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eBay international audienceIf you’re looking to expand your online selling business but would rather stick to the three main ideas of eBay, Amazon and your own website then you should always consider taking your selling to an international level.

Within your own website this is simply a case of offering a shipping service to different parts of the world. That’s the best way to start, though in the future if you do find yourself dealing with one particular country a lot then it could be worth getting your site translated and either launching a new location specific website or simply offering the alternative language on your own website.

Unless you’re bilingual yourself the prospect of translating a website can be a bit daunting! There are some free tools that you can take advantage of online that will do their best to translate your text, however these generally don’t get everything exactly right, and being unable to speak the language yourself you may struggle to spot any mistakes.

Instead if you do want to offer your own site to an overseas market with the correct language then I’d recommend using a freelancing site such as Elance, which I’ve mentioned before, where you can hire an expert to do the work for you.

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The Elance website comes complete with a section specifically for hiring translators, so you’ll soon be able to find someone who can speak both English and the language to which you wish to translate.

Click here to visit the Elance website

The easiest way to sell to an international audience using both the Amazon and eBay websites is simply to offer postage to other countries. This will instantly mean that your items will appear to audiences within those areas that you choose as well as the UK. I’ve sold many items to Europe through ebay and Amazon just by offering international postage.

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Make sure you check the postage rates to ensure that you won’t end up out of pocket by dispatching further afield.

eBay has a similar option to allow you to sell your goods to those in other countries, however you will find that using this option won’t help your items to reach the top of search results in other countries as local eBay websites tend to favour sellers operating on their own version of the eBay website.

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Alternatively you can always use your existing eBay account to sell directly on a number of different local eBay websites across Europe. Using this method you’ll actually go to another site, such as eBay.fr for the French version of the website, and list your items as normal but in French! You don’t need new login details because your eBay UK details will allow you access to the site.

Many websites offer some built in translation functionality so using this you will be able to have a good idea of what everything means, but I’d still recommend getting your actual listings properly translated using a website like Elance to make sure you aren’t accidentally including anything insulting!

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Selling within these international eBay sites will take a bit of research. Some items may sell far more successfully overseas and for more money than in the UK, whereas some other items will be the other way around. I’ve been able to use these alternative eBay websites in the past to make some great sales, but you will always have to factor in the extra effort of dealing with a language barrier and overseas postage when you’re looking at your profit margins.

The world is growing smaller every day and the internet is a big part of that. Just a few years ago the thought of a small business offering goods overseas would have seemed incredibly difficult, but nowadays this is a real and viable option that you should seriously consider when looking at expanding your business in the future.