A while ago I posted about shipping internationally. Since then Ebay has developed the Global Shipping Program. While I can see the allure of this, let me be the first to tell you it's completely unnecessary. I did actually sign up for it to see what it was all about. The main problem is the cost. It is more expensive to your buyer than doing it yourself. Another problem is they only offer shipping to 42 countries. Last time I checked there were almost 200 countries on Earth. Why limit yourself to 25% of your customers?
Let me be the first to say when I started Pioneer Valley Fashion over 3 years ago, international shipping was a complete mystery. For starters you had these confusing customs forms and special envelopes:
So I decided to not bother with it and just sold domestically. Eventually I changed my mind and tried it. By this time you could print international labels from Ebay. Boy did this simplify things. All you do is:
- Offer calculated International Shipping in your listing. Ship To "Choose Custom Location". Select all 9 check boxes. Add $1.00 handling charge.
- Go to the Applications tab in Ebay and find an app called ShipSaver. Sign up. More on this later.
- Go to the "Print Shipping" screen.
- Edit the description of the item. By default it is filled in with the auction title. Change this to a vague description. We don't want everyone knowing exactly what we're shipping, do we? For example when I sell Lego, I change it to "Plastic Toy Bricks". Ralph Lauren Shirt becomes Mens Shirt, etc.
- Print your label. I recommend using plain paper and not a shipping label in case the package needs to be opened for inspection. This way the label can be easily removed if need be.
- Tape label to the package, do not tape over the bar codes. (Taping over the bar codes is not bad if the tape is totally flat, but if you have bumps and bubbles it may not scan properly so I don't take the chance).
- If your label has EDelCon (Electronic Deliver Confirmation) service printed on it, you do not need to buy insurance as it has tracking. There are several countries that USPS offers this to, Canada being one.
- If your package is not trackable, go to your ShipSaver app and buy insurance for the it. The $1.00 handling fee you charged earlier pays for this. ;)
- Mail it!
I know you're thinking "but Lou, what if my package gets lost, if I used the Global Shipping Program I wouldn't have to worry about it, but because I listened to you, I'm responsible"! Fret not! This is where that ShipSaver thingy comes in! I Your package needs to be lost for 45 days before you can file a claim. Do not issue a refund to your buyer until you are refunded from ShipSaver.
I have had several hundred international sales and have lost exactly....1 package. ShipSaver took care of it, I was happy, and more importantly my buyer was happy because she got her money back.
So give it a go for yourself and see what happens. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me.