Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesday's Ebay Selling Tip: Ship International Packages

Come on, you can do it!  It's easy!

For YEARS I resisted shipping internationally because...well...because...hmmm...well, I don't really know why.  It seemed intimidating I guess, all the paperwork, going INTO the post office which I hate to do, dealing with huge long addresses and language barriers.

But did you know that 30% of my auctions are won by people living in countries other than ours?  Do you know what that means?  30% of my auctions are ending HIGHER and I am making MORE money because I am willing to ship to foreign countries.

And despite my initial wrong assumptions, you CAN ship international packages from home...Mr. McFeely WILL pick those up too (as long as you have the right supplies).

In a nutshell, here's the skinny on shipping internationally:

1.  Just like domestic shipping, the prospective buyer can calculate shipping to their location if you set it up on your listing (there is a place to do this).  You don't have to answer a million gazillion questions and keep doing it yourself.

2.  If you package weighs less than 4 pounds (and is NOT in a big box--see the USPS website for dimensions), it can be shipped via First Class International Mail.  If it weighs over 4 pounds or is in a bigger box, it ships Priority Mail International.

3.  You DO NOT need special boxes.  I box my international packages the same as I would regular packages, and yes you can use the priority boxes and flat rate boxes.

4.  You CAN ship international packages from home.  When you print your labels out, you'll get extra copies and need to sign them, but for first class you simply affix the label to your box or envelope.  For Priority Mail International packages, you'll need to get the sticky-backed clear front envelopes from your post office (go in there and get a ton so you don't have to go back for a while)...they'll give them to you.  Your printer will print 4 copies of the customs form, which need to be signed and placed in the clear front envelope.  Then you peel off the backing and stick it on your package.  Your mailman will pick it up the same as the others.

5.  International buyers do pay and their money is just as green as our dollar.  Well, maybe their money isn't green...but when it lands in my paypal account it sure is.

Even if International buyers don't win all of my auctions, they are still taking place in the process of bidding my items up higher.  I'm not sure why foreign bidders are willing to go higher than many American bidders...I know for a while the dollar was weak and so they were snagging up deals...maybe this is still the case?  Maybe certain toys are  not available in certain countries?  Maybe a lot of ebayers won't ship overseas but I will?  Whatever the reason, trust me, it will pay to open up your auctions to international bidders!

Check back later on today for more tips on shipping...I know it is something a lot of you have questions about!


  1. If you want to avoid the post office all together, you can order the clear sticky envelopes at the USPS website

  2. I've definitely been intimidated in the past to ship internationally but you make it sound simple. Thanks for the tips!

  3. I just shipped my first international package on Friday after resisting for 10 years. I didn't want to because it was a huge box but a guy in Canada begged and begged! Turns out it wasnt as hard as I imagined, and the auction closed at $25 higher than the item normally sells for. Definitely worth the little bit of extra work.

  4. I have been selling on ebay for 9 years. Though it's only been about 7 yrs that I have done international shipping. Some of my most wonderful buyer have been , international. Yes they do bid things up higher. So far w/ buy it now or best offer, they have never offered a lower price, they just use the buy it now (luv that)! And oddly enough they never complain about the cost of shipping. For a long time I noticed priority packages were getting to Germany or Italy quicker than Canada. I asked my local postal guy why. He said, "Canada's postal system is known for going on strike, like clock work". All in all shipping international has been a win win for me.

  5. I will ship internationally if a bidder requests it. I will admit that I have had some problems though, in particular, to Brazil. There are other countries that delays have been particularly bad (Italy) and I am always concerned in these cases. Really, there isn't much you can do to assure the buyer once the package leaves the US, so it can be difficult. Canada, in general, has been no problem for me, so I don't even consider them a "foreign country" anymore!

  6. Hello, thanks for the post. I have been shipping internationally for years on ebay, but only priority and express mail. How do you ship first class mail international from home? I usually ship right from paypal. Thanks!!!

  7. Hi,
    I'm in the UK and often buy things from international sellers. You're right in saying that our GB£ is strong against the dollar, which makes everything cheaper, AND you do have a lot of cool stuff in the US that we just don't get here - for example I always buy my return labels for letters from US sellers...designs are just more fun, unique and special than stuff we tend to get here. And also (don't go getting swelled heads here folks)...you guys are so friendly and decent that it's a pleasure, for me anyway, to buy from you all! I always ship overseas as a seller, always have done, but have decided to give Italy a wide berth from now on....just too much hassle.
    I love seeing the things you buy at yard sales - they are not something we get much of here - and there's no such thing as consignment sales :(

    K xx

  8. As a renewed seller, I have a lot to learn. Very interesting point. I have sold internationally before, but it was a very high end item. Love your blog!

  9. I've shipped a lot of art and dealt with a lot of really flaky companies that don't tell you the truth about when the boat is leaving, don't let you know when there are changes in delivery schedules, etc...for some reason this business can attract a bunch of weirdos. www.viabox.com


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