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Mon Oct 14 2013 16:59:27

Why Do Merchants Sell to Buyers in Countries with High Returns?

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
I was reading the article "Shoppers Want More Control over Delivery and Returns" and saw that the average Asian returns 50% of everything they buy and Europeans average 57% in returns. And of course, they want free shipping both ways.

My question is WHY would anyone want to sell to buyers in those Countries? There is absolutely no profit in it. One or two months of taking back 1/2 or more of what I sell would bankrupt me.

For example: A Seller sells $100,000 a month in merchandise and it cost $24,000 for shipping the items free. The following month you have to give back $50,000 and pay another $24,000 to get back the item or give it away for free.

Have sellers gone too far trying to keep up with what the (I never sold a thing in my life) analysts say Consumers want?

My opinion is take a good look at the word analyst and it pretty much tells me the person, their rhetoric, and the company they work for stinks.
Tiffee




Comments (13) | Permalink

Readers Comments

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by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 14 18:38:17 2013

I think you can count on this:  The customer of every business pays the cost of operation of that business.  All of it.

So if you have a high number of returns the cost of that will ultimately be on the customer's bill in some fashion. Nothing is free.

The problem with all this is ebay demanding individual sellers meet whatever they think customers want, and with their manipulated search if you don't have the lowest prices, best return policy and free shipping you will not be seen.  You sell nothing.

Ebay is interfering with what has to be a fact of business:
If someone wants free shipping, easy returns and express shipping with end to end tracking, they are going to pay for it somehow.  Nothing is free. Customers pay for everything, the company has no other money to use.

It's just the way business is.  

Why Do Merchants Sell to Buyers in Countries with   Why Do Merchants Sell to Buyers in Countries with

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 14 19:58:56 2013

The reason we sell to all countries is that we are FORCED to- if we start limiting countries ebay may limit and PURGE us.
That is THE REASON we do not exclude countries- we WISH we could without fear of REPRISAL from ebay.
Mass Howler
Sold a sterling item to Russia yesterday- crossing my fingers here, as always- THANKS ebay.

Why Do Merchants Sell to Buyers in Countries with   Why Do Merchants Sell to Buyers in Countries with

by: lemonsandlemonade This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 14 20:58:09 2013

There are many items that are prohibited by other countries.  If you sell any of them you have to limit countries.

Italy - no footwear of any kind

Brazil- used consumer goods only to specific organizations

Many countries - no used clothing or bedding;

Some countries- used clothing must have a certificate of disinfection.

If you sell pre-owned, you need to visit the USPS list for postal restrictions.

I have excluded many countries that my items will not pass customs.

Why Do Merchants Sell to Buyers in Countries with   Why Do Merchants Sell to Buyers in Countries with

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Oct 14 22:51:38 2013

I've sold for a long time and shipped to many countries over the years.  I can only remember one international buyer [other than Canada] that wanted to return an item.  

Some categories of products are at higher risk for this than others.  So while I haven't had this happen much, other sellers of different products could have a completely different experience.

Most buyers are purchasing because they want or need something.  Most are not shopping to then go through the hassle of returning something.  But of course there are those that are troublesome.

Why Do Merchants Sell to Buyers in Countries with   Why Do Merchants Sell to Buyers in Countries with

by: blaumann2 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 15 00:00:28 2013

I have a BIG list of countries i won't ship to. Some I know will be a problem. Many I just have ho idea about and know sales are not likely anyway.
I sell to Canada, Europe, Japan and Australia.  

Why Do Merchants Sell to Buyers in Countries with   Why Do Merchants Sell to Buyers in Countries with

by: auctionguy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 15 00:55:37 2013

I quit shipping internationally several years ago as a result of too many returns or partial refund requests. With the high shipping costs that are even worse now than they were then, the hassles with customs and shipping delays, and the return and customer dissatisfaction rate, it just isn't worth it to sell internationally. I sell less and less on ebay every year, and more through other venues, so if ebay purges me, it's no big deal. I still have good FB and DSRs, but 1 or 2 buyers could destroy that. Big deal! I have branched out enough that it would only be a small percentage of my sales, which I could pick up elsewhere. I already quit selling big ticket items on ebay due to the high fees. Items that don't sell after a month or two go to another venue, or directly into the garbage can, so I don't have any stale listings. I won't sell anything under $10 on ebay due to the fees and the shipping costs, since U.S. shipping costs more than the same item with free shipping from China, so that doesn't leave much for ebay anyway.

