Sending retail orders to international customers has become some kind of “niche” in selling online. Many large online retailers do not accept international orders because they have plenty of domestic orders and they don’t have to take the risk.
International shipping is an important thing to consider as well as fraud protection. For international shipping, you either take the time or pay the high shipping cost. For items with higher value, you obviously want to choose a carrier that provides a tracking number that is trackable online.
Often times, I ran into customs tax problem. I had to explain to customers that the customs of their country was asking for the money and we were not responsible for that. If you have a lot of international orders, you probably want to make that very clear on your website or product listings.
Aside from the messed-up USPS (US Postal service), the risk of international orders is supposedly greatly reduced by Paypal-eBay seller protection. Paypal (claims to) offer full seller protection for all (international) eBay orders. UPS/Fedex is very expensive in international shipping, while USPS seems to lose every other package shipped! This is a little exaggerating, but the fact that they cannot offer any tracking information even for priority mail, is really not good business. I had a recent shipment that took 2 full months to get delivered at a Canadian address, prompting me to recheck the world map for the location of Canada!
Usually though, Canadians are among my favorite international customers. They are usually not as bitchy as many domestic customers. (I am not saying all domestic customers are bad, but there are some really annoying eBay buyers. Many agree that eBay customers “want it now” and they “want it free!”) My other favorite countries include Taiwan, Japan, France, Norway, Australia, Ukrain, and Northern European countries, etc. To my surprise, Russia, Thailand seem to be OK too.
Making the top of my shit list are Israel and Italy. Italians top my list of item-not-received claims. I don’t know if it’s their customs or they are just scamming. Israeli account for most of my unauthorized claims! There are some really smart Israeli scientists, and I guess the rest are smart too on “how to get merchandises for free!” I once had to call an Israeli several times 3:00 in the morning Israeli time. I thought if I had to send him a gift, I might as well gave him a few wake-up calls. At least I got some entertainment for the money I lost (spent).
Then again, this is just my experience. Others might experience differently.