eBay is now automatically signing its sellers into its recently launched UK Global Shipping Programme to make it far easier for them to sell overseas. eBay wants to encourage more UK sellers to ship overseas because up to now, many of them have been reluctant to deal with international parcel services due to issues with deliveries.
For local sellers on the site, it means they get access to an international audience to which they can now ship without any of the hassle of dealing with international parcel services themselves. That's because the sellers are now assigned a local postal address where they send their items to, and eBay then organises forward delivery to the overseas address, and no additional cost to the seller; it's the buyer who will pay for onward delivery.
Sellers don't have to be involved in the Global Shipping Programme, however, and can easily opt out of it in their account settings. One of the drawbacks of the scheme that has emerged is that it doesn't deal with returns, which are always part of e-commerce and must be dealt with satisfactorily if customer trust and business is to be maintained.
So if an overseas customer wants to return something, they can't do so under the Global Shipping Programme and instead they'll have to work with the seller to resolve the issue. With overseas returns, though, the programme with refund the initial cost of international delivery that the customer paid.
So far, the programme seems to be working. It was launched towards the end of the last year and this month the company announces that one million items had been dispatched from the UK to overseas destinations using the service. It translates into a lot more business for UK sellers, and a lot more order fulfilment - around 10,000 people are now buying from UK sellers every day using the Global Shipping Programme, eBay said.
The company says it has 25 million firms and individuals around the world selling items on its site and that this year it projects around US$300 billion in global sales will be achieved. That's a lot of sales, and a lot of order fulfilment and international deliveries.