Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Mar 21 2016 22:12:31

USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP

By: Ina Steiner

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According to the Postal Regulatory Commission, the USPS will launch a market test of an experimental product called GeM Merchant next month (GeM stands for Global eCommerce Marketplace). The program is similar to eBay's Global Shipping Program, which eBay began testing in 2012 and has continued to expand since.

You can learn more about the USPS GeM Merchant program in Tuesday's EcommerceBytes Newsflash

Just as with eBay's GSP, US merchants display duties and taxes to international shoppers; when merchants receive a GeM order, they send it to the GeM processing facility in the US. "After the item arrives at the GeM processing facility, the Postal Service indicates that it or its supplier will inspect the item for verification and security, as well as prepare and arrange for the item's international shipment and delivery to the overseas address."

eBay partnered with Pitney Bowes to offer its program. The USPS is also partnering with a third-party service, though the PRC did not disclose its identity.

Last year, eBay released some numbers about its program, revealing that seventy million listings - 26% of all listings on eBay - were available to international buyers through the Global Shipping Program.

It would be interesting to hear what readers think of the eBay program - pros and cons - and what you think of the USPS's plan to offer a similar program. Is it something you would consider using?




Comments (22) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP   USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Tue Mar 22 02:21:41 2016

Do we get e-packet rates like Asian sellers? Count me in!!!

Seriously, eBays Global Shipping Program is way too expensive, and the only benefit is the assumption of risk once the package gets to the Kentucky GSP processing center.

USPS insurance is not really insurance at all, especially the ''Free'' coverage on Priority Mail packages. If the package was delivered and scanned by a carrier, the Postal Service will consider it as shipped.

If you as a seller do not have the package signed for (for $2.45), you are liable if the buyer simply claims non-receipt. Sounds like Amazon, doesn't it?

So the issues here are the cost and whether a shipment is TRULY covered by insurance. Would the USPS turn prospective International buyers away like eBay because of the high fees? And will they (money-back) guarantee delivery overseas?

Perminate Link for USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP   USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 22 05:47:34 2016

The USPS could hand deliver in a gold plated limo all these packages to canada or elsewhere and I still wouldn't ship OUT OF THE USA.

Its not really the price you pay to get the package there but the price you pay when Fleecebay babysits these buyers. Until Fleecebay changes the rules to protect the sellers the USPS is just spinning their wheels.

Perminate Link for USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP   USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Mar 22 07:28:08 2016

No, thanks, it's just another layer. If they were efficient to begin with this would not be needed. I can imagine that the only reason that they would implement such a scheme is for the added fees that they will receive. And if they are partnering with a third party you can count on the fact that the fees will be high, just like eBay's GSP.

We stopped mailing internationally after US Postal rates shot up sky high (seriously, $15 for a one ounce package?) and when eBay started requiring sellers to pay postage on returned orders.

I doubt if international buyers are on board with paying sky high shipping fees either.

But still, China gets the premium pricing on the backs of US tax payers.

Perminate Link for USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP   USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Tue Mar 22 10:24:11 2016

That's because the Chinese handout is useful to those who wish to "prove" that government can't even deliver the mail, just like forcing the USPS to pay 75 years in advance "proves" that pensions are impossible.

Perminate Link for USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP   USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Mar 22 11:20:07 2016

As Jimmy Durante once said: " Everybody want's to get into the act...."

Perminate Link for USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP   USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP

This user has validated their user name. by: IDKwhoIare

Tue Mar 22 13:41:43 2016

What are the real benefits of using a service like these? [GSP or GeM].

I pack better than they because I care and it directly affects my bottom line.  I am not up for adding another person in the unpack/repack scenario overseas mail gets. Will using USPS in this way at least remove the US Customs layer of that? Doubtful.

How will using & paying for the service help with US Postal theft by their employees?  It is adding more exposure to more people into that mix as well.

USPS would have to convince other countries to provide a reliable, safe, track-able means of delivery on their end before I would consider it. Is it going to do that?

Is there a monetary, time or anything savings that using them provides?  Not seeing that either.  They will charge for the service - the forms are not that complicated nor time-consuming - WHAT would I get for my money?

Like a lot of Sellers, I stopped shipping Internationally when eBay said we had to reimburse original shipping and return shipping.  At other sites I stopped when USPS rates went to ridiculous levels for 1-13 oz.  It did hurt to lose 30% of my sales, but I would have lost more if I had tried to continue selling Internationally under the circumstances.

If there are any benefits that would outweigh the concerns above, I would like to read about them.

Perminate Link for USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP   USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP

This user has validated their user name. by: IDKwhoIare

Tue Mar 22 13:45:45 2016

PS:  and what others have said about the Insurance...what does it cover?  Does it take 8-12 weeks to receive reimbursement IF they decide we deserve it?  Is there an Appeals process? Blah, blah, blah.  

Perminate Link for USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP   USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP

This user has validated their user name. by: IDKwhoIare

Tue Mar 22 13:48:35 2016

PPS: and how well will the different USPS groups deal with each other?  If P.O. breaks/loses item(s) prior to arriving at GeM...will they help with that?

Perminate Link for USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP   USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP

by: LucasBuck This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 22 15:38:29 2016

Wonderful eBay. eBay's program has been a smashing success for those of us small-business owners who couldn't take the time to figure out international postage or fill out all the customs forms. We get a lot of sales from customers who take advantage of eBay's Global Shipping program. Those are sales we simply would not have receive otherwise. It's understandable why the US Postal Service would want to emulate this winning formula.

Perminate Link for USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP   USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 22 16:12:25 2016

Lucas - I have to agree with you.

For me as well, GSP has worked like a charm %99 of the time.

