Whether you’re selling on eBay or just thinking about starting your own e-commerce business on this platform, the eBay Global Shipping Program is a topic worth knowing.
Selling items to international buyers is something that lots of eBay business owners strive for, but entails a number of issues connected with shipping the items globally: customs, international postage, potential scams and fraud, etc. While international shipping of your products opens new perspectives for scaling your online business, there are merchants who might not be so positive about it.
So, what do you need to know about the eBay Global Shipping Program before you embark on this journey? Read on to find out how the Global Shipping Programme works, including what countries it ships to, how much it costs, what requirements and limitations to items and international shipping it has, as well as what benefits it confers to sellers. Ready? Let’s get started!
12. Q & A section
What is the eBay Global Shipping Program (GSP)?
Under the Global Shipping Program, all you need to do is to ship your item to the UK/US shipping center once you sell it. Then eBay will do the rest and handle the actual delivery to the buyer.
Thanks to the eBay Global Shipping Program, the responsibilities of international shipping are divided between two parties – the seller and shipping center. The seller has to get the package to the respective shipping center, and the shipping center is responsible for processing and delivering the package to the final destination.
The GSP handles multiple issues connected with the delivery: international postage, packaging, customs, export and import charges. It’s as easy as that! But let’s talk details.
How to sign up for the eBay Global Shipping Program?
In order to sign up for the eBay Global Shipping Program, a seller must have a seller rating of standard or above (check the seller levels and performance standards) and comply with all applicable laws and regulations under the eBay User Agreement. Eligible? Now let’s go through GSP’s requirements and limitations.
Global shipping with the eBay Global Shipping Program: Requirements and limitations
Before you decide to list an item for sale in another country, you need to make sure that the item can, in fact, be legally sold in that country and that the item itself meets eBay requirements.
Eligible countries under the GSP
First things first – check if you can sell your items to a particular country under the GSP. Laws differ from country to country, so it’s better to make sure international shipping is available. As of August 2022, the list of eligible countries includes:
|Antigua and Barbuda||Greece||Oman|
|Brunei Darussalam||Israel||Saint Kitts and Nevis|
|Dominican Republic||Malta||Trinidad and Tobago|
|Ecuador||Martinique (French)||Turks and Caicos Islands|
|El Salvador||Monaco||United Arab Emirates|
Eligible items under the GSP
Not only should you check whether you can ship to a particular country under GSP, but also you should verify that the item fits eBay criteria and is eligible in size, weight, etc.
Items listed in restricted categories, for example, can’t be currently sold and delivered with the help of eBay’s Global Shipping Program due to certain export limitations or shipping provider restrictions. It means that eBay merchants can’t sell heavy equipment, gift cards and coupons, real estate, tickets, among other things.
There’s also a list of prohibited items that can’t be shipped using the GSP which includes such items as currency, liquids, plants, cosmetics, etc.
In order to qualify for international shipping, the eBay Global Shipping Program also has requirements for the item:
- Item has to be physically located in the US/UK (you’ll need to post it to the shipping center);
- Item must be listed for sale in a supported category on eBay.com;
- The delivery address must be a street address or residence, not a PO Box, FPO, or APO address (with some exceptions);
- Item mustn’t exceed maximum weight and dimensions;
- The only accepted payment method in your listing should be eBay Managed Payments.
- For certain countries, the sale price of your item (excluding shipping and handling), mustn’t exceed a set threshold.
📌 Note: You can check the full list of restrictions and requirements on the eBay Global Shipping Program page in the block “Eligibility”.
📌 Note: if your item or country is not eligible for the eBay Global Shipping Program, you may still be able to ship it internationally yourself.
The eBay Global Shipping Program: Cost
- If you’re an eBay seller and want to join the program, you might be wondering what the eBay GSP cost is. Good news – there’s no fee for joining.
- The buyer is charged the costs for all the services provided by the GSP. The buyer’s total amount is based on the final price of the item, domestic shipping charges or shipping charges to the Global Shipping Center, eBay’s calculated international shipping, eBay’s calculated import duty and taxes, and any other amounts you may charge the buyer. For example, if the package was sent via USPS Priority Mail, eBay will collect any additional amount due on behalf of USPS.
