Top Questions & Video: International Shipping Webinar

October 30th, 2013 Comments off

Stamps.com recently participated in a webinar for the Top Rated Seller Webinar series, a monthly webinar that focuses on helping eBay sellers expand sales.  The October topic was “Best Practices for International Shipping” and it featured Bryan Goodman and Jason Smith from ThriftingWithTheBoys.com. If you missed the webinar, watch the recording below.

Here are the top questions and answers from the webinar:

#1  What is the best shipping option to Alaska & Hawaii? While carriers like FedEx and UPS charge additional fees to mail to Alaska and Hawaii, the USPS mails to Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam and other U.S. territories for the same cost of domestic postage.   So if you live in Dallas and need to send a package to Alaska, it is the same price as sending a package to Houston.  (Eric Nash/Stamps.com)

#2  Why doesn’t Mexico order anything from me? I have the country turned on, yet I never get any sales – is there a way to get listed better in search? Mexico has never been a great one for sales for me, only a few here and there. Not sure it is worth the time and effort to market there.  Better to concentrate on getting sales everywhere.  Perhaps use of social media targeting Mexico might improve visibility.   (Bryan/Jason – ThriftingWithTheBoys.com)

#3  What insurance do you recommend for First Class International packages? Your best bet is to use a private insurance program such as Stamps.com Insurance (insured by PIPInsure.com), U-PIC or others.  These programs allow you to insure all mail classes including First Class Package International Service and they are much cheaper than USPS insurance.  Also, you can file claims online and claims are typically processed within 7-10 business days. (Eric Nash/Stamps.com)

#4  Is there a way to set up the eBay International Shipping Calculator to calculate the shipping costs plus a small handling fee from seller in eBay? Yes, there is a way to add handling fees for international packages.  You should see a handling fee box at in the pricing area. This image should show you where: http://screencast.com/t/At0wXfqKS    (Bryan/Jason – ThriftingWithTheBoys.com)

#5  Would you have any advice for shipping expensive items (anywhere from $250 – $1,000) internationally? I would suggest using Priority Mail Express International (formerly known as Express Mail International).  The service comes with $200 of insurance and packages are delivered within 3-5 business days, with money-back guarantee for certain destinations.  You also get complete tracking. (Eric Nash/Stamps.com)

#6  Who does the Global Shipping Program benefit and how much does it cost?  What does the buyer get charged for shipping? It benefits those sellers who are afraid to sell internationally by giving you an added layer of protection. As a seller you need to get the item to a warehouse in Kentucky. The only cost is what it costs to ship the item to Kentucky.  The Global Shipping Program handles the rest.  Best way to see what a buyer is charged is to view your listing from another county’s website.  (Bryan/Jason – ThriftingWithTheBoys.com)

#7  When will Stamps.com work on a Mac? Stamps.com will not be building out a dedicated software product for Macs.  Customers using a Mac can use our Stamps.com Online Product, which is completely web-based.  Batch imports (method that allows you to import orders from eBay, Amazon, Etsy, etc.) is currently being developed for the Stamps.com Online product.   ETA is in early 2014. You can see an example of Stamps.com Online at http://www.screencast.com/t/6s6Imh8b .  (Eric Nash/Stamps.com)

#8  What is the benefit of using Stamps.com over just printing labels from eBay? Can I use it for my Amazon shipments? Stamps.com is built for people who need to speed up their shipping process.  Printing labels inside Stamps.com is much quicker than eBay Shipping, USPS Click-N-Ship or other shipping software programs.  Also, you can import orders from multiple eBay accounts into one interface, as well as import orders from Amazon, Etsy, Shopping Carts, PayPal, and other marketplaces/data sources.  This turns Stamps.com into a shipping label management system.  You can print labels by product, box size, destination, etc.  (Eric Nash/Stamps.com)

