international-ecommerce-shipping

eBay Global Shipping Program (GSP): key facts & FAQs

This post contains key facts & FAQs about the eBay Global Shipping Program (GSP) to help eBay sellers build their optimal international shipping strategy.

eBay reports that 96% of small businesses using eBay in the USA export to an average of 17 countries. Thus, with cross-border ecommerce on the rise, eBay sellers can strategically expand their customer reach on international markets.

International shipping is a core aspect of selling internationally. Whether you’re already selling across borders or thinking of doing so, this article will help you decide whether GSP is the best choice for your business.

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What is the eBay Global Shipping Program (GSP)?

The eBay Global Shipping Program (GSP) allows a seller’s listings to be shown to eBay buyers across the globe. Through GSP eBay manages the international shipping and customs processes, i.e. automatically calculates the international shipping cost, duties, taxes and estimated delivery dates upfront (and adds them to the listing which the international buyer can see).

Under GSP, sellers only need to send their eligible items to a shipping center located in their own country. From there on, eBay’s service provider manages the international delivery and is responsible for the package until it reaches the buyer’s door.

According to eBay, GSP makes your items available to over 60 million buyers worldwide. Further, it gives you protection from negative / neutral feedback and control over which items you want to ship through the program.

Currently, US sellers can ship to around 100 countries. UK sellers can ship to around 90 different countries, listed on the eBay.co.uk GSP page for buyers.

Can all eBay sellers use GSP?

To use GSP, sellers need to have a seller rating of Above Standard or higher. There are also some criteria to meet:

  • Items physically located in the US / the UK (the seller’s country)
  • Items listed for sale on eBay US / eBay UK
  • The item must not be ineligible, illegal, hazardous, subject to export restrictions, prohibited by eBay or prohibited by GSP. Check the eBay User Agreement (UK version here), the International trading policies (UK version here) and FAQs for more details.
  • Non-managed payments sellers must accept PayPal as a payment method
  • Delivery address requirements
  • Package (weight / dimensions) requirements.

Restrictions on the size, weight and value of parcels vary, depending on the destination country. For example, for US sellers, the max weight ranges between 66 and 150 lbs and the maximum length between 66 and 118 inches. Most countries allow a maximum value of $2500, but this also varies between countries.

There are further restrictions similar to regular eBay listings e.g. on the type of items that can be listed and shipped. For more information on restrictions, go to eBay’s GSP help page.

Watch the video below to see how the Global Shipping Programme works (based on the UK example).

What are the benefits of the eBay Global Shipping Program?

The GSP helps eBay sellers take advantage of international ecommerce by making shipping abroad quicker and easier. This way sellers who would otherwise not decide to sell internationally can get started very easily.

For sellers, the GSP program is very convenient. They don’t need to fill out customs forms, calculate duties/taxes or organize international deliveries. They’re also protected by eBay (when the items reach eBay’s warehouse): if their items are lost/damaged on the international part of their journey, sellers are still guaranteed 5 stars for shipping time and protected from negative shipping feedback.

For buyers, GSP gives access to more international products. The full cost including shipping, duties and taxes is provided upfront. Shipping and customs clearance should be fast and easy as all duties are declared and paid in advance. On the other hand, GSP can be quite expensive for buyers.

Buyers pay the total of:

  • The seller’s usual selling price
  • The seller’s usual domestic shipping (if not free)
  • eBay’s calculated international shipping
  • eBay’s calculated import duty and taxes.

Whether this represents good value to the buyer depends on the product weight and size and whether the item would normally attract import duties.

In general, low value items are likely to have their price inflated to an uncompetitive level. High value items might remain reasonably priced.

Some buyers may avoid GSP listings if they make some products too expensive. Others appreciate the advantages of GSP such as good access to international products, fast delivery and the convenience of paying import charges upfront.

Benefits of eBay’s GSP

  • Making eBay items available worldwide in a convenient and straightforward way
  • In the event of an item being lost or damaged during international shipping, eBay Money Back Guarantee cases will be resolved in the seller’s favour (that won’t affect your seller performance standards)
  • Free domestic shipping to the shipping center: sellers will automatically receive 5 stars for shipping costs in their detailed seller ratings
  • Priced domestic shipping to the shipping center: if sellers receive a rating below 5 stars for shipping costs, it won’t count against their seller performance standards
  • Improved rating for shipping time when shipping on the same business day
  • Removal of any negative or neutral feedback that can be attributed to GSP from item handling during international transit
  • Automatic order tracking.

However, the GSP may not always work as intended. Delivery times can be longer than expected. Some sellers would have also liked better handling of disputes.

Additionally, GSP doesn’t address all aspects of international sales, only shipping related ones. For example, it doesn’t translate and localize listings and buyer messages or handle returns.

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What are seller and buyer fees under GSP?

There’s no fee to join GSP, but some listing charges apply to sellers and buyers.

Sellers will still have their usual eBay and PayPal fees to pay on the sale price (but not on the additional fees that the buyer pays). They also need to consider how they will handle returns.

