Using eBay’s Global Shipping Program – a Guide for New Sellers

Be sure to check out our follow-up post Does eBay’s Global Shipping Program Make International E-Commerce Better For Buyers?

If you’re a new eBay seller in the US or UK, you have probably already noticed something called the Global Shipping Program (GSP). To put it simply, the GSP is eBay’s international delivery program and it claims to simplify the process of selling items to international buyers.

As a seller, you ship the purchased item to a US/UK depot where the contents are verified, customs forms are completed and then the item is sent on to the buyer. The US/UK shipping centre takes all responsibility for the item once it has arrived at their depot.

Some sellers are reluctant to sell to international buyers due to the perceived hassle and complexity of customs and international postage, not to mention the potential for scams and fraud. GSP seems to offer a great alternative for sellers looking to expand or utilise their eBay business. Or does it? Read on to find out the good, the bad and the important details of the Global Shipping Program.

The advantages of the Global Shipping Program

The main positives mirror GSP’s unique selling point. International customs, taxes and additional charges are all calculated and organised by the US/UK shipping centre. Not only does GSP take care of the practicalities, but it also protects sellers by taking responsibility for the item as soon as it reaches the US/UK depot. This protection means sellers do not have to refund buyers if the item is lost or damaged after leaving the country, taking away a huge source of concern for many eBayers nervous about selling internationally.

On the rating side of things, negative/neutral feedback from buyers relating to item handling during international transit is removed if a seller uses GSP to ship an international item. Low ratings for delivery speed and/or shipping and handling costs also do not count towards performance standards as long as the seller sends the package to GSP within a reasonably fast time-frame.

It is an unfortunate reality that a small number of countries have a reputation for being ‘hot spots’ for eBay scams. Due to this, some sellers prefer to avoid selling to individuals from certain countries. Picking and choosing which countries to ship to is possible with GSP, allowing sellers to still retain some control over international shipping options.

Some drawbacks

All sounding a bit too good to be true? Well, you’d be partly right. There are some catches to GSP. Firstly, if you didn’t already guess, the program is limited to US and UK sellers at this time. In addition, not all items are eligible to be sent via GSP (read on for more details).

The next disadvantage is far more significant, despite it not directly affecting sellers. GSP charges buyers with two delivery fees – one to cover the cost for the seller sending the item to the shipping depot, and then another for the international postage and related fees. This increases the cost of the item for the buyer and also slows down the overall process.

Something else that can be off-putting to buyers is the inability for GSP to combine orders at this time. International shipping costs are only ‘estimated’ before the buyer purchases the item, which also doesn’t inspire confidence to buy. Thinking about shipping costs, GSP has been accused of quoting higher taxes and custom fees than necessary, especially when sending items to neighbouring Canada from the US.

There is no doubt that GSP can help sellers avoid the consequences of the most common eBay scams, but it should be considered that scammers will always find a way around new obstacles. So using GSP does not necessarily mean you have 0% chance of being a victim to a scam.

Useful, but not flawless

The Global Shipping Program offers both new and experienced eBay sellers the opportunity to sell to an international market with less hassle and risk. The liability for delivery is GSP’s, with sellers only having to prove package was sent and received at the US/UK depot. International shipping for many Ebay sellers would not be a consideration without the help and assistance of GSP. However, GSP has also been accused of causing lower sales due to buyers being put off by the higher charges and slower delivery time. Although GSP may offer a higher standard of seller protection, some eBayers prefer not to rely on a third party to deliver items to purchasers and continue using their own tried and trusted methods.

The details

Participation in GSP is free and is currently available for sellers in the UK and US to deliver items to 62 other participating countries. GSP automatically generates the cost of international shipping based on the item’s size, weight, category and destination.

Items must be listed in a category supported by GSP and Paypal payments must be accepted by the seller. eBay’s GSP specifies a maximum package weight and size, and the item cannot be worth more than £1500/$2500 (less for certain destination countries). Delivery addresses must be a residential or street address – with the exception of P.O. Boxes in Canada.

Have you used eBay’s Global Shipping Program yet? We’d love to hear about your experience – get in contact via the comment form below. 

Be sure to check out our follow-up post Does eBay’s Global Shipping Program Make International E-Commerce Better For Buyers?

Gemma is our all things eBay expert. Originally from the UK, she now lives in Canada and travels extensively. You can read about her travels at her blog Off Track Travel.