08/19/2021 at 9:35 pm #90409
I sell a lot of small items that ship in small boxes at the 4 thru 12 ounce level, usually first class mail. A sales boost might come if I begin to offer international shipping. In the past, eBay Global Shipping didn’t really give a boost. And eBay send does not sound so great either.
I have one test auction right now but cannot get things exactly right for the shipping charges. and have some questions. Or need suggestions.
Is PirateShip a good way to buy & print the international labels and/or does eBay let me print them? What is the best method for buying labels?
In the shipping area for my test auction, the country dropdown box shows Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands but it does not handle them correctly. (They both work Ok when using United States and a zip code though.)
@craig-rex: How are you buying your labels? and what is the trick to getting the country dropdown box to work correctly for Puerto Rico.
08/20/2021 at 10:07 am #90412LukastreasuretroveParticipant
- Location: Chevy Chase, MD
@Timo – I use Pirate Ship for all my international sales under 4 lbs and smaller than 1 cubic foot. In those situations it is always cheaper than any eBay offered option. I stopped using GSP due to the added cost for the buyer, and eBay send has too many quirks which to me make it undesireable. I noticed a small bump in sales once I began passing on my discount to my buyers, especially to Canada.
I’ve created 3 shipping policies in eBay to handle them. One for under 8 ounces, one for greater than 8 ounces up to 1 lb, and a third for packages greater than 1 lb. and less than 4 lbs. Here is a link to their pricing structure. Simple Export Rate | Pirate Ship
I have the two policies under 1 lb set to charge a flat rate for international shipments into which I’ve built in the cost of adding insurance to shipments ($10.49 + $1.00). I use shipsaver for most of my insurance purchases, but Pirate Ship offers insurance as well (slightly more expensive than shipsaver).
After you have registered, you must contact them and ask to have the Simple Export Rate applied to your account or you won’t get the best prices.
Not sure what is going on for you regarding Puerto Rico and USVI. They should ship as if domestic.
Hope that helps.
08/20/2021 at 12:39 pm #90417
@lukastreasuretrove: thanks for your reply. For one of your auctions, select Puerto Rico or USVI as your destination “country” in the dropdown list and you may see what I am talking about. eBay doesn’t handle that very well and tells buyer to contact the seller about it. If buyer enters their destination with a US zip code, then all looks good. And since they may be signed in with eBay knowing their zip code, maybe they never need the dropdown box.
I am already leaning towards PirateShip for this. Perhaps I should enable my auction for just Canada as a starting point.
Still need more input from the SL hive mind.
08/20/2021 at 7:42 pm #90422TemudginParticipant
- Location: Jacksonville FL
@Timo – I’m not sure what you mean by your country dropdown box not working correctly for PR/USVI. I have shipped to both and packages go same as domestic mail with a zip code as LTT says. It’s not international mail to a different country so I wouldn’t expect it to show as such. Any buyer’s mailing address from there will have a zip code.
I also ship international directly and have been since I started selling on eBay in 1997. I use eBay labels for the most part. I have found that international Pirate Ship labels (First Class or Priority) are usually the same price as eBay now. I also find that Pirate Ship’s Simple Export Rate is within a few cents of eBay Send. No surprise there since Simple Export Rate packages goes to a consolidator similar to eBay Send, except that Pirate Ship’s consolidator is in New York instead of Kentucky. The printed label only shows it going to NY.
I have found that my eBay account does not play well with Pirate Ship’s Simple Export Rate tracking, though, and it confuses buyers. A label from off eBay requires a manual entry of the tracking number, and the Simple Export Rate tracking number generated upon shipment only shows final delivery to the New York consolidator. Ebay recognizes that as delivered. Pirate Ship has some kind of proprietary internal system to show tracking from New York to final delivery so it is accessible but requires additional steps. The first time I used it my foreign buyer got an eBay message that their package had been delivered in New York and they were very irate until I figured out what had happened. I ended up sending them a Pirate Ship link and an apologetic explanation. Maybe there’s a workaround, @Lukastreasuretrove?
For all buyer locations US and foreign, I use eBay calculated shipping. So long as I enter size and weight correctly, it’s been dead on for years. (Except for the dreaded FedEx packages.) I add at least $1 handling fee to cover insurance, and I also use Shipsaver (with a threshold of $50 and above). Post Office First Class International Package (up to 4 lbs with dimensional limits) is not insured, otherwise.
