eBay international shipping guide

Remay Villaester (May)
29.06.20
5 minute read

eBay has two ways by which you can sell internationally:

1. basic international selling where you sell on eBay’s UK site, eBay.co.uk, and then offer international postage options
2. Advanced international selling option which allows you to sell directly on international eBay sites, such as eBay.de.¹

This article will be focused on basic international selling. With this option, you create your listing from your local eBay website, which in this case, would be eBay.co.uk. You select the international locations you want your listing to be displayed in. You would then link international shipping to your listing, which would let international customers know that you can ship goods to them.

We’ll explain how to set up international shipping for your listing, then we’ll show you how to start saving money on your international sales using TransferWise for business.

Let’s get started!

International Shipping on eBay

Like we’ve established already, eBay is a great way to sell your products to millions of customers around the world. eBay boasts of over 170 million potential buyers scattered around the world, so you can be sure that there is a market for your goods, no matter what it is. However, just like domestic customers, international buyers also expect to receive their purchases within a reasonable time-frame and at a fair price.²

Set Your International Postage Policies

The first thing you need to do is to set your policies for international shipping. To do this, login to your eBay account, then go to My eBay > Account > Site Preferences > Use Postage rate tables to get started. Use the drop-down menu to create a postage rate table. This table will specify the following:

  • A flat postage rate for every country that you want to sell in.

  • A weight-dependent postage rate for each country you’re selling to. For example, £2.00 per Kg for shipping to Germany

  • A surcharge on top of the standard worldwide shipping cost for certain countries.

When you select the flat rate postage in the listing form, the postage rate that you set here will be used. You can also set different postage rate tables for multiple active listings. To do this, go to My eBay > Selling. You should check out eBay’s guide to revising multiple listings for more information.

This setting also allows you to exclude some countries that you don’t want to post to.

Selecting the Right Courier

The choice of international courier would depend on what you are selling, as well as where your customers are located, and the specific services that you may require.

Some of the questions that you need to ask and get answers to include:

  • Does the service include tracking?

You’ll want to know where your packages are, and your customers will want to follow up on the current location of their goods.

  • Does the courier offer insurance?

If you sell valuable items, you should consider getting an insurance plan on them. Check if the courier has insurance coverage. If they do, good for you, if they don’t, you might want to get a third-party postal insurance provider to give you insurance coverage.

  • Who arranges the clearance at customs?

Some couriers arrange to take care of customs clearance. Usually, this includes arranging the necessary documentation and paying for any duties, fees or taxes

This is a list of some of the international courier services that eBay members use often:

CourriersServices
eBay DeliveryInternational Shipping through Packlink
Royal MailInternational business mail delivery
ParcelforceSend your parcel worldwide
DHLExport Services – International Express Delivery
DPDInternational
UPSInternational Shipping Services
FedExOutbound shipping services
HermesCross border (to Germany and Austria)

Remember, you must comply with the customs and regulations of both your country and the country of the buyers.

Selling and Posting Goods within the EU

Generally, there are no customs borders in the EU. This means that you do not have to provide any customs documentation or even pay the customs duties. To sell in Europe, however, you have to:

  • Know and comply with the international tax obligations in your country and the country where your listing is.

  • Be aware of some special territories within the EU. Imports that are going into those countries will be treated like imports from every other part of the world

  • Some kinds of goods, such as pet food or wool, are restricted and would require export certification

Selling and Posting Goods from an EU-Country to a Non-EU Country

Packages that are sent from an EU country to a non-EU country must first clear customs, and you have to fill the appropriate customs documentation. Based on this documentation, the local customs authorities of the receiving country will verify that the item can be imported and will also define the duties that are due.

Items could be held in customs if the documentation provided is incorrect or incomplete. This may mean that you may need to pay additional costs if the packages don’t clear customs, and they have to be returned. It is therefore essential that your courier arranges for a customs broker in advance. Fortunately, this service is provided almost automatically.

When sending good to a non-EU country from an EU country:

  • Excise duties may be applied on the importation of certain goods

  • Customs duties and import taxes, such as import VAT are applicable

  • Some countries also levy customs fees.

  • Legally, the person in whose name that the goods are imported is responsible for taking care of any customs and import duty fees.

As you can see, you must select the perfect courier and ensure that you understand all the terms that the courier gives are favorable.

How to save money on your sales?

When it comes to selling online, one aspect that you must pay attention to is the payment platform. Your choice of payment platform determines just how much you spend on fees and commissions. This is where TransferWise shines.

Ordinarily, eBay recommends that you use PayPal as the preferred payment platform, but unfortunately, PayPal if you’ve collected payments in different currencies and use PayPal to convert your money, it can be quite expensive. PayPal’s conversion fee ranges from 2.5 to 4%.³ While these may look small, remember that they accumulate and become quite expensive over time.

TransferWise provides online sellers with a multi-currency account that allows you, the user, to receive & hold money in various currencies for free. What’s more TransferWise only deducts a small transparent fee that is shown upfront when you convert between currencies.

Another area to save money is in the area of exchange rate. Most payment platforms add a mark-up to their exchange rates for profit, which means that you end up making less money than you should. But not with TransferWise. TransferWise uses the real exchange rate without mark-up of hidden fee which means that you can save up to 40% of the overall payment collection cost.

You can also take advantage of the following services using TransferWise for business to make your life as a self-employed easier:

  • Payroll to overseas contractors
  • Payments to vendors and suppliers in over 40 currencies
  • A unique integration with Xero for multi-currency accounting
  • Multi-currency debit card attached to the account
  • Automated batch payments through open API to save you time and streamline the process

Start saving today with TransferWise

Sources:

  1. eBay help article
  2. eBay sell centre
  3. PayPal Merchant fees

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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