Domestic and International Shipping
"Domestic" shipping is shipping within the same country as the listing site. "International" shipping is shipping to countries other than the country of the listing site. In the eBay API, there are domestic and international shipping services for each country that eBay supports. Call GeteBayDetails with the DetailName input filter set to ShippingServiceDetails to view valid shipping service options for each eBay marketplace.
International Shipping with the Global Shipping Program
Sellers can handle international shipping themselves, or by using eBay's Global Shipping Program. Global Shipping is a feature currently available to sellers who list items on the eBay US or eBay UK site (sellers can be registered anywhere). It enables a seller to sell an item to anyone, then use eBay to easily ship it from a US or UK location to the buyer's country (subject to restrictions on certain product categories, countries of manufacture and destination countries). The Global Shipping Program promotes international trade by providing express shipping with end-to-end tracking at significantly low shipping cost.
Sections of this chapter that discuss international shipping features do not apply to the Global Shipping Program except where noted as such. However, sections that discuss domestic shipping features do apply to the domestic portion of the Global Shipping Program, except as noted.
eBay intends this program to achieve two primary goals:
- Sellers should be able to sell to buyers in other countries as easily as they can sell to domestic buyers, without any additional concern for the complexities of international shipping.
- Buyers should be able to choose from the largest possible selection of products available for purchase on eBay, regardless of either the buyers' or the sellers' countries.
The current implementation of the Global Shipping Program is one stage in the process of accomplishing these goals. Over time, increasing seller participation in Global Shipping is expected to result in fewer logistical limitations and more shipping options.
Following is a comparison of traditional international shipping and the Global Shipping Program.
International Shipping vs. Global Shipping Program
|International Shipping||Global Shipping Program|
|Benefits||A seller can ship virtually any item to any destination, subject to governmental rules about shipping certain types of products and shipping to certain countries. The seller can choose from a variety of available international shipping services, price levels and associated features.||The seller is free to deal with just the domestic portion of the shipment without concern about the international portion. An international shipping provider (a company contracted by eBay) is completely responsible for the international portion of the shipment, which includes assessing costs, handling customs issues, providing insurance, and completing delivery to the buyer. The buyer pays all costs associated with the shipment at checkout, and will see no unexpected charges after that point.|
|Limitations||The seller is responsible for managing the logistics of the entire shipment, for insuring the shipment in a manner appropriate to the country and the carrier, and for ensuring delivery to the destination.||Some item categories, shipping methods and destination countries might not be supported by the international shipping provider for logistical, regulatory or cost reasons.|
All of the costs associated with the domestic leg of Global Shipping can be handled by the seller in the same way as regular domestic shipping. The costs associated with the international leg are determined by the international shipping provider, and are automatically included by eBay in the buyer's checkout process.
The shipping and handling charges for the domestic and international legs are combined and presented to buyers as a single shipping charge in each listing, so the buyers have no direct exposure to the concept of an international shipping provider. Different eBay sites might contract with different providers, but the identity of the provider for a given site is not required to implement the Global Shipping Program.
Enrolling in the Global Shipping Program
Enrollment in the Global Shipping Program is part of the standard eBay user agreement presented to sellers on the eBay US and UK marketplaces. Eligible sellers who have provided an international shipping option on fewer than 66% of their listings in a 12 month period (including new sellers) are automatically enrolled in the Global Shipping Program.
However, existing US and UK sellers who have previously opted out of the Global Shipping Program, and sellers with a high percentage of listings already enabled for any form of international shipping are not affected. Note that sellers who are already enrolled will not see any change in the shipping choices for their existing listings unless notified otherwise. All eligible sellers can also opt into or out of the Global Shipping Program on their My eBay preferences page (this cannot be done using an API).
After a seller enrolls in the Global Shipping Program:
- For an existing seller, current listings that are eligible for the Global Shipping Program are automatically converted to specify Global Shipping as the default international shipping service.
- When using the seller tools on the eBay web site, all eligible listings that the seller creates will automatically specify Global Shipping as the default international shipping service.