#9  Should I wrap/package things differently when selling internationally? Not really, unless you expect it to get rougher handling or be exposed to extreme weather elements that could potentially harm what is inside.  Just realize that these shipments are subject to being opened by authorities so you may want to make it fairly easy to open and be re-wrapped.  (Bryan/Jason – ThriftingWithTheBoys.com)

#10  When do I need to include that plastic envelope on my package for the Customs Forms? The customs envelope is for the USPS Form 2976-A Customs Form, which includes 4 copies of the standard Customs Form.  Generally speaking, you need to include this on any Priority Mail International or Priority Mail Express International package.  If you are shipping with First Class Package International Service, generally you can use the USPS Form 2976 Customs Form, which is a one page form. (Eric Nash/Stamps.com)

#11  Do you have a list of countries that currently support First Class Package International Service Tracking? Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, and Switzerland. (Eric Nash/Stamps.com)

#12  If the customer doesn’t receive their package, do you refund the customer for the item and shipping? Yes, how would you want to be handled if you purchased an item and it never arrived?  (Bryan/Jason – ThriftingWithTheBoys.com)

#13  I have shipped International for years, I always enclose packing slip, do I need to always do that? Stamps.com suggests you always include a packing slip in your international packages.  Some countries require it as your package goes through Customs.  Also, if the label ever came off during shipping, a packing slip with the sender’s address and recipient’s address will help the local postal authority properly identify the package. (Eric Nash/Stamps.com)

#14  I have a lot of problem with UK shipments not being delivered and therefore we have stopped shipping items there. Any suggestions? Keep shipping to the UK. Very few problems and now with better tracking your problems should be minimized.  (Bryan/Jason – ThriftingWithTheBoys.com)

#15 How do you track a package once it passes customs? USPS tracking for international packages is getting better every day.  This image http://www.screencast.com/t/rckEvhobu  shows examples of how a Priority Mail package travels to its final destination.  Note:  Tracking is different for every country, but the USPS continues to try and improve/standardize the tracking. (Eric Nash/Stamps.com)

#16  How do you protect against us sending an item and then a customer deciding against paying the custom fees or taxes and doesn’t pick up the item, and then contacts us that they didn’t get it. We then are required to refund the customer! I find this is happening way too often. This may be an instance where you might want to consider using the Global Shipping Program.  (Bryan/Jason – ThriftingWithTheBoys.com)

#17  How do we know how much a buyer has to pay for customs, or is that already included in the calculated shipping price? When you are shipping an item to an international destination yourself, the buyer would be responsible for researching the import fees (known as “landing costs”).  The buyer would need to go to the specific country’s Customs site, where all the fees and tariffs would be listed for specific products.  These listings are normally very general in listing (i.e. “men’s shoes” rather than “Nike Air Jordans”).  If a seller uses eBay’s Global Shipping Program, all of the tariffs, taxes and duty fees are shown to the buyer along with a brokerage fee.  (Eric Nash/Stamps.com)

#18  Do you offer return policy for international shipping? Sure, same as US, buyer pays for return shipping.   (Bryan/Jason – ThriftingWithTheBoys.com)

#19  I use Inkfrog with Stamps.com for shipping and the International labels print with the Electronic Delivery Confirmation to the additional countries recently added for First Class Package International Service. When I go to Stamps.com directly to print labels to any for these countries, I don’t get the Electronic Delivery Confirmation.  Why is this happening? You need to download the latest version of the Stamps.com software.  The current version of Stamps.com is Version 10.5. You can download it at http://www.stamps.com/download/  (Eric Nash/Stamps.com)

#20  Another very important point to consider is Paypal Seller Protection plan does not cover all countries.  Do you still sell into countries not covered by Paypal Seller Protections? Yes, but if it was a very expensive item I would consider alternative ways to guarantee arrival such as Priority Mail Express International  (Bryan/Jason – ThriftingWithTheBoys.com)

