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?

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