- The costs are fixed and added to the price of the item upfront, so each buyer sees a personalized amount they have to pay depending on the country they want the item to be delivered to. Sales tax isn’t included.
- As a seller, all you have to pay is the cost of posting the item to the shipping center, there aren’t any eBay shipping fees involved. However, standard eBay selling fees apply, including the international fee.
Is the eBay GSP profitable for the seller and beneficial for the buyer? It depends on the type of product. So the best advice for e-commerce sellers here is to analyze your customers’ demands and competitors’ offers as well.
The eBay Global Shipping Program: Tracking
With the eBay Global Shipping Program sellers and buyers can monitor where their item is at all times.
When posting packages to a shipping center, sellers mustn’t forget to add tracking details as normal. The reference number on the label is needed to identify the package upon arrival to the center. When the package is identified, the tracking number is converted to a Global Tracking number that can be used by both the seller and buyer to track the package until it reaches its final destination with the help of international tracking systems via eBay GSP. eBay buyers are also protected in case the parcel is lost.
The eBay Global Shipping Program: Returns
Unfortunately, eBay’s GSP doesn’t handle any of the returns processes – eBay sellers must deal with such problems on their own.
In order not to be caught off guard, it’s best to have your own return policy. This way, in case something happens, your customers know what to expect and you know what to do.
Basically, you’ve got three options:
- If the item isn’t costly, it might be wise to write off the cost and refund your customer, not asking to send the item back.
- If the item is expensive and you want it back, you may use international parcel carriers like FedEx, UPS, DHL or TNT to mail the return, or book a courier. The item will be returned securely, but it might cost you a considerable amount of money.
- If you have high returns, you might want to consider using international returns services. The price isn’t low and the returns aren’t handled quickly, but an option like this is good for merchants with high and costly international returns.
Now that you’re familiar with what eBay’s GSP is, what it offers and what its limitations and restrictions are, let’s have a look at how it actually works.
How to use the eBay Global Shipping Program?
As you may remember, in order to access the GSP, you must be a US/UK seller with items listed on ebay.com and ebay.com.uk respectively.
The general flow of eBay’s GSP looks like this:
- Once a store is registered for the eBay Global Shipping Program, a seller can adjust the settings by selecting ‘Sell internationally with the Global Shipping Programme’ in the International Postage section to immediately show items to the customers internationally. The items will appear in applicable countries. The standard eBay and PayPal fees will be applied to the sale prices. Buyers will be able to see the estimated price (including shipping and other costs) for each listing.
- An international buyer purchases an item from your eBay store with the Global Shipping Program and pays the full estimated price.
📌 Note: You can choose how to implement the eBay Global Shipping Program to your items. There are 4 options:
- You can offer the GSP on all new eligible listings.
- You can offer the GSP on any new single listing.
- You might edit a single existing listing to offer global shipping under the GSP.
- You might edit multiple existing listings to offer global shipping under the GSP.
Video from the article https://youtu.be/D91NIYnqPlc
📌 Note: Under eBay’s GSP, all international postage charges (including, but not limited to shipping costs, duties, taxes) have to be paid for by the buyer. Estimated delivery dates are automatically added to the listings by eBay.
- Once the item is sold, the seller posts it to the GSP shipping center in their country (the USA/UK). The shipping center checks the package, processes it, provides packaging, and adds a Global Tracking number. Thanks to the tracking info, the parcel becomes visible for international postage services, and both sellers and buyers can monitor the delivery end-to-end.
📌 Note: Unlike Amazon FBA, the eBay’s Global Shipping Program doesn’t handle inventory for its sellers. Check out our article ‘How to Start an Amazon FBA Business: Keys to a Successful Online Store’ to know more about the Amazon FBA service.
- The global shipping center takes care of the customs process, calculates the final import charges and delivers the parcel to its final destination.
The eBay Global Shipping Program Tips
GSP tip #1. You can customize your GSP preferences by country by choosing the countries you want to use the program for. For example, you can decide to ship your items to Australia using a standard carrier of your choice and deliver items to other eligible countries with the help of the GSP. Use the international shipping section to customize your shipping options globally. Adjust the program to your preferences and make sure you satisfy your customers’ needs.
