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Ebay Sellers – Using the USPS to Ship Items Internationally

March 8th, 2011

Expanding your eBay business to international buyers can open up a world of profit. However, sending a package to international-shipping2an international location is much different than sending one in the continental U.S. and requires a little more  research.  Plus, with many different mail classes offered from each carrier, shipping costs can be extremely expensive and can be two or three times the cost of the product purchased.   Check out the table below to see the cost differences by carrier: 

Example:  2 lb. package shipped from Los Angeles, CA to a residential address in Berlin, Germany purchased on eBay for $15.00

Carrier Mail Class Billable Weight Delivery Time Product Cost Shipping Cost Total Cost to Buyer
US Postal Service Priority Mail Intl 2.0 lbs 6-10 days $15.00 $30.59 $45.59
US Postal Service First Class Mail Intl 2.0 lbs Varies $15.00 $17.64 $32.64
UPS Worldwide Saver 6.0 lbs 2 days $15.00 $150.74 $165.74
UPS Worldwide Expedited 6.0 lbs 4 days $15.00 $145.47 $160.47
FedEx International Priority 2.0 lbs 2 days $15.00 $150.74 $165.74
FedEx International Economy 2.0 lbs 4 days $15.00 $145.47 $160.47

 As you can see, costs can vary widely and the U.S. Postal Service is by-far the cheapest method to mail packages outside of the United States.  Using the USPS can keep your total listing costs down, allowing your product to look more attractive to international buyers.

USPS Offers Great Low Cost Options for International Shipping
There are three great cost-efficient options to ship packages internationally with the USPS – First Class Mail International, Priority Mail International and Express Mail International.  Each mail class has its own unique advantages and disadvantages:

First Class Mail International is the cheapest method to send items up to 4 pounds in weight internationally among all shipping carriers. However, this mailing option doesn’t offer tracking or delivery confirmation.   

First Class Mail International is a great option if you are shipping low cost items that can be replaced easily.  Ideally, if your package was ever lost in the overseas delivery, it should be more economical for you to ship a second package to the buyer rather than track down the lost package.  Packages can take between a week and a month to arrive at their destination.

Priority Mail International is one of the fastest and most affordable methods to send packages overseas.  The mail class offers Flat Rate shipping and has a 70-pound maximum for packages. Similar to First Class Mail International, package tracking and delivery confirmation is not available for Priority Mail International. If you are buying postage online via Stamps.com, you’ll receive a discounted rate of 5% off the retail price for your Priority Mail International shipments.  Packages can take between 6 to 10 days to be delivered to their destination.

Express Mail International is the fastest mail service the USPS offers for International mail delivery.  The mail class provides a delivery-date guarantee to select countries including Australia, Great Britain, Northern Ireland, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Spain and South Korea. Similar to Priority Mail International, Express Mail International also offers Flat Rate shipping and has a 70-pound maximum for packages.  You’ll also get free insurance up to $100 with this mail class, as well as real-time package tracking. Stamps.com customers receive an 8% discount on Express Mail International rates.  Package delivery can take between 3 to 5 days anywhere the USPS ships to – over 190 countries.

Once you make the decision to sell to international buyers, online postage services like Stamps.com can make your shipping process easier than ever. Customs forms are automatically integrated into the program and will automatically import the delivery address into the customs form for you.   You can also consult the U.S. Postal Service’s International Mail Manual from inside the software to review the shipping prohibitions and restrictions of each individual country.

  1. Tedserv
    March 23rd, 2011 at 07:06 | #1

    1st class (and priority flat rates) Int’l Rocks!!!
    1. EZ combo customs/address label
    2. Newest software has worked well
    3. No ‘brokerage’ fee that I know of (Be very careful of other shippers, I paid $20 ‘ransom’ to get a box of pen-pal’s cookies from Germany!!)
    4. I can just give it to the postman.

    A couple ‘improves:’
    1. Tracking numbers never show anything, even acceptance through local sort / PO.
    2. It takes longer to ship to nearby cities (in Canada) than to Puerto Rico (thousands of miles away) Probably not USPS’s fault, though. I’d have thought with NAFTA …

    Overall, it SUPER-great, and too-EZ!

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