Why Do Merchants Sell to Buyers in Countries with   Why Do Merchants Sell to Buyers in Countries with

by: trader_chris This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 15 07:47:51 2013

I've been selling full time on eBay for about 2 1/2 years and I can only recall one instance when an international buyer wanted to return something for a full refund. If you're doing your job right as a seller (good pictures, good description, fast shipping) returns should be at a minimum. Buyers in other countries turn to eBay because of the selection that if offers, especially of used or hard-to-find items. If you're not offering international shipping, you're only hurting yourself, as your competitor will and they'll get that business instead.

My advice would be to go back through the last 6-12 months of sales, analyze the returns that you have (what country / type of item / problem) and then make adjustments. I've had problems in the past shipping gold and silver items to China via First Class Mail, so I don't list it as an option for those items anymore. Returns and lost / damaged items are just the cost of doing business online. If you don't like it, perhaps selling online isn't the right business for you.

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by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 15 08:00:18 2013

Been selling on Ebay for 13 years...I ship to every country on the planet with the exception of Canada...In 13 years I have had 7 returns....ALL OF THEM FROM CANADA.

Why Do Merchants Sell to Buyers in Countries with   Why Do Merchants Sell to Buyers in Countries with

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 15 09:31:02 2013

We stopped international due to problems, restrictions, returns,  and especially those wanting partial refund or neg feedback extortion.
The new rates for shipping made it impractical to sell international.
I made an exception with low dollar figure on a vintage item and shipped to Australia. This was not on ebay site.   Item arrived and buyer happy. The rate was low - paper items regular 1st class mail. Possibly may change listings on those items with low shipping to Australia and Canada Only.  
Definitely will not send any expensive item international. Haven't won the lottery and if I did, I still would not just give items away.  

Why Do Merchants Sell to Buyers in Countries with   Why Do Merchants Sell to Buyers in Countries with

by: Toledo Maude This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 15 11:04:59 2013

For 13 years, I loved international sales and encouraged other sellers to do so as well.

But first, the US Post Office did away with cheap sea freight that hurt shipping heavier items to international buyers.  Then this January, the US Post Office increased air mail of all services by 56%.  Boy oh boy, did that do in international orders - fast.  Nearly 100% drop in international sales.

Over the 13 years on eBay, I can think of only one international order returned (did somebody say Canada?  Yes, Canada).  

Today is the 15th of the month, and I have booked only two sales for 37 bucks.  Boy, who would have thought eBay would die this much?  

Hey, the silver lining to eBay and the Post Office killing international sales - NO returns!!!!  No managed returns!!!  No negative feedback!  No Paypal 21 day hold on funds!!!  

NO, NO, NO!

I am one lucky eBay seller!

Why Do Merchants Sell to Buyers in Countries with   Why Do Merchants Sell to Buyers in Countries with

by: macsbaby This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 15 11:26:34 2013

Ive been selling since 99 on ebay and I sell to all except some in Africa really. I even sell to Brazil and Russia...I just ship EMS...they pay. I have a problem now and then...a lot with France lately as you have to include an invoice or they send it back sometimes. But, overall it is worth it...I sell antiques/art and write it all off to part of the business. But I am particular in my descriptions and packing. I use shipsurance to insure. So I break even all in all on the shipping at least.

Why Do Merchants Sell to Buyers in Countries with   Why Do Merchants Sell to Buyers in Countries with

by: JackieBlue This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 15 12:31:44 2013

Returns I don't worry about. We have a 60 day return policy and the number of returns really doesn't vary - excluding shipping mistakes my employees may make. "Lost" items to certain countries is higher, and we monitor every few months to see. Haven't had to exclude a country yet - there a few countries (like India) that I will look closely at but generally do not have enough orders to be statistically significant on the lost items. I remember getting paranoid once about Brazil and then looked at the volume of orders vs the number of lost orders, looked at the profit of the country and determined that it was still ok. If any country got bad enough, I would charge more to ship to that country and then, as a last resort, exclude the country entirely.

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

Wed Oct 16 08:07:37 2013

One other option available for selling internationally is to use the "handling charge" portion for international shipments. That way you can include insurance automatically and have piece of mind and have the S&H costs included in your listing.
Yes, I feel the non-delivery rate is higher in some countries, but other than Mexico, I don't get too excited. I've sold items to South Africa, Quatar, Russia, Isreal, Brazil, Italy, Japan, China (yes! try printing out an address label in Chinese), even Alaska with pretty much zero problems.

Yeah! Too bad about no surface overseas shipping anymore - had a good business in foreign language books. But, you can use M-bags to most countries to ship printed material pretty cheaply and if you can get a dealer or major collector over there to show an interest, you'll come out ahead - or at least free up some space.

Peace, love & Cherry Garcia



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