GSP tip #2. Don’t forget that all your shipping exclusions apply to eligible listings under the eBay GSP.
GSP tip #3. If you provide free internal shipping, you’ll gain an automatic 5-star detailed seller rating for shipping cost.
GSP tip #4. If you handle the order, upload necessary tracking info within 1 business day and the parcel is accepted at the shipping center within 4 days after payment, you’ll gain an automatic 5-star seller rating for shipping time.
GSP tip #5. Specify additional relevant info about an item in the listing in advance – weight, dimensions, country of origin (if known) and streamline customs processing.
GSP tip #6. Upload tracking info or create an eBay shipping label to know exactly where your package is.
GSP tip #7. Specify your return policy in your listing (both international and internal if there are some differences).
GSP tip #8. If there are several items ordered by one customer, ship all items in a single order in one package.
GSP tip #9. Ship the item only after the purchase was made.
Benefits of the eBay Global Shipping Program
The eBay Global Shipping Program lifts the weight of dealing with customs, fees, and all the other charges off eBay merchant’s shoulders. Everything is done by the service which gives the merchants more time to focus on growing their international e-commerce business.
But what features of this service are the most beneficial to eBay GSP users?
Here’s the list:
- The GSP provides prompt access to markets. Accessing international markets isn’t easy for all e-commerce businesses. There are lots of regulations to follow if you want to sell globally and keeping up with requirements isn’t an easy task. The eBay GSP is free, fast, and easy to understand, which makes it a perfect choice for e-commerce business owners who are just starting this journey.
- There are no fees for joining the eBay GSP. Joining the program is free. Take the first step and get access to millions of buyers online from any corner of the world.
- The GSP is convenient. International shipping with the GSP is as easy and accessible as internal options. After joining the program, merchants don’t have to deal with customs, fill out numerous mundane forms and keep in mind various requirements and rates. The merchants simply delegate calculation of taxes and charges, as well as organization of international deliveries to eBay’s GSP. Just send the item to the shipping center and the program will handle the rest.
- Global shipping with the GSP entails less risk for buyers and sellers. Both sides are protected by the service. For example, under the eBay GSP, if the package gets lost or damaged during its shipping route, the seller isn’t liable for this situation.
- Shipping with the GSP is transparent. International shipping costs are automatically added to the listings. You get the full picture of all costs including shipping, duties, and taxes upfront. The amount you get is final.
- The GSP is efficient. If you’re shipping your items globally with the eBay GSP, it saves you lots of time. You don’t have to spend hours on shipping and customs clearance – it’s fast and easy because all the duties are reported and paid in advance.
While some merchants say that when it comes to international shipping, eBay has some of the best conditions on the market, there are other people who aren’t that enthusiastic about the GSP and therefore express some concerns.
The eBay Global Shipping Program Problems
Despite undeniable benefits, the eBay Global Shipping Program may not be the perfect delivery solution for every seller. There are some catches that eBay sellers must know.
Let’s see what problems sellers can face when shipping items with the eBay Global Shipping Program:
1. Restrictions for packages. As it has already been established, you should check if your items are eligible and if you can ship them to a particular country. Under the eBay GSP your parcels may face the restrictions on the size, weight, and value, destination country and address, and type of items shipped.
2. Slower delivery times. No matter how organized, predetermined and prepaid the shipping process with the eBay Global Shipping Program is, not everything always goes as planned. Expected delivery time might be extended.
3. Selling and buying small items might be too costly. The postage costs provided by the eBay GSP have been known to be disproportionally high for shipping small lightweight packages.
- What’s more, import tax has to be added on all parcels on top of shipping fees. With all those costs adding up, smaller items with lower value become either too costly for customers or unprofitable for sellers under the GSP. Sometimes the costs aren’t commensurate with profits.
- The program charges flat rates for their international postage services in order to streamline the process. Basically, it means that buyers don’t get the best price for low value and lightweight items. The initial price may be good, but when combined with the postage cost, it loses the appeal. If the sellers can get the same item locally for a lower price, they choose not to order on eBay. Why waste money?
- The program charges fixed customs fees instead of calculating the fees for each particular country in order to save time. Sometimes the fee isn’t actually required, but is still charged. Buyers may choose not to order items with the GSP delivery.
