Having worked in International eCommerce for some years it’s been surprising to me that with all the retail data I’ve been through from various different organisation, covering literally hundreds of thousands of sellers, that this is a question that doesn’t have a straight forward answer.
I’ve seen all products selling well internationally if the price, the shipping and the experience is right for buyers. One that stands out from my time at eBay was a UK bed seller who were doing many thousands in revenue on the cross border trade programme. When I first heard about this seller I assumed they were selling a lot of bed clothes, accessories, maybe some bedroom furniture. But no, when I looked into the detail they were selling whole beds, mattresses and all. As it transpired this UK seller had managed to secure a low cost and reliable shipping arrangement into Spain, and Spanish buyers really wanted their beds!
I believe and have seen that there are no categories of products, aside from those that are restricted, that cannot do well internationally given the right localisation, price, shipping efficiency and buyer experience. So don’t let your product range restrict you from testing your international expansion opportunity .
All that being said there are some stand out categories that consistently rank at the top in both quantity of sales and overall sales value.
Clothing and shoes in general can do well as the fashion conscious continue to look for new styles and items that aren’t available locally. Brands do well also as they can be more expensive abroad or in the case of Poland where I’m currently living, the brands are the same price but discounts are rare and note very discounted when they are available, so there is a large demand for brands from the UK and Germany during sales period even though the brands are available in Poland.
Home and Garden
Another category that does well throughout the year, and especially during the spring and autumn when people are changing their homes in time for summer and the winter holidays.
Parts and Accessories
I’ve found that parts and accessories is a huge area for CBT. When purchasing parts, for cars for example, two things are true; they’re not always easy to find and you don’t want to pay a fortune for them if they’re going to be hidden away inside a box quietly doing their job. For these reasons buyers actively look everywhere for the bits that they need and usually aren’t concerned that they are coming from outside their home country.
Technology and Accessories
The tech category is driven by availability and price, much the same as your domestic market. When new, fashionable tech is out of stock in one country buyers don’t sit on waiting lists until it comes back, they go elsewhere to find it. Technology accessories are big internationally as well, with items like phone cases selling like hotcakes.
Products which can be considered niche or unique have huge markets internationally. As such, the collectibles category can be a winner internationally.
The same is true of hobbies. People look for books on their subject, accessories for the practice and pieces of kit they can’t find domestically. Buyers of hobby parts and collectibles are used to finding and buying from abroad.
So you see it’s unlikely that your category doesn’t have a market internationally. It is well worth investing the time and effort into properly testing some markets to see where you think your products can do well and there is demand.