|Mon Mar 19 2012 22:10:45|
USPS Smooths Way for eBay China Imports
By: Ina Steiner
While Julia Wilkinson blogged today about the challenges U.S. sellers face with regard to international shipping, the United States Postal Service continues to make it easier for foreign sellers to ship items into the U.S.
An EcommerceBytes reader who ordered an item on eBay.com sent me a photo of the package he received today. The package comes from a Chinese seller taking advantage of a service called "ePacket," the result of a 2010 trilateral agreement between the USPS, China Post and eBay Greater China.
eBay sellers in China sent 30,000 parcels a day using ePacket last year. Sellers can track their shipments with electronic notifications; upon arrival in the U.S., the shipments are processed as domestic First-Class Mail with a one to three-day delivery standard.
eBay has more plans to make it easier for cross border sellers. In a talk given earlier this month, President of Global eBay Marketplaces Devin Wenig said eBay had plans for a global shipping solution in which sellers could sell to anyone in the world, but ship to a local address.
"This year we are launching global returns. This year we're going to have a global shipping solution which is going to make it significantly easier for people in 39 countries, including the United States, to reach counter parties across the world," Wenig said - this will be a "big year" for eBay when it comes to shipping, fulfillment, returns and buyer protection.
While sellers of commodity goods might find such a service appealing, I've heard from many sellers who have problems with services that provide international buyers with a U.S. address and arrange shipping from their U.S. warehouse to the buyers' location overseas. While eBay sellers can block buyers from other countries, they can't (easily) block orders from forwarding services, and sellers who don't want to ship to international customers may not have a choice if eBay helps masks the true destination of those orders.
We'll be covering tomorrow's preview of a new online shipping product that the USPS will launch in April - no details available yet, but it would be nice if it helped solve the challenges Julia outlined in her blog post.