#21  Does Stamps.com show list of prohibited items per country? Yes. When using Stamps.com, the program automatically will show the product prohibited items/restrictions in a window next to the package details.  The window will automatically appear based on the country you are shipping your package to, pulling the data from the address field. You can see an example of this window at http://www.screencast.com/t/BZYs3Ow3a (Eric Nash/Stamps.com)

#22  Can we use label paper for the one page Customs Form? Yes, the one page Customs Form (USPS Form 2976) can be printed on regular paper or on a 4″x6″ adhesive label and placed directly on your package.  No Customs envelope is needed. (Eric Nash/Stamps.com)

#23  Is there a $400 limit on Priority Mail International. Or can we ship higher value items with Priority Mail International by providing additional forms/documentation? For regular Priority Mail International packages, you are able to mail an item up to $2,500 in value as you normally would.  If your item is over $2,500 in value, you’ll need to include an Internal Transaction Number (ITN) number on the Customs Form and you may be required to get a license or perform other actions.

There is a $400 limit for smaller Priority Mail International packages.  Those packages are ONLY the Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelope (regular, legal sized or padded) and the Priority Mail International Small Flat Rate Box.  For those packages/envelopes, and only those packages, the contents may not exceed $400 in value. (Eric Nash/Stamps.com)

#24  Priority Mail Express International to Russia required us to go to the Post Office. However, Priority Mail International to Russia for the same package was accepted. What is the logic? As long as you print your shipping label using online postage, you should not need to drop your package off at the Post Office.   When you use online postage, the software prints an electronic round stamp on the Customs Form.  This electronic round stamps indicates to the USPS you are a “Known Mailer” (you have an established online postage account in good standing) and you may give your international package to your daily mail carrier.  You do not need to go to the Post Office.

About ThriftingWithTheBoys.com and ShippingWithTheBoys.com: Jason Smith and Bryan Goodman are Top Rated Sellers who have each been selling on eBay for over 12 years. Nearly all of the products they sell come from thrift stores. Known in the eBay community as “Thrifting with the Boys,” Jason and Bryan are regular guests on eBay Radio and have presented to standing room-only audiences at eBay on Location, eBay Radio Party and other e-commerce events. They also serve as Worthologists for Worthpoint, lead a popular Facebook group and offer thrifting excursions. Jason and Bryan recently created a new shipping educational website called ShippingWithTheBoys.com, where they share knowledge, advice and success stories on how to ship products worldwide.

Top Rated Seller Webinars is a FREE monthly webinar series that provides educational information for eBay and e-commerce sellers.  The webinar series is underwritten by Stamps.com, PageMage, Outright, eBay Radio, Terapeak and Kabbage.

Ebay Sellers – Tips to Ship Fragrances through USPS

April 4th, 2011 9 comments

Fragrances are a profitable item to sell on eBay, but shipping them through the U.S. Postal Service can get tricky because they are  flammable suzanne-wells_1and hazardous. Perfume, cologne, and fragrances in general are made from aromatic oils blended with alcohol. Because fragrances are a common household item, you may not consider them as a hazardous liquid. However, when fragrances are subjected to temperature changes or atmospheric pressure, the alcohol ingredients can become a volatile and hazardous substance.

Proper Packaging is Key
When eBay sellers are shipping fragrances, you must be sure to package them carefully. Glass bottles can shatter in transit if not packaged correctly. Always wrap glass fragrance bottles in several layers of bubble wrap. Then, set the wrapped bottle inside a box with at least 4 inches of space between the wrapped bottle and the box. Fill in the space with packing peanuts or shredded newspaper. If shipping multiple bottles, wrap each bottle in bubble wrap individually. Make sure there is plenty of space between each bottle inside the box and ensure the different bottles don’t touch each other. Fill in all the empty areas with plenty of packing peanuts. Once the box is closed and taped properly, try shaking it lightly — you should not hear anything moving around inside the box.

USPS Mail Classes to Use
The USPS only allows fragrances to be shipped by ground methods of transportation such as Parcel Post. USPS regulations also require your package to be labeled with the words “ORM-D Parcel Post” clearly written on the outside of the box.

