Before we dive in, here are the highlights for the busy online seller!
Shipping: eBay GSP ships all items with Priority International mail. Hipshipper offers Priority & Expedited.
Rates: Hipshipper offers very competitive shipping rates when compared with eBay GSP.
Returns: Hipshipper offers free international returns. eBay GSP doesn’t have a solution for international returns.
Now we'll take a deep breath and flash out the all the details. Let’s start with a cliche, validate it and then move to facts.
The world is getting smaller. We can get from point A to point B much faster and cheaper than a decade or two ago. In the same way, we can buy stuff from any place on earth and have it shipped to us, pretty quickly and quite affordably. Looking at the other side of the coin, we - this time we are online sellers - can offer our products to a global audience, quite literally. That’s a nice, big audience.
For eBay sellers looking to sell internationally, the seemingly obvious option is to sign up with eBay’s own Global Shipping Program (GSP). “With the click of a button” your products can be purchased worldwide; that’s a tempting proposition and many sellers sign up for the service without proper consideration. As everything else in life, GSP has its pros and its cons, and there are alternatives; thinking otherwise would be naive.
Hipshipper is such an alternative, with more pros and less cons.
We’ll go through the comparison according to the following:
- Getting started (implementation)
- Package Handling
- Shipping Cost
- Profit on Shipping
- Scope of Customer Service
- Customer Service in Practice
Getting Started (implementation)
Obviously it’s hard to compete with the one-click implementation of GSP, but Hipshipper isn’t far behind. All you need to do is install our Chrome or Firefox extension, enter your store name and PayPal account and that’s pretty much it. Your store is now connected to the Hipshipper dashboard.
Hipshipper will automatically setup your international shipping rate table on eBay and add international policies to your selected items, on top of your domestic policies.
You’ll have some decisions to make:
- Do you want to ship to remote US addresses
- If you want to have all your items available for international shipping or just selected few
- Whether to give your customers the option of expedited shipping
These are decisions you need to make anyway, whether you ship internationally with Hipshipper, or eBay GSP.
One nice decision you’ll need to make, which is unique to Hipshipper, is whether do add a fixed surcharge to the shipping price, which adds pure profit to your bottom line.
eBay GSP doesn’t perform any product inspection when they get your package at their domestic center in Kentucky. In this regard, we provide a value-added service that GSP lacks.
When your package reaches Hipshipper’s domestic center in New York, we conduct a product and packaging inspection. We verify that the correct item is inside and that it’s not broken. If your package has been damaged during the domestic trip (torn, wet, crumbled) or if we think your packaging isn’t sufficient to withstand international travel, we’ll repackage it.
Of course, no additional costs will be applied to you for the repackaging.
Here we have a big advantage over eBay GSP; actually a few big advantages.
eBay GSP ships all items with USPS Priority International mail, not the most cost-effective service, especially for cheaper items.
Hipshipper works with multiple international carriers (FedEx, DHL, UPS, Asendia and yes, also USPS) and every order is being matched with the best rate we can get from our shipping partners. We offer very competitive rates when compared with eBay GSP, again, especially when it comes to lower-cost items.
Another thing eBay does is add customs fees that in most cases results in customers paying a higher customs fee than they should have (plus excessive postage charges.) This isn’t just us saying that, you can read about this here, here and here.
Hipshipper doesn’t charge customs fees pre-shipping. Since customs fees are extremely complex to calculate and each country has its own rules and regulations on how to charge customs, we leave it to the countries to collect their own customs. Make sense, no?
If you use Hipshipper for your international shipping, the only costs appearing on your product pages are the item cost, and the shipping price. Simple. It also has a strong positive impact on the purchase decision.
Profit on Shipping
Straight and to the point: Hipshipper gives sellers the option to profit from the shipping, GSP doesn't. We do that by allowing our sellers to add a fixed price factor to the shipping cost (flat or percentage) which translates to pure profit. Needless to say it is not indicated in any way in the shipping cost presented to the buyer on the site or in post-purchase documentation.
As per tracking, we are shoulder to shoulder with GSP, which isn’t a bad place to be.
Hipshipper offers real-time, cross-carrier tracking for buyers. Using Hipshipper’s own tracking number, buyers are able to view - in real-time - the progress of their order, step by step, through a simple interface on the Hipshipper website. We also offer live chat for buyers regarding shipping inquiries.
This is the part for us to puff out our chests and proudly say, we got you eBay!
Hipshipper offers Free International Returns. eBay GSP doesn’t.
Actually, GSP doesn’t handle returns at all, leaving it to the buyer and seller to figure it out between them. As you can imagine, this can lead (and often does) to friction between buyers and sellers, resulting in complaints and negative reviews on the marketplace.
In order to avoid all that, Hipshipper takes full ownership on the issue of international returns. No matter what is the product, the country it needs to be returned from or the reason the buyer wants to return it, Hipshipper will shoulder the cost and handle the logistics.
By removing one of the main obstacles facing international sellers, Hipshipper is truly making its mark as a singular solution for international shipping.
Scope of Customer Service
When we say customer service, we think of it in the broadest sense of the word. It’s more than answering the phone or replying to a chat message. It’s about our responsibility as your service provider - when does it start and end and how far we’ll go to protect your interests, in front of the buyers and the marketplace.
eBay GSP is very clear of the perimeter of their responsibility - it starts when your package reaches eBay GSP center in Kentucky and ends when the buyer receives the package. Whatever happens to your package from the moment it left your warehouse until it reached, or didn’t, Kentucky, is of no concern to eBay GSP.
Next, GSP ‘disconnects’ when the buyer gets the package, before he, or she, opens it. The ‘shipping’ was completed, and you’re back with eBay’s ‘the buyer is always right’ philosophy.
In contrast to that, Hipshipper’s responsibility starts when the package leaves your warehouse and only ends when the buyer is pleased and satisfied with the purchase, and your marketplace ratings have remained intact.
Hipshipper provides post-delivery support and service, in the form of free international returns. Be the reason buyer remorse, damaged goods, wrong item and everything in between, we’ll we’ll take charge of the logistics and cost; our support team is pro-active and agile in its thinking and actions and will make your customer happy.
Customer Service in Practice
When you need support from GSP about your international shipping, you don’t have a dedicated support team within the sprawling infrastructure of eBay’s seller-support. You will be handled by a support person that deals with, basically, a million different support issues.
With Hipshipper, this is what we do - we ship internationally. Our customer success and support team are highly knowledgeable of every aspect of international shipping, can answer any question and provide an adequate solution to any problem. More than that, they are, first and foremost, on your side.
To Sum Up
Bottom line is, use GSP or Hipshipper, your package will arrive at its destination overseas. Question is, at what cost and what happens if something goes wrong?
Use Hipshipper for super-competitive shipping costs for your customers, ability to make an additional profit on the shipping itself and the peace of mind of not worrying about international shipping, free returns included.