseas customers?

When setting up your eCommerce website, you should design it with international capabilities in mind, such as currency accommodation and privacy protections. Additionally, you will need to comply with any export or shipping requirements according to both your products and the countries you wish to sell to.

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