Due of their flammable nature, they may not be shipped by air via expedited services such as Priority Mail or Express Mail. And since there are no ground shipping options to international destinations (including Canada), fragrances cannot be shipped internationally. Also, shipping fragrances to Hawaii is not permitted since there are no ground shipping options to the islands.

If you are selling empty collectible perfume bottles, the rules are not as strict. The bottles are empty, and therefore, not flammable or hazardous. Just make sure you package the bottles with care as described above. The fragrance bottles are still fragile and need special attention.

About the Author
Selling on eBay since 2003, Suzanne Wells aka The eBay Selling Coach has sold over 17,000 items as a one person operation and has achieved the status of Silver Level Power Seller on eBay.   Suzanne’s book, The Stay-at-Home Mom’s Guide to Successful eBay Selling helps eBay sellers learn what products to sell, where to find them and how to successfully market on eBay.

eBay Sellers – Expand Sales with International Markets

July 6th, 2010 8 comments

suzanne-wells_1If you are an eBay seller, shipping internationally is one way to gain millions of potential new customers without costing you a dime in advertising or marketing. 49% of the buyers on eBay live outside of the USA, which means that opening up your auctions to the rest of the world is a great way to increase demand for your products. Although eBay has many international sites, consumers worldwide understand that the USA eBay site offers a much larger selection of products. Plus, many international customers have an affinity for products sold in the USA.


First Class Mail International:  Cheapest Option to Ship Overseas
Shipping internationally is not complicated; it just involves a few extra steps. If you are shipping small inexpensive items such as health and beauty products, clothing items, or accessories, consider shipping those items First Class Mail International. If the item weighs less than 4 pounds, it can be shipped First Class Mail International which is a much more economical rate than Priority Mail International. For example, let’s say you sold a sweater for $19.95 to a customer in the United Kingdom. The sweater weighs 8 ounces when packaged in a poly mailer. If you ship the item First Class Mail International, the cost to the customer is only $7.32 compared to a Priority Mail Small Flat Rate Box which costs $13.45 or a Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope which costs $12.95. By using First Class Mail International, you are able to charge your customer less and make the purchase more attractive. As an eBay Top Rated Seller, I have used Stamps.com to ship thousands of packages via First Class Mail International over the last 7 years.

Stamps.com Offers Free Program for eBay Sellers
There are two major advantages of using Stamps.com for your eBay business. First, Stamps.com has the option to print and ship First Class Mail International without a trip to the Post Office whereas PayPal Shipping and and other shipping labels services do not. Second, Stamps.com offers discounts on your postage when you print labels online from home; you can save up to 13% on domestic Priority Mail and 5% on Priority Mail International.  Best of all, Stamps.com offers a free service for eBay sellers.  You can print shipping labels for free (including First Class Mail International) by connecting Stamps.com to your eBay account.  Learn more at: http://www.stamps.com/ebayfree4


About the Author

Selling on eBay since 2003, Suzanne Wells aka The eBay Selling Coach has sold over 17,000 items as a one person operation and has achieved the status of Silver Level Power Seller on eBay.   Suzanne’s book, The Stay-at-Home Mom’s Guide to Successful eBay Selling helps eBay sellers learn what products to sell, where to find them and how to successfully market on eBay.

5 Tips to Sell Better on eBay

April 21st, 2010 3 comments

Blog_EbaySellingTipsThere is a marketplace for every product, and at an increasing rate, the best place to sell your item is online. One of the most reputable places to sell items online without starting your own website is eBay – the world’s largest marketplace where a person can buy or sell products and services to a global audience

If you are selling on eBay, check out these five tips to boost your sales:

#1  List Your Item in the Correct  Category:

One of the first things that eBay has you do is choose a category for eBay to list your product in. Picking the right category is key because potential buyers pay attention to categories when looking for items that they want to buy. When you begin posting your item, eBay will prompt you to describe your item in a few words. If the categories that automatically pop up aren’t right for your product, try choosing new keywords. You can even choose multiple categories if you’re not sure. This first step can be the difference between your item selling for $10 and $100.

