Archive for Online Sellers Training

First thoughts on Ebay’s new Global Shipping Program

Ebay recently unveiled a new Global Shipping Program.  I’m not sure if it is open to all US based sellers yet, but I am giving it a try.  Here are my initial thoughts:

The Global Shipping Program allows United States-based sellers to sell internationally without having to deal with Customs paperwork or import taxes.

Good things:

  • All international shipments get shipped domestically to a predetermined shipment consolidation center.  The seller only pays the domestic shipping rate.
  • All shipments have tracking numbers for the entire trip to the final destination.  Currently, USPS shipments are only tracked until they leave the United States.  This should clear up some of the issues with packages not being delivered and being unable to track them to prove it.
  • The shipment consolidation center processes the international portion of the transaction, including filling out customs forms.
  • International shipping and import taxes are charged directly to the customer and are determined based on where that customer lives.
  • Packages are shipped via faster methods than standard First Class International meaning your customer will receive their items up to 2 weeks faster.
  • You can opt in or out of the program for each listing by just checking or unchecking a box on the “Edit Listing” screen.

Not so good things:

  • The fees associated with the global export program (international shipping and import taxes) make it impractical to use with lower cost items.  For example, I doubt that most buyers would be willing to pay $15 in shipping charges for a $20 item.  Some might, but most will not.  When your final sales price stay above about $50, it really starts to make sense to offer this as the primary international shipping method.
  • The Global Shipping Program defaults to the primary shipment method in countries where it is an option even when you would like to offer standard international shipping.  I’d like to give the buyers a choice.
  • I wish Ebay would include an easy shipping and import tax calculator on the screen when creating a new listing to help determine whether it is the right move to offer the Global Shipping Program or not.

What are your thoughts?

Make some quick cash

At this stage in my Ebay business, I am trying to increase my cash flow to allow me to buy more items and larger quantities of items.  I want more items because it lets me make more sales in the same amount of time.  I want larger quantities to be able to get better pricing and so I don’t have to reorder as frequently.

One way that I use to make a little extra cash quickly is to search around the house for things that might have value that aren’t needed anymore.

Do you have some collectibles that don’t tickle your fancy anymore?  Unused parts from that last home-improvement project?

Once or twice a year, I’m able to make an extra couple hundred dollars by reevaluating what I’m holding on to.

Is it time to check your closets?

The power of forums

One of my favorite places to look for new products on the cutting edge is internet forums.  There are forums for just about every hobby and interest.  People with new products (or just and idea for a new product) like to get feedback.  What better place than directly from your target audience?

Find a forum or three about your target product type.  Hang out, read some posts, ask questions and become a part of the community.  Try stuff out.  If it’s good, sent the inventor an email asking for a deal.

In my experience, I get a positive response about 2 out of 3 times I ask.  Not too bad.  Also, if you truly do become a real member of the community, chances are pretty good you have already interacted with that guy to begin with.  Guess what?  It’s not a cold call.  It’s just being helpful.

Give it a try!