Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon June 10 2013 20:56:22

eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping

By: Ina Steiner

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"USPS price hike has KILLED my international sales," reads the title of one thread on the Etsy discussion boards where sellers discuss the effect of the latest postage increases have had on international orders.

Sellers on every marketplace and on their own websites must also deal with higher shipping costs, of course. "Many other sellers have come to these Boards, talking about how terribly high the postage now is when selling internationally," wrote an eBay seller in response to a colleague on this discussion board thread.

One Etsy seller had figured out a strategy to combat the problem: he sets shipping so there is no additional charge for more than 1 item, and found international buyers are ordering multiple items from his shop. Since making the change, "it seems (international buyers) order 2 or 3 pipes so they can spread the shipping over more items," he explained.

Sellers in Australia seemed particularly hard hit by higher shipping costs to North America. One seller noted a rise in the number of "non paying buyers" since the higher postage rates went into effect in that country.

What strategies do you use when it comes to international shipping? Have you sought out different carriers or tried using consolidators? Do you limit the types of items you sell internationally? Do you think the high cost of shipping is having a negative impact on ecommerce?




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Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping   eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 10 21:46:40 2013

On an artsite other than Etsy or Ebay I list small art that sells from $10 to 25.00. (I will not ship large paintings outside the US). I like to ship worldwide but shipping is so steep that I now put a notice in my listings.  ''For buyers outside of the USA please check shipping costs before you bid''  I've had only 3 NPB's since last Nov. and all three were from another country.  Once faced with the shipping costs ($10.00 on up) they simply do not pay.  For a while I shipped only to US but would then get requests from other countries to sell to them.  I'm afraid we will all still get NPBs because a lot of buyers just don't read.  They bid first and then think the shipping costs are high.  I charge as close to actual shipping as I can get. Unfortunately for them, this site is very strict about NPBs and will not allow them to buy on the site until they pay for the unpaid item. (Not everyone works like Ebay) ;-)

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This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles
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Mon Jun 10 23:59:56 2013

I believe International sales will die with the increases, but it only become in less International buyers asking or buying.

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping   eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 11 00:01:29 2013

I closed my International sales, except for small items to Canada. Too many International buyers file Ebay & Paypal INR claims. Postage costs are too high to take the risk for a small seller like me. Also on a side note, I no longer believe it will be Ebay that puts me out of business, but the Post Office. They have doubled and tripled rates for the last two years. I am not sure we can weather another double up raise next January. I am already doing away with all my heavy collectibles, dishes and other items that weigh more than 13 ounces.  

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by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 11 00:26:45 2013

I used to sell a LOT more Internationaly before these rate increases than I do now.

However I SUSPECT but of course cannot PROVE that one BIG stumbling block is NOT the exact rate charged by the USPS--as bad as that is---but the rate SHOWN BY EBAY on these items.

I sell (and am still selling briskly) a small lightweight item not avail anywhere else for a rare motorcycle.  The PACKED weight (pair of items;  tissue paper; sheet of bubble wrap (1 sq foot) sturdy small box in side a POLY MAILER envelope---is  approx 4 ounces and change--so it ships at the 5 ounce mark.

This WAS being cited by ebay shipping quote as being an item it would cost $28 USD to ship!  

I went and adjusted the weight--and it is STILL showing as being a $15 or higher item to ship!  

I CANNOT get it to show the CORRECT weight to shipping ratio.

Usually this ships at UNDER $5 for USA sales and about $12 for International.

Now because of course there IS a difference in the price due to Classes of mail and distance etc I can't just say Oh I will ship this for xxx price world wide.  

If there is a huge difference I will refund.  

And the other day an inept Postal Worker (who knew???)   tried to CHARGE me $39 USD to mail this SAME item--to COMPLETELY the WRONG country--and at a mail rate I have NEVER requested and certainly did NOT ask for that day.  

The "explanation"???   "I only do what the screen tells me to do".  Umn---if the "screen" told you to go take an AK and---well we know how THAT one ends.

So--watch what the price QUOTED by ebay is--and DON'T for a second believe that it is CORRECT for your item.  It could be what is scaring the buyers AWAY.  

I am not sure HOW to view this tho--any suggestions on THAT would be welcomed!  

