EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 266 - July 11, 2010 - ISSN 1528-6703     2 of 8

eBay Refines International Ship-to Exclusions

By Lissa McGrath

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A common complaint among eBay sellers in the past was the inability to refine ship-to locations. Those wanting to ship to Europe, for example, but exclude certain countries were unable to - it was either all or nothing! Last year, eBay launched a feature that allows sellers to create a ship-to country exclusion list. Because this is such a useful feature that may be under-utilized by many sellers, here's a closer look at how it works.

The difference between eBay's "International Ship-to Locations" and the newer "Country Exclusion List" can be confusing if you have the default Sell Your Item form options because you will see a link to "Create exclusion list" but not the International Ship-to Locations. You may think that the Country Exclusion List has replaced the Ship-to Locations because that is all you can see, but that is not the case. The Country Exclusion List is simply an additional tool that complements the existing international shipping options and gives you more control over the countries you choose to ship to.

If you don't want to offer International shipping, you can ignore the "Create exclusion list" link entirely. If you do want to sell overseas, you need to turn on the International Shipping Options on the Sell Your Item form.

Go to the section titled "Give buyers shipping details" and click "Add or remove options" next to the section title. Now check the box for "Show international services and options," and make sure the "Exclusion List" box is checked as well.

Once you've saved those settings, a new section will appear on the form called "International Shipping." Now when you use the drop-down menu to change shipping type from "No international shipping" to either flat-rate or calculated, the ship-to locations will appear underneath.

One of the challenges facing sellers is that if you just select a region in the ship-to locations, you have to ship to all countries in that area. Plus, any buyer from a country in your "additional ship-to locations" has to request a shipping quote from you (which you may or may not see before the auction ends).

Using the Country Exclusions List streamlines this process. You can still select the regions in the international ship-to locations if you prefer to use flat-rate shipping, but then you can use the country exclusions list to specifically exclude one or more country from that region.

Most sellers use calculated shipping for international parcels because the cost varies so much from country to country (assuming you aren't using flat-rate Priority Mail boxes). The most effective use of the country exclusion list is to select calculated shipping under "International Shipping," and then in the "ship to" drop-down menu, select "Worldwide." Now you set up your country exclusion list to specifically exclude a country (or entire region) from your ship-to locations (under "Exclude shipping locations," click on "Edit exclusion list"; then click on the "Show all countries" hyperlink next to each region). eBay then automatically provides calculated shipping to every other country in the world. You will never need to deal with a shipping quote request again.

You may notice that some countries feature in more than one region list. For example, Bahrain is in both the Middle East and Asia lists. However, if you exclude a country from one list, it automatically excludes it in the other list. So if you blocked the entire Middle East, when you look at the Asia list, you'll see that the box next to Bahrain is already checked so it is excluded, no matter what other choices you make within the Asian region.

When you use the country exclusion list, Buyer Requirements are automatically turned on to block bidders in countries you don't ship to. This makes sense - why go to all the effort of selecting countries you don't want to ship to, if you don't actually enforce it?

An interesting thing to note is that the Buyer Requirements no longer looks at the country the buyer is registered in. It now looks at their primary shipping address. So if their primary shipping address is in a country you do ship to (maybe they're sending it to a family member) it doesn't matter that they are registered in a country you don't ship to. This may mean you see fewer Buyer Block Exemption requests since the buyers can make the adjustments themselves.

Once you've set up your country exclusion list, it is applied to all of your future listings so you only have to go through the process once. Of course, you can make changes at any time if you want to.

The country exclusion list can save you a lot of time and your buyers a lot of frustration, and in the end, it can mean more bids because buyers in all countries you ship to can determine their shipping cost immediately (provided you use worldwide calculated shipping).

About the author:

Lissa McGrath is the author of three eBay books, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to eBay" 2nd Edition (Alpha, 2010); "The Pocket Idiot's Guide to eBay Motors" (Alpha, 2008); and "20 Questions To Ask Before Selling On eBay" (Career Press, 2006). She is also the editor of eight other eBay books.

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