#2  Add Keywords to Your Item Title:

You don’t get much space for an item title, so you need to maximize your keywords to entice potential customers to view your item. Keywords are everything on eBay, so make sure your item title includes a brand name/manufacturer, material, color, and any other applicable descriptor. Only if you have room should you mention the item’s condition in the title.

The description of your product should be clear and concise. You should be honest about the condition of your item and mention any policies you have about eBay sales. Avoid using all caps which many buyers find obnoxious.

#3  Don’t Forget the Power of Pictures!:

Sellers on eBay will focus on pictures of your item because they want to make sure they know what they are getting. Bring your item into a well-lit room and place it on a neutral space, such as hanging in front of a closet, laying on a nicely-made bed or sitting on an empty table. Take pictures from multiple angles if necessary. If there is any damage to the product, take a detailed picture of it. The pictures should be small enough to load quickly and be clear, crisp and well-lit.

#4  Start with a Low Starting Bid:

eBay has a great feature that tells you how much your item sells for on average on its site. However, numbers can be deceiving. If you’re selling a popular product, you won’t want to set a high bid price because it’s less likely that potential buyers will bid on your item. Lower bid prices also can lower your insertion fee.

Start by setting a bid that’s between 25% and 50% of your item’s listed value with wear and tear taken into account. Then set a reasonable “Buy It Now” price that’s between 75% to 100% of your item’s value. Soon enough, you’ll have a bidding war on your item.

 

#5 Save on Package Shipping:

eBay sellers often use shipping and handling as a profit center, so the extra fees can increase the price of your product quickly.  If your shipping costs are higher than other sellers, you could be losing sales every day.

To keep your shipping costs low, try using either USPS First Class (for items 13 oz. in weight or lower) or Parcel Post package shipping when you send items to your buyers. The savings can be as much as high as 30% off Priority Mail. You can also save money and time by using online shipping software such as Stamps.com.    The shipping software allows you to print all USPS mail classes including Media Mail, First Class Mail International and Parcel Post and includes discounts for Priority Mail and Express Mail.

Stamps.com is currently offering a free program for eBay sellers that allows you to import sales order data directly from eBay into Stamps.com – no cut and paste required. eBay Sellers will have access to great Stamps.com shipping features including hidden postage, discounted rates for Priority Mail and Express Mail, and Customs forms integration for international shipments.  Most importantly, you can print First Class Mail International labels and insure your products up to $2,500 instead of the $500 limit that other shipping programs have.

Sign up for the free eBay shipping program now at: http://www.stamps.com/ebayfree4

Stamps.com Video – Ecommerce Shipping Made Easy

November 20th, 2009 1 comment

We’ve recently created a new shipping video that showcases how easy it is for ecommerce sellers to import sales order data from the top marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon, Yahoo! Stores, Google Checkout, PayPal or even your own shopping cart using Version 8.5.  This process completely eliminates the need to manually input any address data.

Batch print up to 1,000 shipping labels or print individually
Once the sales order data has been imported into Stamps.com, printing USPS shipping labels can be done with just a few clicks.   You can batch print up to 1,000 labels at a time or choose individual labels to print.  Stamps.com Version 8.5 will also automatically post-back shipping details including tracking numbers and delivery info into your eBay or Amazon store.

Other Great Shipping Features Such as SCAN Forms & Priority Mail Rate Discounts
Along with importing sales order data from multiple marketplaces, Stamps.com also provides other great shipping software features such as hidden postage, integrated customs forms, USPS acceptance SCAN forms and Priority Mail rate discounts plus much more.

Call us toll-free at 1-888-434-0055, Monday - Friday, 6 AM - 6 PM Pacific Time.