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping   eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping

by: Ebay Seller-Ebay Buyer This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 11 02:06:25 2013

The post office has found a way to hurt U.S. sellers, non-U.S. buyers, Ebay and most likely themselves also.  I sell vinyl records and the cost to ship 1 record to Europe or Asia has jumped from $14 to $21. The only international sales I get are for the occasional very rare and valuable record. But almost no one wins a $5 record and pays $21 for shipping.  Before the huge price hike; about 25% of my sales were to non-U.S. buyers.  Now I'd estimate only about 5% are to non-U.S. buyers.  A huge drop off and just 1 more reason to not sell much on Ebay.  The post office hurt everyone including themselves; as there has to be a huge drop off in international sales

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping   eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Tue Jun 11 02:33:49 2013

You should offer Free Shipping and just roll it into the price.

Buyers want Free Shipping.  

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping   eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping

by: Watching the Wheels This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 11 07:10:06 2013

I don't even attempt to offer international, anymore.

I never had HUGE sales, here, so with the new prohibitive costs of shipping, I'm not willing to shoulder the inherent risks involved.

It would be nice IF the Post Office, Paypal, and Government were willing to do more to support their own citizens.

EXPORTING has ALWAYS been an economic strength.

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping   eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Jun 11 08:14:16 2013

If eBay weren't so greedy they would have negotiated with Pitney Bowes to make their Global Shipping Program cheaper than USPS International shipping. Sellers would have flocked to the Global Shipping Program and both eBay and Pitney would have profited.

As it stands, eBay must be losing a small fortune from USPS International increases.  We used to do brisk international sales on eBay but USPS increases ended that. USPS is surely suffering as well due to the lost international shipping volume.

Greed really does destroy companies.

But how is it that the Chinese can ship so cheaply to the USA?

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping   eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping

by: ssusannss This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 11 08:26:37 2013

I discontinued international shipping because of the increased costs. Now, nobody wins. Nice way to shoot yourselves in the foot, USPS, way to go.  

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping   eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Tue Jun 11 08:40:02 2013

Before the USPS got rid of ground (sea) delivery, books were a very good selling item overseas. The postage was comparable with domestic rates - it just took 6 weeks.

When the USPS eliminated that option a few years ago, my book business went down the gurgler.

Now only the more desirable books & reference materials, i.e. higher priced items, are sale-able but that brings in the risk of non-delivery, either through customs delay, loss or scam. Since preyPal and co-conspirator eBay will not cover that segment, one is left to engage third party insurers. The one fly in that ointment is that the buyer has to testify that the item was not received in writing or e-mail. If that does not happen, you aren't insured.

Either way, the postage increase has cut my international business by a good half.

Ebay shipping does not offer all of the (cheaper) options the USPS does, such as letter/flat item rates. So the shipping charges are already inflated and PreBay/Pal gets their cut of the action up front.

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping   eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping

by: WhoKnewIt This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 11 08:52:11 2013

I no longer ship international.  Seems the USPS is slashing their own throats at every turn.  They need more money so they raise the rates.  I wonder just how many Sellers this latest debacle has hurt.  They not only cut MY business they certainly cut their own.

@ eGadfly "You should offer Free Shipping and just roll it into the price."

Then is really isn't "free" is it?  To me that is a deceptive practice.....JMHO

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping   eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping

by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 11 08:55:56 2013

Demand to fire Donahue at USPS.

Foreign seller still continue to sell $0.99, $1.99, $2.99, $3.99, $4.99 $5.99 items for (1oz to 6oz+), etc.  with DELIVERY TRACKING.

AND USPS delivers these parcels to U.S. destination.   USPS is in cahoots with our competition.  

If USPS charge us $8.00+ to Asia and Australia and $6.00+ to Canada, USPS is charging ALL US sellers in order to subsidize the delivery of foreign parcels to US destination.

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping   eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping

by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 11 09:00:37 2013

Don't offer free international shipping.
Thieving foreign buyer will definitely issue INR.  Ebay and Paypal will rule these INR in favor of these thieves.

You will end up losing your item and $8 shipping.

After USPS raise rates, my international INR tripled.  Learn from my experience.  

Stop shipping international.  Ebay and USPS is cahoots.   Ebay never criticize USPS because ebay like USPS to deliver Asian parcels to the US.

Fire both Donahues.

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping   eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping

by: JoyfulA This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 11 09:01:18 2013

Write your congressperson to complain. USPS is now supposed to be funding 75 years worth of pensions upfront, which is ridiculous.

