EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 3024 - March 19, 2013     3 of 5

eBay Cold Calls Sellers to Market Expanded Global Shipping Program

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eBay sees cross-border trade as a major opportunity, but selling internationally presents additional challenges to its sellers. eBay created its new Global Shipping Program to make international trading more transparent for buyers and easier for sellers. But the company has some work to do before more sellers are sold on the advantages of the program.

eBay has been marketing its new Global Shipping Program (GSP) in a number of ways, including promotions and cold-calls, and it has added another eight countries to the program that launched in the fall, including China and other Asian countries. eBay spokesperson Ryan Moore told EcommerceBytes Monday that the program is currently available to the majority of eligible sellers. "The program will be available to all sellers who have a "standard" or above U.S. seller rating with items listed and located in the U.S. in the coming weeks," he said.

In December, eBay Senior Manager of the Global Shipping Program Manish Joneja had told EcommerceBytes the program supported 18 countries, and last week, eBay announced the addition of eight more countries in the program beginning the week of March 25: Japan, China, Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Sweden and South Africa.

eBay described the program in its most recent announcement, "By enrolling for FREE in this program, you'll be able sell to buyers in multiple countries, but ship your packages to a shipping center located in the US - this means you're only responsible for the domestic leg of shipping."

As EcommerceBytes explained late last year:

eBay has partnered with Pitney Bowes on the program so it can offer services similar to those of a freight forwarder - U.S. sellers send international orders to a U.S. hub where Pitney Bowes processes and sends the items to the international buyer. The program includes buyers in UK, Canada and Australia and 15 other European countries.

eBay GSP Promotion - 50% off FVFs
eBay has been running an invitation-only promotion in which it offers sellers 50% off their Final Value Fees for signing up. Sellers who receive the invitation and sign up for the GSP program pay 50% of the usual Final Value Fee - but only for items sold to buyers using GSP.

The promotion started on January 15 and runs through March 31, 2013. (Read details on the promotion Terms and Conditions page.)

Moore said eBay was testing several different "by invitation-only offers" and said the 50% off FVF promotion was one of them.

eBay GSP Cold Calls
eBay has also been making cold calls to sellers to market the Global Shipping Program. Sellers discussing the calls seemed unconvinced, expressing concern that their items would look more expensive to overseas buyers than those from sellers who do not participate in the program.

Some sellers report eBay is also using pop-up messages to advertise the program when they list items for sale internationally.

A seller on an eBay discussion board expressed the feelings of some sellers about the program who feel buyers may be charged higher shipping and duties and blame the seller: "The middlemen are making an absolute killing, and the seller cops the flak!"

Another seller wrote that she thought letting buyers know up front how much shipping and customs cost was a good thing, and wrote, "I do think this program is the wave of the future, but I think that future is about two years out."

Moore said eBay was leveraging several different channels to reach sellers including online and offline methods. "We have been using our telemarketing channel to survey and learn more from potential Global Shipping Program users and to increase awareness among newly eligible sellers," he said.


About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.


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