If you sell on eBay, chances are you’ve heard of eBay's Global Shipping Program.
Whether you’re new to international selling or are looking for ways to make the overall cross-border selling process work better for your business, eBay's GSP is certainly a route worth exploring.
But do the benefits outweigh the negatives? How much does it cost? And how easy is it to get started?
This article aims to give you both sides of the story, so that you can decide for yourself if eBay’s GSP will either help you reach millions more buyers around the world, or if it’s in fact better left untouched.
In a nutshell, eBay’s GSP aims to help eligible sellers in the UK (and US) sell their items to international buyers, in principle opening sellers up to a whole new worldwide audience.
All you need to do is send your purchased item to the UK GSP shipping center and eBay’s global postage program will take care of the rest – international postage, export/import charges, customs, tax etc. etc.
Intrigued? eBay’s GSP is actually pretty straightforward. Here’s how it works:
Video source: youtube.com
Image source: ebay.co.uk
Image source: sellercentre.ebay.co.uk/private/global-shipping-programme
Sounds pretty good so far, right?
So, what exactly are the problems with it?
As simple and easy as the process may be, eBay GSP might not be right for everyone.
In fact, you may be aware of some of the negative press the program has received, with buyers complaining of high charges and slow delivery times.
Here are the main three issues you should take into consideration before using eBay’s GSP:
As you’re effectively adding in multiple middle men, the overall delivery time of your parcel is going to be extended by a few days longer than if you were to have posted it directly to your buyer.
This is to be expected but may put some potential buyers off.
We live in a world where people want things now, and they don’t want to wait. With Amazon Prime and same-day delivery becoming the norm, can you really expect your buyers to wait days, if not weeks, to receive your item?
You will need to weigh up the demand for your product and how quickly your competitors can delivery it too.
For smaller, lightweight items, the GSP international postage charges have been known to be excessively high. Royal Mail would work out considerably cheaper in most cases.
This can be a hugely off-putting factor for potential buyers and something to really bear in mind if you sell smaller items (often best suited for internationally selling anyway).
However, heavier and larger items could actually be sent cheaper using eBay’s GSP rather than Royal Mail, and you would have saved yourself all the trouble of everything in between, so it depends really.
eBay pre-charges import tax beforehand, often adding additional costs to your buyer, even on smaller parcels that may have otherwise slipped through if you weren’t using the Global Shipping Program.
This means if you sell low value, smaller items (because let’s face it, they are cheaper to buy in bulk and more likely to sell faster), your buyers may end up paying more on import fees than if you were to have sent it directly.
To help you decide for yourself if the positives outweigh the negatives, and if the eBay Global Shipping Program is really right for your business or not, we’ve summed up all the need-to-know advantages and disadvantages:
As we’ve already learnt, there are plenty of great things about eBay GSP, great things that can really help you expand your business internationally:
However, we also know there’s some disadvantages to be aware of too before deciding if the GSP is going to be worthwhile:
As discussed in the above advantages and disadvantages of the Global Shipping Program, cost comes up on both sides.
The program itself is completely free to join and free to leave too, so if you wanted to try it out and later decide it's not for you, you can easily opt-out at no charge.
Although that does not necessarily mean you're going to be saving money selling internationally using the GSP as opposed to shipping direct.
As we've already learnt there are a number of factors regarding cost to take into consideration:
You may be thinking:"who cares? I don't have to pay for any of it".
But the thing is, your buyers might care enough to choose a competitor over you or not buy from you again if they felt like they overpaid.
So, overall, it depends on what you're selling.
Do some research into how much it would cost you to ship internationally yourself first, and then see how this compares.
You may find eBay's GSP will actually work out cheaper for your buyers, so don't rule it out based on this point alone.
Currently you can use the GSP to post to the following countries:
EU countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.
Non-EU countries:Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guernsey, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Jersey, Jordan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Martinique, Mexico, Monaco, Montserrat, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Reunion, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks & Caicos Island, UAE, USA, Ukraine, Uruguay, Vietnam.
Keep in mind that the Global Shipping Programme is not responsible for handling any returns or refunds. Instead, eBay encourages you to deal with the buyer directly, depending on the reason for the return.
But no matter what kind of seller you are, you’re only expected to refund the cost of the item and what you charged for domestic postage to the GSP shipping centre. The international postage charges will be refunded by eBay, if applicable.
eBay’s Global Shipping Program can be extremely useful, but it’s not for everyone.
If the items you sell are of low value and lightweight, you might be better off avoiding it, as GSP has been accused of putting some buyers off due to high charges and slower delivery times.
However, if you want to be able to sell internationally and reach a wider audience with less hassle and risk than going it alone, then eBay GSP provides a great opportunity - an opportunity that would not be possible without the help of eBay’s Global Shipping Program.
Of course, as you expand into additional markets, it becomes increasingly challenging to maintain the level of efficiency needed to create a profitable and scalable online store.
You'll need to consider eBay inventory management software to help you grow, scale and build the eCommerce business that you imagined.
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