4. Returns aren’t handled. Under the GSP, returns are still your full responsibility. You need to have a Plan B in case something goes wrong. And good merchants know that organizing returns requires lots of time and additional resources.
5. Packages might be opened and inspected when they arrive at the global shipping center. There’s always a risk that items may be damaged, repacked in the wrong way, or destroyed altogether (eBay may liquidate the item if it’s deemed ineligible for delivery).
How to streamline selling globally on eBay with accounting software
Before joining the eBay Global Shipping Program, merchants must think about pros and cons for their business. While it certainly gives access to international markets and triggers sales growth and faster development, it also brings about additional challenges such as handling multi-currency payments.
The more international buyers you have, the more difficult tracking transactions in multi-currency becomes. Thankfully, technology today allows you to delegate this work to a reliable software that can do this work for you. Synder Sync is a comprehensive accounting solution which manages eBay payments and synchronizes sales data with the highest level of details, saving the transaction amount, description, date, and customer information. With multiple integrations available (eBay+Synder, eBay+QuickBooks, eBay+QuickBooks Desktop, eBay+Xero), Synder can solve multiple problems even for the most demanding eBay businesses.
Synder’s multi-currency feature allows you to receive international payments in multiple foreign currencies and automatically synchronize them with your accounting. Upon the initial set-up and enabling multi-currency, the tool applies correct currency exchange rates that it captures from connected payment providers and converts transactions into your home currency.
Processing multi-currency transactions is only one of many available features. Check out how you can use Synder to set up integration with payment platforms and e-commerce Platforms, how you can sync historical data and rollback syncs if necessary, and what kind of reporting you can expect.
Synder eliminates manual work, saves a considerable amount of time and effort, ensures the accurate and error-free recording of transactions in different currencies into the books, and much more. Discover the full potential of Synder yourself with our free 7-day trial, or schedule a demo with our specialists to get a glimpse of automated magic. Let Synder handle the hard work!
The eBay Global Shipping Program opens new horizons to both new and established eBay businesses. While it does allow merchants to sell without hassle and risk, there are limitations they have to consider. Before expanding to the GSP, the merchants should thoroughly analyze eligibility, specifications, and sales data, to lessen the risk of underperformance and damaging the reputation with their customers.
If you have high-volume sales, you’ll most likely find the GSP appealing. However, if you’re a small business with few sales, you might want to calculate the rationality of shipping with the program. After all, it depends on the needs and goals of your eBay business. Think it through and make an informed decision!
Q & A section:
What is the Global Shipping Program on eBay?
The eBay Global Shipping Program, or eBay GSP, is a service providing eBay sellers with international shipping services.
What are the requirements for joining the eBay Global Shipping Program?
To apply for the eBay GSP, your eBay store’s rating should be at least above standard and it should comply with eBay regulations and laws.
Is it possible to track the shipment under the program?
Yes, it is. Under the eBay Global Shipping Program, buyers and sellers can receive real time updates on the status and location of their package thanks to a Global Tracking number assigned to the package while in the shipping center.
Does eBay Global Shipping Program handle return processes?
Unfortunately, the eBay GSP doesn’t handle any of the returns processes. eBay sellers must deal with such issues themselves.
What is the eBay GSP cost for sellers?
Joining the program is free for sellers. However, some other eBay seller fees might apply. Buyers are charged all the costs associated with shipping the item.
Is eBay global shipping available all over the world?
No, it’s not. There are currently 106 eligible countries, however the list is set to be extended.
Does eBay Global Shipping Program handle internal shipping?
Yes, it does. If you’re listing your item for sale in the USA, for example, and it’s sold, under the GSP your item is eligible for internal, or domestic shipping (to a buyer in the USA).
Do I have to send my items to a global shipping center under the GSP?
Yes, you do. If you’ve joined eBay’s GSP and your listed item is sold, you have to send it to a global shipping center. The delivery to the final destination will be handled from there.
Can I handle shipping myself?
Yes, you can. Offering more than one shipping option is welcomed. eBay allows its merchants to handle shipping on their own. You may offer flat rate shipping or use calculated shipping depending on what you prefer.