One thing about Shipsaver is that they have a list of destination countries for which they won’t insure packages. Any place they won’t insure, I don’t ship to, as I figure they have the data that tells them where it’s too risky. Ebay allows you to pick and choose countries to exclude. I found that once I picked the excluded countries, eBay listing flow automatically populated my preferences for all new listings. Also, there are special requirements for jewelry and a few other things to be aware of with Shipsaver. A claim can get denied if you don’t follow their requirements.
If you ship direct international, the eBay label generated will be the proper customs form. For First Class International Package it is a single sheet that can be adhered to the package like any domestic label (after you sign and date it). Priority International will generate a four part form that you need to put in an adhesive clear plastic envelope available at the PO, after signing and dating. Ebay will automatically populate the contents description line on the customs forms using your listing title which can be an invitation for a hold up in the foreign country’s customs while they open your package to figure out what it is. Also, there aren’t enough characters; it’ll only accept about half of the eBay listing title. I recommend shortening the description to a very short, generic statement as to the contents. (If you use Pirate Ship you’ll have to generate all the information from scratch anyway.) So, for example, a listing for “Vtg Smith & Wesson Dark Brown Leather Police Duty Belt Holster Inside Thumbbreak” became simply “Belt Holster, Leather” for the customs form. I usually take the extra step of providing the proper Harmonized Tariff Number but you don’t need to do that.
One last thing about international: Ever since Managed Payments came on line, eBay labels does not generate the proper customs form for APO/FPO/DPO packages so I always go to Pirate Ship for those addresses.
Bottom line is that eBay international labels are fine (except APO etc) and calculated shipping functions properly but there is a learning curve. I actually find the eBay international label interface to be slightly more user friendly than Pirate Ship’s.
08/20/2021 at 9:26 pm #90423
@temudgin: Thanks for your input. In regards to PR/USVI go to some of your own auctions and play with the country dropdown box on the Shipping and Payments tab. See if when you select Bahrain or Malta, it will display the shipping charges. But if you put PR or USVI (or Marshall Islands), eBay will put a message out that states: “This item will ship to Puerto Rico, but the seller has not specified shipping options. Contact the seller and request a shipping method to your location.”
Yes of course these locations have zip codes and USPS service just like 50 states. So perhaps it is an eBay quirk BUT
For some sellers, the above does not happen. So there must be myriad different setups for this. I am looking to find one that works for me.
And I am starting to recall why I limit buyers to US.
08/20/2021 at 10:23 pm #90425TemudginParticipant
- Location: Jacksonville FL
Oh, I see what you’re saying. I was able to recreate your glitch by pretending I was a buyer of one of my items, from a different browser, and rather than entering a USVI zip code for a US address, I used the pull down country selection menu. That is a strange glitch. Some idiot at eBay put those locations on the international list and should not have. I can only hope that buyers from those locations have registered their correct addresses as US so their shipping charges are automatically calculated correctly when they check out, just like those of us on the mainland. Like I said, I’ve had a few items go to territories and the buyers didn’t seem to have any trouble figuring it out with my calculated shipping.
Yeah, there’s a bit of a learning curve with international shipping. But I think it’s worth it. Just remember: I often snipe items for resale from sellers who won’t ship international because I know my international buyers will pay lots more.
08/23/2021 at 10:36 pm #90444
@Temudgin: The eBay PR/USVI quirks went away when I changed my test item’s domestic shipping from first class calculated to a fixed amount. The international shipping charges were already fixed amounts. I need to try a few more permutations when time avails. Thanks.
08/25/2021 at 12:24 am #90458SimonParticipant
- Location: San Francisco Bay Area
I’ve been using eBay Standard International Delivery for about 18 months now. I use it on low value items and it works very well. You get tracking all the way to the destination and the item itself is insured (but the insurance doesn’t refund the shipping cost). I’ve made a couple of insurance claims and was paid quickly. It’s much cheaper than GSP for the buyer so you’re likely to get more sales. For high value items I still fall back to using GSP.
With eBay Standard Delivery, shipping up to 8oz is $11 – $14 depending on the destination. Over 8oz, the shipping charge jumps to $21 but it’s no very weight sensitive. Up to 2lbs seems to be only a little bit more more expensive than 9oz for example.
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