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping   eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 11 09:39:00 2013

Federal gov't with USPS has a deal with China. If they don't play along then China will not lend money to USA. So if USA does not get to borrow the money - who will pay the billions that we (USA) sends to corrupt countries, drug lords etc. etc. etc. That also includes the billions that have been sent to Iraq and Afghanistan and becomes lost money. No one can say where why or how it disappeared.(Curious as to why the feds - starting at the top- have not pushed initiated investigation into the who, where. - Stealing, someone should be held accountable)
After all, we have to borrow money(with interest) to give away..
Makes sense. - then raise taxes and do away with programs to offset.
Second language should be Chinese not Spanish.
ebay has the global shipping in a way of replacing the loss that occurred with the USPS raise in rates. Lower sales - lower FVF. Have to make it up somehow. Hard to believe that etsy did a large volume of international sales. USPS does not make sense why the rates went so high- adding a few more nails in the coffin. Probably congress was involved with the rates being  raised to the degree that it did.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Jun 11 11:49:08 2013

@ Ed

Buyers do like free shipping or at least the majority of them do.  That has been proven time and time again and it has nothing to do with Ebay.  But you can't do that for international buyers.  You would be so overpriced for US buyers that you would lose all sales.

@freddy

You stated "ebay has the global shipping in a way of replacing the loss that occurred with the USPS raise in rates. Lower sales - lower FVF. Have to make it up somehow."  This isn't correct.  Ebay NEVER made any extra FVFs on International shipping.  So the raise in rates only affects Ebay to the extent that we lose the sales entirely because shipping is so expensive.

But as far as a FVF on the international shipping, that is not income Ebay needs to replace as it never had income off it to begin with.

That isn't how the FVF on shipping is calculated.  If a seller offers Free shipping to US buyers and then states an additional amount of shipping for international buyers.  The seller pays NO FVF on shipping as the FVF is ALWAYS calculate on the US shipping rate no matter where it is shipping to.

If you stated $5.00 for US shipping and international shipping is $20.00. If you get the international sale, your FVF is calculated off the $5.00 amount.

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping   eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Tue Jun 11 12:05:46 2013

The first month after this latest international postage increase, I shipped MORE than usual! My sales are still running about par for the course. I certainly didn't discontinue international sales just because the rate went up. Some international buyers object to the rates and so I guess go elsewhere. Others want the product and go ahead and pay. I did have a UK buyer the other day try to tell me I needed to ship under a different mail class and then it would ONLY cost about half of what I was charging. Well and good for her to be guessing how big and how heavy what she bought would be. I ended up having to subsidize over $1 of her postage, a decision I had made in January as the change in prices breaks at between 4 and 5 ounces. Since all my items up to 6 ounces are shipped by a certain mail class/cost, I only charge a set amount for them. Studying my sales from prior years and what the shipping cost, I realized taking a $1 hit occasionally would help bring in buyers that I would still profit well from the actual sale.

But by not allowing international customers, you are losing any potential buyers than might have come your way. I had thought my international sales would be dead after the increase, but at this point they account for about 20% of my orders. I'm glad I didn't turn them off!

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping   eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping

by: minnie This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 11 12:13:55 2013

I charge the retail rate for my domestic and international sales.  I do add a 50ΒΆ h/f for FCP and $1 h/f for international sales.

Since I don't sell in a high scam category, most of my light weight items can ship FCP with no delivery confirmation and no problems.  Most of my buyers tend to wait close to 40 days before contact if there are any problems.

My international sales have dropped since the postal rate hike, but nothing to get upset about.  Less worries about lost items.

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping   eBay and Etsy Sellers Bemoan High Cost of International Shipping

by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 11 13:00:45 2013

Mr. Gadfly, I tried rolling the shipping (or at least most of the shipping) into the selling price of my items on Etsy a couple years ago. My sales had been very slow and, after this move, they became very, VERY slow. So I changed the pricing back so the items are priced the same as I charge at art fairs. Within a few months, my sales picked up beyond my wildest dreams!

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by: tmooreseller This user has validated their user name.
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Tue Jun 11 13:44:29 2013

It has been very difficult to guage what the best move is. I rely on USPS for shipping anywhere, and it is still the cheapest form. However, I am seriously debating with myself whether I should stop international sales if, as everyone says, the customer does not want to pay for the shipping. There is therefore no choice but to roll shipping into the price and increase the price. I don't see anything unethical about it. If the customer won't pay something toward getting it I won't sell it to them. There seems to be a pervasive sense of entitlement when it comes to buying an item that makes me wonder why I am in this business to begin with. I'm sorry, but I will not bear all the costs if the costs take my profit margin down to zero. I am in this business to make a living, and if I can't do that then there is something seriously wrong with the whole economy.

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