The details though here are scant ... how and will eBay work with this program? Will they see it as a competition and not allow it (since they have a deal in place with PB)? Will eBay outsource some of the overflow in KY to USPS "here"? What kind of cost(s) will shippers incur?

Lastly - does this fundamentally change the difference(s) between Priority Mail and Express Mail (since Priority never guaranteed delivery vs Express that did ....

Perminate Link for USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP   USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP

by: LucasBuck This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 22 17:39:29 2016

Good points, Pace. I'm on the wait-and-see list as well, especially regarding the possible increase in cost to the shipper. But at least the USPS is doing something. After years and years of losing billions and not doing much more than hiking postage rates or threatening to close down Post Offices, at least they're trying to try something new to bring in some income.

Perminate Link for USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP   USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP

by: DZT This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 22 22:55:36 2016

Like a lot of Sellers, I stopped shipping Internationally when eBay said we had to reimburse original shipping and return shipping.

Nothing sold on eBay leaves the country until eBay changes that policy.

Perminate Link for USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP   USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP

by: WhoKnewIt This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 23 00:41:07 2016

Oh please!  The USPS can't even get a first class letter from one state to another without it taking over a week....what would make anyone think this latest scheme will work?  I quit shipping outside the US long ago....ain't worth the trouble!

Perminate Link for USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP   USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Wed Mar 23 00:43:49 2016

I don't sell on ebay and with Amazon I only am set up for shipping most products within the US other than those South American orders that are shipped to Miami to get forwarded on at no cost to me nor do I feel in the least responsible for them once they hit Miami. I sell on eCRATER and from there I will ship to many places internationally. My buyers pay the shipping cost if they want their items from the US. I wouldn't pay any extra fee for someone to unpack and then repack and then ship them on to the buyer. To me this adds costs, shipping time, and potential damage to inventory because as another poster mentioned no one is as concerned as I am about the condition of my goods when being shipped and received. So I will for sure not be using this new system. Why keep adding on layer after layer?

Perminate Link for USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP   USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP

by: bb6 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 23 00:56:44 2016

@LucasBuck "for those of us small-business owners who couldn't take the time to figure out international postage or fill out all the customs forms."  

It doesn't take much work to figure out international postage, and if you use the correct programs you don't have to fill out any forms. I enter a couple things online and it all prints out on the label.

The good thing about ebays GSP is that if something happens to the package on the way to the other country but you got it to Kentucky, the risk is on them. Its real nice for expensive items or breakable items especially electronics. If you have lower priced items then you should ship yourself. I have made a ton extra on shipping costs and the buyers still paid less for my shipping then they would have had to with the GSP. As a seller you really need to evaluate your numbers over a years time to see what works best for your business.

I agree with others. If the post office would just do their job or have other countries receiving packages do their jobs they wouldn't need this program. UPS and FedEx have their scanning/tracking nailed down. The Post Office seems to have a bunch of lazy uninformed workers that don't want to scan packages. Its BS! I know many employees. It seems to be the older ones that don't want to comply to the newer rules because they are stuck in their old ways. That's why they are pushing older employees out for non benefits hourly workers. But that's a story for another day. Currently if you send a package priority overseas, even though they say you get tracking it always stops in NY or Chicago.

Perminate Link for USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP   USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP

by: LucasBuck This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 23 12:31:33 2016

BB6,
I agree that it probably doesn't take much work to figure out international postage but it does take more time and unfortunately, it's time I just don't have. As a small business, anything I can do to save time is key to my bottom line. With the items I'm selling, I don't do a ton of business internationally anyway so I'm probably a different case.

It's unfortunate to hear how many people have problems with USPS not scanning packages. But I take it with a grain of salt. You rarely hear about the 99 times things work well and you only hear about the 1 time something doesn't because displeased customers are always the most vocal, and rightfully so.

I'm extremely fortunate. I live in a semi-rural area but the post offices I use always scan as soon as I drop my packages off which makes it easy to remain a Top Rated Seller. But I'd be annoyed as well if as a seller you're doing everything you can to comply with eBay's standards but then a third-party is not holding up their end of the bargain.

Perminate Link for USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP   USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP

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

Wed Mar 23 15:14:30 2016

The Pitney Bowers service doesn't work very well. We sent Levis and they disappeared at the Pitney Bowers Center. I sent VHS tape to Ireland and it was removed from bubblewrap and sent in thin envelope and sustained damage. We received neutral feedback in both cases. We then pulled out of International mail. I do not like folks going through my packages, let alone repacking my well packaged items  

Perminate Link for USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP   USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP

by: thebobman This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 24 00:38:37 2016

I signed up for ebay GSP assuming it was a shipping agrigator (Take 10 small packages going to a country, and put them in a larger box, pay *way* less to ship them). When I found out all they do is slap a priority label on them and ship them at full cost, I immediately ended the GSP. Whats the point?

Perminate Link for USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP   USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP

by: kodakfish This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 24 06:07:50 2016

ok this is from a buyers perspective. My partner recently bought an item from a seller in the USA. When it arrived there was a customs label with a different item description and different buyers/sellers details. Pitney Bowes had mislabeled the 2 items. Ebay is denying any issue and says once eta is passed then unreceived item should be opened against the seller and the item returned to seller at cost. Also from the4 buyers perspective GSP prevents combined shipping which massively increases shipping for multiple items so reducing multi buys from international buyers.

Perminate Link for USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP   USPS to Test Service Similar to eBay GSP

by: a_c_green This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 25 12:04:31 2016

Good God, the LAST thing I want is some minimum-wage drone attempting to ''inspect the item for verification and security'' before then repacking it somehow. I'm sure their service won't be required, nor will it be free, and that I can continue to ship internationally without their attempted help, so that will be my plan. I wouldn't trust their service further than I could throw it by the leg. (If you suspect that I do not participate in the GSP either, you would be correct.)

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