University surplus managers aren’t going out of their way to move products internationally

More U.S. companies – large and small – are turning their focus to overseas sales as American brands continue to find success in international markets. However, most university surplus organizations aren’t following suit.

Dealing with school administrators, customers and busy schedules is tough enough, but, for university surplus managers, international surplus sales offer a different kind of dilemma. As opposed to domestic sales, selling items internationally requires a series of additional steps to complete the transaction and get the product into the hands of the buyer.

Here are a few reasons why university surplus managers are finding the international option a challenge:

Too much paperwork: Selling surplus items internationally requires more paperwork than a domestic sale. Customs forms are usually needed, and according to the United States Postal Service, “the form you need depends on the service you’re using and the value of your shipment.” Sellers might need to complete several additional documents (e.g. certificate of origin, consular invoice, inspection certification, shipper’s export documentation) depending on the country they’re shipping to and the item being shipped.

Shipping challenges: With the long journey, shipping items internationally adds a host of considerations. For example, purchasing insurance on these items may be a wise investment as products can get damaged, misplaced or simply stolen during their voyage to the buyer. Additional concerns include: hidden fees, surcharges, and a lack of international tracking options. One possible solution is leaving the shipping up to the buyer. That way, the seller only needs to hold the item until someone picks it up.

Payment options: Wire transfers seem to be the best option when it comes to closing a transaction with an international buyer, and that payment process requires some extra steps. An alternative option is to leverage a service like PayPal. While many of these services charge an additional fee, they can provide an international payment verification securing the sale.

The process of moving products to international buyers can be complex, but for sellers who understand the terrain or feel comfortable navigating it, international surplus sales can open up a whole new market.

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