Tech talk: Shopping online, a guide for Israel

I sat down recently with eBay Israel Marketplace head of Business Development Elad Goldenberg to discuss eBay activity in the country.

Computer keyboard [illustrative]. (photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
Computer keyboard [illustrative].
(photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
Israelis love shopping online. In years past, they would purchase items overseas if they couldn’t find them locally in stores, but today you can find pretty much everything online and at cheaper prices.
Stores that sell imported items need to pay for shipments, overhead and payroll for their stores and taxes. Online shopping is convenient and relatively safe and one of the biggest players in this industry is eBay, which operates a global purchasing platform on which consumers can securely buy products.
I sat down recently with eBay Israel Marketplace head of Business Development Elad Goldenberg to discuss eBay activity in the country.
The professional Israeli eBay team comprises managers for customer portfolios, business development, marketing and customer service.
There are senior analysts who focus on providing guidance to Israeli sellers so that they can offer products to eBay’s 180 million customer base worldwide. The new Hebrew-language eBay site ( assists new sellers to set up their business and helps veteran sellers grow their sales.
Hundreds of thousands of Israeli consumers purchase items regularly on eBay.
The team has taken great pains to adapt the Hebrew site to the needs of the domestic market in an effort to turn their shopping experience into an easier and safer environment.
For example, eBay Israel launched a special promotions page with products that are extremely popular among Israeli buyers, plus special items that are often bought in larger quantities before Jewish holidays or back-to-school time.
Below, you will find a list I’ve compiled of recommendations for first-time online shoppers (what to look for and what to be careful of), another list for people interested in selling online, as well as some interesting tidbits and statistics about what Israelis buy.
Six tips for shopping online:
1. Reliability – I advise only purchasing items on large sites such as eBay and Amazon that use a recognized system in which consumers rate their experience. If you’re interested in purchasing items from a smaller store, I recommend researching the store before you make your purchase.
It’s important to pay using a secure service such as PayPal, so that you don’t need to give the retailer your credit card number or have it appear online.
2. Supply – Before you click the button to make the purchase, I highly recommend that you check whether the seller actually imports the item to Israel. Investigate the details regarding delivery times and all charges, including taxes and customs. (In Israel, items under $500 are exempt from customs fees and items under $75 are value- added tax exempt.) The most important detail to clarify is the shipping cost. Some companies provide a US address when purchasing an item and then forward the product on to Israel for you, which is extremely convenient when purchasing from retailers that do not offer shipping services here.
3. Compare prices – Don’t be tempted to make your purchase on the first site you find a product you’re interested in. Browse a number of sites first and then make your selection. Don’t forget to add shipping costs when comparing prices.
4. Refunds – It’s best to check out an online company’s return policy in case you are not satisfied with the product, it arrives damaged or late. Find out which party is responsible for the cost of returning a product to the manufacturer, how products need to be returned, how the refund is carried out and the timing.
5. Confirmation – Since most products come in a variety of versions, colors and with different accessories and warranties, oftentimes people do not receive the exact product they requested. So, before you click the purchase button, double check that this is in fact the exact product you want to buy.
6. Dimensions – When purchasing clothing or footwear, it’s always important to verify that you’ve chosen the correct size.
The best way to do this is actually to go into a store, try on the item and mark down the exact size.
Just keep in mind, though, that sometimes sizes vary between Israel and abroad, so it’s best to look and see if there is additional information available, such as size in centimeters or whether this is the size used in the US, Europe or Asia.
Seven tips for business owners who are considering selling products on eBay:
Small and large businesses alike can benefit from these tips. There are hundreds of millions of products available on eBay, so if you want your product to stand out, your sales page needs to be attractive.
1. Before you begin selling your own products on eBay, you should make a number of purchases from the site so you can see firsthand what it will be like for consumers to buy your product. You will learn which parameters make your potential customers feel safe and comfortable and therefore encourage them to make a purchase. In addition, you’ll get a feel for how the purchasing-selling communication takes place.
2. Creating the right title – Do a simple search of products that are similar to the one you’ll be offering so you can see how they are labeled.
3. Choosing the correct category – By choosing the correct category, you will be increasing the chances that your product will be found more easily and therefore lead to higher sales.
4. Clear and hi-resolution images – Retailers are allowed to upload 12 pictures for free. Take advantage of this and include as many high quality images of your products from a variety of angles as possible.
5. Type of sale – Are you selling your product in a public auction or at a fixed price? Unique items or collectibles will fetch higher prices in an auction.
6. Excellent customer service – Just like in any other business, all retailers on eBay are judged by their level of customer service.
The only way to increase sales is by maintaining a high level.
7. Shipping – You need to pick methods of shipping that are suitable for your products and your clientele. Consider cost, speed and reputation when choosing the options you will offer. And did you know that if you offer free or low-cost shipping, your company’s name will appear more often in searches for “best match.”
Eight interesting facts about selling products online from Israel
1. Every 14 seconds, an Israeli sells an item on eBay.
2. The top sellers in Israel are: • Engagement rings • Watches • Smartphones • Smartphone accessories • Fashion accessories • T-shirts 3. The most commonly bought Israeli products sold overseas are engagement rings.
4. The most commonly bought products on eBay by Israelis are smartphones (sales increased by 50 percent this year).
5. Israelis sold items in 90% of the possible worldwide locations this year.
6. There are 55 times as many Israeli eBay customers and retailers now compared with 10 years ago.
7. The categories with the highest growth are: home decor, electronic gadgets, car accessories and spare parts.
8. Israeli brands that are selling well on eBay include S.Wear, Teva Naot, Source Sandals and Bonita de Mas.
The following three start-ups offer unique solutions in the field of data analytics:
SparkBeyond is a knowledge-based predictive analytics system that enables large companies that produce huge amounts of data to generate predictive models and identify trends from data in a short time, which helps them focus on increasing sales. SparkBeyond generates meaning from data in real time so that companies can make quick decisions and progress.
JethroData is considered the fastest index-based SQL engine for Hadoop. It can scan incredibly large amounts of data on Hadoop in lightning-fast ad-hoc queries.
This is great for businesses, because they can add unlimited indexes and thereby within seconds understand which direction is appropriate for them in relation to the results that are generated.
C-B4, (or See Before) enables data analysis in very fast response time, which is useful for providing precise solutions for granular entities, such as customers, products, services and devices, which have become so important in the world of Big Data and Internet of Things (IoT). C-B4 offers solutions for the e-commerce, stock exchange and telecom industries.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.