Originally Posted by SpooPoker
This is a fantastic thread, and I would be more than happy to help contribute my expertise here.
Hard and fast rule #1 -
IF YOU SHIP ANYTHING OVER $250, MAKE SURE IT IS SIGNATURE CONFIRMATION.
This will save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
Also, some quick tips for shipping internationally by USPS :
1. You can't send anything over $2500 to China without some seriously complex paperwork
2. You can't insure anything to Canada over $675
Spoo's expertise should be invaluable to anyone that sells on eBay, especially those getting started!
I've never shipped something to China, but I can only imagine the red tape (pun not entirely intended).
I'll add a couple of things...
1. Offer international shipping, but beware of the scams that are out there. Some countries are black holes and you'll never see your item again and likely the money as well unless you track it.
2. Having said that many international customers are legit and are easy/not very demanding. I live in Austria and have been shot down on buying something from the US because the seller didn't want to ship abroad. I've also talked sellers through the process to get an item to me and tried to make it worth their while.
3. Simply offering international shipping opens you up to an entire market and thus more people will view your auctions.
4. When you ship something internationally at the cheapest rate, you still have limited tracking. The part of the customs sticker/form (I think) gives you enough information to know when it leaves the country and sometimes when it arrives in the destination country. I can follow something sent from the US and then when it arrives in Austria, I can use the same number for post.at. This number doesn't cost extra.
5. Someone in the US will have to correct me, but based on the USPS site, you can easily do international shipping and have it picked up from your house (???).
6. Shipping internationally may seem incredibly expensive to you, but your international buyers probably expect it. When the € was much stronger a couple of years ago, it was downright cheap to buy luxury goods from America, even when shipping a pair of shoes cost $50. New pairs of Edward Greens were somewhere around 50-60% of the price compared to shopping in our home countries. It's not quite the deal now that the € has gone down.
7. Don't gouge your international buyers. I make repeated buys from American sellers that are willing to ship here and don't raise their prices when they see it's going somewhere else. We have access to USPS.com as well and can see when you're upping the price.