Posted by Alex Jackson on February 27, 2017
International sellers have been taking a beating for some time now if you have seen your international sales go from a steady stream to a trickle you are not alone. What is causing this slowdown? Well for starters you could look at the strong dollar, great for that European trip you have always wanted to take but not so great if you are trying to sell to Europe, UK or the rest of the world for that matter.
Sell on eBay and use the global ship program? This may also be a contributing factor, eBay and Pitney Bowes are raking in a lot of cash with this program. Rumors abound of overcharging on tariffs due and other policies designed to pad the bottom line of both eBay and PB. Not to knock the global ship program too much it is a very useful tool that could and should be made more cost effective if eBay wants to stay competitive in a global market. USPS is not helping either the 2016 rate hikes for international shipping hurt a lot as well. As usual USPS points to the decline in first class mail for the need to raise prices. Now Paypal is adding insult to injury by raising rates on international payments fees for selling outside the US are going from 3.9% to 4.4% by the end of March with increases to currency conversion fees as well.
So what can be done to stem the tide and turn things around? Well a few things but for starters know what percentage of your business is coming from overseas customers, so you can gauge the effectiveness of your efforts. Do you know who your international customer is? what they want? Or what sort of service they expect? Can you customize your offerings to better fit the needs of these clients? If you are selling next to nothing overseas at present try some experimenting. Selling on eBay and using the global ship program? Try turning it off for a month and try shipping yourself a lot of overseas buyers may be put off by the high cost of the GSP. Conversely not using GPS and no sales? Why not try it out? a lot of shoppers may sacrifice cost for convenience remember if you have little to no sales now what have you got to loose? Also bear in mind there are plenty of other options for overseas shipping other than USPS or the global ship program, alternate carriers like FedEx, UPS or a third party freight forwarder may be a viable alternative. Paypal too is not the end all be all for payments. There are many other companies out there that offer similar card processing services without taking such a huge bite out of your funds from that international customer. Don’t despair positive change is simply unavoidable here market forces will eventually adjust to the point that the US seller can and will compete on a level playing field with the rest of the global economy, it’s just a matter of time and being prepared for when the trickle turns back into a stream.