Since September 2014 many UK sellers on eBay.co.uk have been automatically enrolled on the eBay Global Shipping Programme.
But, what exactly is the global shipping programme?
This is a service provided by the auction giant eBay to its sellers who wish to, more easily, sell their items worldwide. It is free to enroll and, as mentioned, many sellers are being enrolled automatically. In the US eBay say that it is "available to sellers who have a “standard” or above US seller rating with items listed and located in the US".
Once enrolled, when you list your items for sale, the global shipping charges are listed along side the shipping charges on your auction listing, so that all prospective buyers globally can see what the international shipping costs will be if they buy.
If the item is purchased by someone abroad, then the seller pays for the shipping to the eBay UK shipping centre, along with the items unique identifier, that is provided by eBay with the auction. This unique identifier is how eBay know who and where to send the package on to.
Once at the shipping centre the item will be sent internationally to the buyer by fully tracked international delivery. The buyer pays the cost of the international shipping.
The ebay shipping center is being run and managed by Pitney Bowes in the UK.
Which countries will they deliver to?
We think it is about 50 countries that eBay will forward the package on to, these include EU countries like Germany, France, Ireland etc and non EU countries including Australia, Japan, New Zealand and many more.
According to eBay returns are not covered by the global shipping programme, so sellers and buyers will still have to negotiate any issues in the normal way.
The buyer will also be asked to pay any applicable import duties and taxes. These will be calculated by the third party shippers that eBay use based upon the value of the items being imported.
What about payment methods?
Currently eBay is only allowing buyers to pay using Paypal.
The eBay Global Shipping Centre looks to us a lot like a freight forwarder. One that is being sanctioned and authorised by eBay themselves. It does provide a good way to offer international shipping and increase the amount of potential buyers by opening up your sales and auctions to the whole world. But there are, of course, limitations, such as payment only by Paypal and the returns service seems to be non-existent.
This doesn't mean that international sellers can't arrange their own payment methods or buyers have to stop using the other freight forwarders that are available for worldwide shipping.