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When you sell your goods online, you have access to a range of customers across a wide market. Likewise, you can manage these customers from the convenience of your home base. With the internet, not only can you reach New Zealand customers, but also customers across the world that are interested in your products. Therefore, you may decide to ship your goods to customers overseas as well. Doing so can be beneficial, but there are some extra considerations you need to address. In particular, there will be additional legal requirements to meet for getting your goods overseas. Additionally, you will likely need to take international laws into account. This article will explore six considerations when selling online to an overseas market from New Zealand.


Selling your goods online can offer a larger market, but there are more privacy risks attached. It can be more difficult to guarantee security when operating online, so most countries will have laws to protect their citizens’ privacy that may apply to your online dealing. 

In New Zealand, the Privacy Act requires any business that deals with personal information here to do so according to its rules. This is regardless of whether the business physically exists in the country. Other countries and areas have similar rules, such as the European Union and Australia. 

For example, if you sell to residents in the EU, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will likely apply to you.

Therefore, when selling your goods to customers overseas via the internet, you need to make sure you abide by any international privacy laws that may apply to your business.

Online Payment

Most overseas customers will want to pay online. Hence, you will need to establish secure payment portals for them to do so. Some international companies offer secure online payment software that manages this process for you, such as Paypal or Stripe. Additionally, if you sell through an eCommerce platform or online marketplace, they often have an in-built payment portal that can handle customer payments.

When determining how overseas customers will pay for your goods, it is important to make sure your software:

  • can handle multiple currencies;
  • complies with international regulations, such as the PCI security standards; and
  • uses up to date and effective encryption methods.

To avoid customers missing payments, require all payments for your goods upfront. Make it clear that you will not ship products until you have received full payment.

Effective Terms and Conditions

Your terms and conditions set out what rules apply to any sales with your customers. If you draft effective terms and conditions and the customer accepts them, these rules will serve as a contract for your relationship.

However, ensure you have terms and conditions that can apply to customers in multiple countries. Different areas will have different laws, and you need to accommodate those differences in your terms and conditions. Otherwise, you may not be able to enforce these terms.

For example, if you have not drafted your dispute resolution clause to accommodate for various international laws that may apply, you may run into contractual issues.

Make it clear that you are operating from a New Zealand legal context and have a lawyer experienced with international eCommerce to help you draft your terms and conditions.

Shipping to Overseas Customers

Shipping from New Zealand to other countries can be expensive, so you need to reflect this in your pricing or shipping fees. Ensure your pricing breakdown is clear for your customers to avoid any misunderstandings around total costs for your goods. Doing so can lessen the risk of price disputes and legal troubles around misleading pricing.

Complying With Oversea Consumer Laws

In New Zealand, consumer law protects consumers against things like misleading advertising and sub-par product quality. Additionally, other countries are likely to have similar laws, and they may apply to you when selling overseas. Therefore, when determining what countries you want to sell your products to, you must look into what laws may apply to you in each case.

There are also likely to be specific laws relating to selling particular products in particular countries, such as cosmetics and animal testing bans.

Exporting Requirements

Further, when selling products online to overseas customers, you are exporting those products. Therefore, you will need to comply with New Zealand’s exporting laws, particularly when your products involve food or organic goods. Countries you sell to will likely have import requirements as well.

Key Takeaways

Expanding your customer base to an overseas market can be beneficial for your business. However, there will be more considerations when selling overseas, such as online privacy issues and overseas laws that may apply to you. Therefore, planning ahead and doing proper research about the areas you want to sell to are essential. 

For more information or help with selling online to an overseas market, contact LegalVision’s eCommerce lawyers on 0800 005 570 or fill out the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is personal information?

In New Zealand, personal information is any information that you can use to identify a living person. Most overseas privacy laws use similar definitions, but there are likely to be some differences.

Can I sell my products overseas?

You can sell your products overseas from New Zealand, but you must ensure you prepare for the online shopping process appropriately. Look into what importing and exporting requirements may apply to you, as well as any overseas laws.

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