Selling on eBay gives you access to 135 million buyers in 190 countries. But connecting with buyers is only one part of the international selling process. You also need to comply with international selling requirements, including export or import charges, customs, international postage and taxes. That’s the problem eBay’s Global Shipping Program aims to solve.
Let’s review how the program works and how you can use it to expand your international sales.
What is the eBay Global Shipping Program?
The Global Shipping Program, called the Global Shipping Programme in the U.K., enables sellers to ship their items to buyers around the world. The program launched in 2013 to make it easier for sellers to reach an international audience. Today, it’s one of the most popular ways to ship items on eBay.
The Global Shipping Program covers eligible items shipped from the U.S. or U.K. to over 60 different countries. Once you enroll in the program and list an item for sale, eBay calculates and collects any import charges from buyers. EBay also takes care of shipping all items to the destination country. All you need to do is send the item to eBay's Global Shipping Center.
6 benefits of using eBay’s Global Shipping Program
Expanding your reach to international markets can be a great way to grow your sales. Here are some of the benefits of enrolling in eBay's Global Shipping Program.
Free to enroll
The Global Shipping Program program is free for sellers to join and use. If you’re considering international shipping options, that alone makes the program worth considering.
When you list an item for sale on eBay, it’s automatically made available to buyers in participating countries. This exposure contributes to increased sales as you reach more of the 60 million-plus buyers in over 100 eligible countries.
No extra work
Because eBay handles all the details of shipping internationally, there's no additional work for you. Simply ship the item to eBay's U.S. shipping center. You even get full visibility into the fulfillment process, all the way until the buyer receives the order.
No risk of loss or damage
With traditional international shipping, there's always a risk that items will be lost or damaged in transit. But with the Global Shipping Program, eBay offers buyers protection against loss or damage, so you don't have to worry about it.
Once your parcel reaches a shipping center, eBay takes on responsibility for cross-border selling, such as import/export charges and tax, and the customs process. If your shipment is lost or damaged by a third-party carrier during international transit, you won’t be liable.
Enrolling in this program also protects you against reputational risk within the eBay marketplace. If you receive negative or neutral feedback because your items were lost or damaged during international transit or because of delayed delivery, eBay will remove these reviews from your account.
Competitive shipping rates
EBay has negotiated competitive rates with major carriers so you can offer buyers reasonable shipping charges while still making a profit. If you choose to cover the buyer’s postage costs to the eBay shipping center by providing free domestic postage, eBay will credit you with an automatic five-star rating for postage and packaging charges.
You’ll also automatically receive a five-star rating for postage time whenever you meet the necessary requirements and send the parcel to the shipping center on time.
Easier and less risk for buyers
The Global Shipping Program offers buyer protection for the items it handles, which gives customers peace of mind when making a purchase.
If buyers aren’t satisfied with what they receive, they can easily send items and shipments back to you. EBay will handle customs, duties and shipping on your behalf. This convenient and straightforward option reduces buyer remorse and increases customer satisfaction.
3 challenges of using eBay’s Global Shipping Program
As simple and easy as the process might be, the eBay Global Shipping Program might not be right for everyone or for every type of product. It’s important to note that eBay has at times received negative feedback about the program, with some buyers citing high charges and slow delivery times.
Consider these three common issues before deciding to use this eBay offering.
Slower delivery times
Because you’re involving an additional party, you should expect the overall delivery process to take a few days longer than if you shipped directly to your buyer. The benefits of the Global Shipping Program are obvious — convenience, reliability and fewer seller responsibilities — but the longer timeline might deter some potential buyers.
Amazon Prime conditioned customers to expect easy, inexpensive and speedy fulfillment. Many shoppers want orders to arrive the next day or even the same day. That expectation makes it more difficult to ask your buyers to wait days or even weeks, no matter how valid your reasons are.
Consider how in-demand your product is, as well as how quickly your competitors can deliver the same products to international locations.
Higher international postage for smaller items
For smaller, lightweight items, the Global Shipping Program’s international postage charges could be excessively high. For many of these products, there are cheaper options for sellers and buyers alike. If your business is predominantly in small and lightweight items, this eBay program might not be as attractive for your needs or for your buyers.
Heavier and larger items, however, can be cheaper when fulfilled through the Global Shipping Program. For those items, lower shipping costs are another benefit of handing off international shipping responsibilities to eBay.
The good news is that you aren’t forced to enroll all your products in the Global Shipping Program. When you have an automated system for inventory management, you’re well-positioned to identify the products that are best suited for this and other eBay programs.
Potentially higher import taxes
EBay pre-charges for import taxes, which creates additional costs for your buyer and affects the final sale price. Depending on the shipment, your buyers might be hit with charges they’d otherwise avoid if you weren’t using the Global Shipping Program.
If your business specializes in smaller, low-value items, your buyers may end up paying more on import fees than if you ship directly. Keep this in mind, and determine what makes the most sense for your business.
What’s next for EBay international sales?
In late 2022, the company launched eBay International Shipping, which shares the same benefits as the Global Shipping Program and eBay international standard delivery. Where this new offering stands out is by adding features for U.S. sellers. It’s easy to set up because eBay will automatically update new listings after enrollment.
Sellers enrolled in this new offering benefit from simpler, lower-cost shipping options. EBay directly handles international returns and refunds while letting sellers retain the sale proceeds. EBay International Shipping also improves seller protections, such as “Item Not Received” claims.
Eligible sellers that already use the Global Shipping Program will be automatically enrolled in eBay International Shipping. When you’re eligible, eBay will notify you via email and Seller Hub.
New or current Global Shipping Program listings will default to eBay International Shipping. If you use another service for international shipping, such as eBay International Standard Delivery, you’ll need to manually update existing listings after enrolling.
EBay International Shipping is worth exploring as a valuable addition to your international selling strategy. If you already enjoy the advantages of the Global Shipping Program or want more than what eBay International Standard Delivery provides, this could be the offering for you.
Use eBay to grow your international business
One of the main ways to grow your business with eBay is by entering new markets. The Global Shipping Program gives you access to an international audience without adding complexity to your workflow.
Additionally, because eBay takes care of all the complexities of international shipping, your people gain back time to focus on running the business. Even if something goes wrong with the odd order, your risk is minimized, especially because eBay protects your seller reputation against negative reviews sparked by fulfillment problems you can’t control.
If you’re thinking of selling to other countries, eBay's Global Shipping Program is a great way to expand your ecommerce business and reach new markets without having to deal with the hassle of shipping internationally.