Buyers see estimated shipping and import charges on the listing, which are then confirmed at checkout and paid by the buyer. Sellers aren’t directly informed about the total price that the buyer pays, but the item price and any domestic shipping amount that they charge.

Seller charges:

  • Non-managed payments sellers: eBay selling fees and PayPal fees apply, including PayPal’s transaction fees for cross-border payments
  • Managed payments sellers: selling fees for managed payments sellers apply, including an international fee.

Buyer charges:

  • The buyer will see estimated shipping and import charges in the listing. The full and final charges will be available for them to view at checkout and on the Order details page.
  • The shipping charges the buyer sees include the specified domestic shipping charges, international shipping, handling, and other fees.
  • The import charges include customs duties, taxes, brokerage and other fees.
  • Sellers receive the item price and the domestic shipping and handling amount that they charge (this comes directly from the buyer).

How about shipping and tracking items under GSP?

When shipping items to eBay’s shipping center, add tracking details and include the reference number on the label. When you create shipping labels on eBay, it’s done automatically.

The uploaded tracking number is then converted to a Global Tracking number that can be used to track the item until delivery.

Shipping exclusions & preferences

If you have shipping exclusions in place (to states, territories, countries or regions that you don’t ship to), they’ll still apply to eligible listings under the Global Shipping Program.

If you want GSP to override your shipping exclusions, you can do this in the Global Shipping Program settings section.

Additionally, you can choose a select group of countries you’d like to use GSP for and then use your preferred shipping services for sales to other markets.

GSP allows you to tailor their shipping strategy.

Restricted categories and prohibited items

Due to export limitations and restrictions, items listed in a number of categories can’t be shipped through the Global Shipping Program, e.g. Business & Industrial > Heavy Equipment, Health & Beauty > Fragrances or Home & Garden > Fresh Cut Flowers & Supplies.

Furthermore, items prohibited on eBay, or that don’t follow eBay’s International trading policy, can’t be sold through GSP.

Does GSP handle returns for products shipped?

GSP doesn’t handle returns so sellers have to deal with returns on their own, e.g. by writing off the cost for low-value items or using international parcel carriers for high-value items. They can consider utilizing parcel forwarding or return handling services.

What are best practices when using the Global Shipping Program?

To attract more international buyers when using the Global Shipping Program, follow these best practices:

  • Offer free domestic shipping to get an automatic 5-star detailed seller rating for shipping cost
  • Specify either same business day or 1 business day handling time and upload tracking information within 1 business day of receiving cleared payment to improve seller rating for shipping time
  • Add your international return policy to your listing (if different from your return policy for domestic buyers)
  • Create a shipping label on eBay to have your tracking information uploaded automatically (otherwise, be sure to upload it)
  • Specify the package’s weight and dimensions in your listing. Add the item’s country of manufacture (if known) for quicker customs processing
  • Ship all items in a single order in one package (if possible)
  • Ship the item only after the buyer has paid.

Will GSP guarantee more international sales for your eBay store?

Your success with the GSP depends mainly on:

  • The products you offer
  • The demand for those products in specific countries
  • Your experience with selling online internationally.

If you don’t sell internationally yet, GSP is a convenient and easy way to experiment with cross-border selling. It’s also a good way to learn before considering managing international shipping on your own.

If you already sell internationally, GSP offers you the opportunity to add new countries to which you don’t want to ship yourself. However, there’s a risk of GSP inflating the price buyers pay, which could impact your sales negatively. In such cases, consider tailoring your GSP Program as you can pick and choose which countries to use GSP for and which to ship to directly.

If you want to use GSP to outsource the hassle of shipping internationally, it’s less likely to increase international sales. They might remain flat or might decrease if your products become more expensive under GSP. Thus, consider GSP’s impact on sales vs. the time and effort saved.

In general:

Larger, higher-value products that are expensive to ship and would attract import charges anyway are more likely to stay competitively priced for buyers under GSP.

Small, low-value items, in turn, may have excessive shipping and import charges under GSP, thus attracting fewer buyers.

Can sellers opt out of GSP?

Yes, sellers can opt out of the Global Shipping Program at any time in their Account settings.

Conclusion

The eBay Global Shipping Program is a very convenient shipping solution for international eBay sellers.

However, sellers’ opinions about GSP are mixed. Many see it as a good service that works as intended, most of the time. Some sellers, in turn, see its shortcomings, such as the cost for buyers or a partial service without ecommerce translation and localization or returns handling.

Whether GSP is the best option for your eBay store, depends on your individual circumstances and objectives.

About Webinterpret

Webinterpret supports merchants selling on big, international ecommerce platforms, such as eBay and Amazon as well more local marketplaces, such as Cdiscount. Currently we’re also working on making our platform compatible with GSP.

If you want to grow your online sales, feel free to contact our sales experts. They will help you analyze your international sales potential and choose markets that will offer you the best possible return on investment.

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