Keep calm and carry on selling cross-border after Brexit

The UK has not left the EU’s Customs Union and the EU VAT regime. Despite all the negativity and confusion surrounding it, post-Brexit cross-border ecommerce presents a great opportunity for marketplace sellers on both sides of the English Channel and beyond.

What’s more important is that you can implement small but very important changes: including the VAT on your listings or informing upfront about the taxes and duties, or additional charges.

Being transparent and upfront can boost the confidence of customers shopping from abroad and in turn boost your sales.

But don’t just take our word for it! We have analyzed the listings of sellers whose international traffic and sales are thriving. In this article, we present a selection of easy to follow recommendations, that will help you yield great results from cross-border sales.

So keep calm, carry on reading, and cross-border selling!

Important on the Checklist – VAT & Customs

Before we dive into the suggestions here’s a list of basic actions to tick off. These will help you ensure your shipments get the all-clear, the taxes are kept to a minimum, and your customers happy.

The detailed tick list for UK sellers:

  • Important! Ensure your domestic listings have the VAT amount.
    This will allow us to update your international listings accordingly. You only have until the end of February to update it. From March onwards listings without VAT will be deleted by eBay.
  • Register for an EORI number.
  • Prepare EU Customs documentation
  • Prepare for EU tariffs.

 The detailed tick list for non-UK sellers:

  • Important! Ensure your domestic listings have the VAT amount.
    This will allow us to update your international listings accordingly. You only have until the end of February to update it. From March onwards listings without VAT will be deleted by eBay.
  • Register for UK VAT if selling into Britain.
  • Register for a GB EORI.

The Suggestions – Boosting your cross-border sales

Here’s a selection of easy to follow and implement steps that will help improve your listings visibility, customer experience, and sales conversions.

VAT settings

First things first, make sure you fill in the VAT rates. All sellers listing on or European eBay sites will have to provide a gross price and separate VAT rate so that eBay can determine the correct amount of VAT to collect from consumers. For non-EU/UK sellers, the VAT rate will usually be 0%. (Here’s more on VAT on eBay).

Tip: If you haven’t got the time to set up VAT rates for all of your listings, have a look at your 10 best selling items and try to update those first.  

Tax & duties information

It’s become increasingly important to keep the consumers in the know about the duties and taxes and other factors that impact the final price. Contradictory to the general belief that the information about additional charges discourages buyers from purchasing the product, we found that being clear and upfront about the taxes and duties often translates into higher conversion rates.

Tip: Make sure that the information about the VAT rates, potential customs clearance, and carriage charges are visible throughout the customer journey.
An example could be: ‘All orders sent outside of the UK may be subject to local customs import duty which is charged on the value of the purchase.’

Quality of listings

The importance of improving the quality and description of your listings is something that we cannot stress highly enough. According to decades of our research, high-quality listings affect sales positively, by making it easier for customers to find, evaluate, and purchase your products.

Tip: Quality images are an important element that will boost your conversions at the various stages of the customer journey. Appealing images will help the buyers choose one search result over another. Whereas multiple images will allow them to evaluate and compare key features and suitability of products.

We recommend images to have a white background and fill at least 85% of the image space.

Tip: Detailed descriptions should provide customers with enough information to allow them to compare your items with similar products and make informed buying decisions. An absolute must are details about the features and usage of the product as well as highlights of specific product information.

Tip: Details, such as brand, size, material type, or manufacturer part number will help potential buyers discover your product, narrow their search and decide whether it fits their needs.  

eBay Promoted Listings

You can get more eyes on your products with eBay Promoted Listings. These solutions make your items stand out from the billion of listings on eBay and boost your sales. But remember getting the best ROI on your spend and not drastically deflating your profit margins are king!

Tip: It’s worth exploring our eBay Promoted Listings for international sites. Our solution supports every marketplace seller’s prime objective: achieving maximum sales increase while decreasing advertising costs. It automatically chooses your items with the best selling potential per market, while optimizing ad spend based on your individual performance.

Diversifying your portfolio

For many retailers, 2020 certainly turned out differently than expected. But it also opened up many opportunities that continue in 2021. Changing online shopping behavior meant that last year supercharged ecommerce 5 years ahead, according to some of the experts.

2021 is said to be another record year, with $4.9 trillion in online sales predicted globally. The forecast looks promising not only on both sides of the English Channel, but also in China, the Southasian markets, the US, or Australia too.

Boosting your revenue by selling internationally has never been more relevant.

Tap into different international markets

Webinterpret is striving to help marketplace sellers make the most of the unprecedented increase in online sales. You can now expand your business onto 6 (UK, FR, IT, ES, DE, US, AU), international markets on Amazon, and up to 12 ones on eBay (UK, FR, IT, ES, DE, US, AU, HK, SG, IE, AT, BE, CA). It’s an unprecedented opportunity to reach millions of international online buyers.

Tip: By introducing just two international markets; Hong Kong with 5.2m shoppers and €5.3bn ecommerce revenue, as well as Singapore with 4.4m online buyers and €3.2b ecommerce revenue, you can tap into leading East Asian ecommerce markets. 

Expand to different marketplaces

Diversifying business sales channels, means you increase the chance for customers to find your brand and make a sale. Thanks to Webinterpret and our partnerships you have access to a multitude of online marketplaces (like eBay, Amazon, or Cdiscount). Thanks to these platforms you can promote your products to millions of international buyers, who may not have come across your products organically.



Tip: You might find that different sales channels yield different results for your business, depending on their target audience and reach, or the type of products you’re offering. We encourage you to look closely into your revenue per channel and focus on the marketplace’s audience, payment process, or products being offered. This should help you determine which marketplaces are the best fit for your particular business. 

Need some more information?

Our General List of FAQs should help you find answers to your most pressing Brexit related questions:

Our eBay & Amazon-related FAQs provide some useful information on changes to processes and setups on these platforms.

Last but not least

We aim to keep you regularly informed about all the recommendations and steps you need to take to continue to deliver great cross-border results. This article provides some suggestions and recommendations concerning cross-border selling, Brexit, and marketplaces.

Please note that all applications related to international sales, customs requirements, and exporting to and from the UK, should be verified with your relevant countries’ Government, official governmental resource, and other agencies.

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