After launching 18 years ago, eBay now has a customer base of 112 million strong in 39 international markets. The mega-site clearly understands the power of the global marketplace; in fact, this was the very vision it was built upon. Yet, very little had been done to encourage sellers to offer international fulfillment until this past fall, when the Global Shipping Program was introduced.
Are you one of those sellers missing out on an international audience? Let’s address some of the pervasive pain points around selling internationally.
What to Know Before You Sell eBay Products Internationally
- “It’s complicated.” Offering shipping around the world is now as easy as selecting either “Worldwide” or “Choose custom location” from the dropdown menu within the Sell Your Item form when creating your listing. eBay gives the option of selecting from large categories such as N. and S. America, Canada, Mexico, Europe, United Kingdom, Germany, Asia, Australia, and Japan. You also have the option to exclude certain countries you feel may be a problem. Printing out shipping labels is as easy to do as it is for domestic shipments. The customs form is pre-filled with the information from your listing.
- “It’s expensive.” While it is true the recent postal rate increases did squeeze international customers a bit, they’re still more than willing to pay in order to get products not available to them at home. First Class International is a viable option for most packages under four pounds. It offers a substantial savings on the Priority Mail International class and speed of delivery has vastly improved over the past couple of years. Simply using calculated shipping for international customers takes all the thinking out of figuring the cost.
- “I can’t track it.” While it’s true that international packages don’t have the same quality of tracking as domestic packages enjoy, this is improving by the day. There are several websites springing up that will track your package all over the world by the customs number. Even without tracking, insurance is easily obtained in almost every country. With a simple statement from the receiving customer that the item did not arrive, a claim is generally processed quickly.
- “Customers are going to ding my stars for slow shipping.” Is that so terrible? You’re in this business to sell products and make money. Allowing the feedback and DSR (Detailed Seller Rating) system to limit your ability to do that is like cutting off your nose to spite your face. If you are a seller who takes care of your customers, communicates and acknowledges their concerns and deals with transactions in a businesslike and professional manner you don’t need to be concerned about a few dings to your stars.