- The seller can remove the Global Shipping option for individual listings. Alternatively the seller can modify the setting in My eBay preferences to use a different default international shipping service, or opt out of the Global Shipping Program altogether.
When using the Trading API to add, relist or revise a listing, any seller who is currently enrolled in the Global Shipping Program can choose to offer either Global Shipping or traditional international shipping for the listing.
Regardless of how sellers are enrolled in the Global Shipping Program, all new listings they create using the seller tools on the eBay web site that are eligible for Global Shipping will automatically specify it as the default international shipping service. However, sellers can revise any of their existing individual listings to offer Global Shipping or not, as desired.
Shipping Carriers and Services
Generally, a "shipping service" refers to a particular shipping service option offered by a shipping carrier. An example of a shipping carrier is the U.S. Postal Service. An example of one of its shipping service options is called Priority Mail.
The Trading API has an enumerated type that defines many of the shipping service options offered by shipping carriers with whom eBay has a relationship. For example, there is an enumeration value named
USPSPriority, which corresponds to the previously mentioned Priority Mail service.
For the domestic leg of a Global Shipping Program shipment, sellers can use any carrier and service that is available to them for U.S. domestic shipping.
Shipping Service Categories
The supported shipping service options for an eBay marketplace are grouped into several categories. Shipping service categories include Economy, Standard, Expedited, One-Day Service, and Other. A shipping service option is classified into a category based on how the shipping time range provided by the service aligns with the shipping time range defined for the category.
In the eBay Seller Information Center, shipping service categories are referred to as shipping service "levels." This User's Guide will use the term "category" to align with the terminology used in the API.
You cannot specify a ShippingCategory in the Add/Revise/Relist family of API calls, as eBay does this categorization behind the scenes. ShippingCategory is read-only data that is returned in the ShippingServiceDetails and ShippingCategoryDetails container of GeteBayDetails. One possible use of ShippingCategoryDetails is to sort shipping services by ShippingCategory and then populate a pick list.
Call GeteBayDetails with the DetailName input filter set to ShippingServiceDetails to view valid shipping service options for each country.
Each instance of a ShippingServiceDetails.ShippingService container consists of the name of a shipping service option, but the corresponding ShippingServiceDetails.ValidForSellingFlow boolean field must be 'true' in order for that particular shipping service option to be specified as a valid shipping option in the listing.
Global Shipping Services
With the Global Shipping Program, the seller can use any domestic shipping category and service for the domestic leg of the shipment. The name of the selected domestic service does not have to be specified in an API call, and it doesn't appear to the buyer. Its cost is incorporated into the overall shipping cost for Global Shipping.
For the international leg of the shipment, Global Shipping has no equivalent to the domestic shipping categories; the level of service is determined by the international shipping provider, which specifies an international shipping service to complement the domestic shipping service chosen by the seller.
eBay provides a single Global Shipping Program service, International Priority Shipping.
After you create a listing with Global Shipping Program as the default international shipping option, the Trading API's Get calls will return
InternationalPriorityShipping as the value of InternationalShippingServiceOption.ShippingService, and
PBI (the international shipping provider) as the international carrier name in the ShipmentTrackingDetails.ShippingCarrierUsed field.
Although no direct comparison can be made between domestic and international shipping speed, International Priority Shipping is intended to be viewed as a cost-effective international equivalent to the Expedited category of domestic shipping services.
Specifying Multiple Shipping Services
Sellers who have not opted in to the Global Shipping Program can specify up to four domestic and five international shipping services for a listing.
Sellers who are participating in the Global Shipping Program can specify up to four domestic and four international shipping services, plus Global Shipping. This is the case regardless of whether or not the Global Shipping Program is actually offered for the listing.
If the Global Shipping Program is offered for a listing, it takes precedence, and becomes the only available international shipping option offered to any Global Shipping-eligible buyer who views that listing. However, if the buyer or the item is determined by eBay or the international shipping provider to be ineligible for the Global Shipping Program, the other international shipping options will automatically be offered for the listing instead.
For more information about shipping services, see Specifying Shipping Services.
When offering shipping services, the seller specifies the type of shipping (which determines which tags are used and affects how costs are established for shipping of the item). The options for ShippingType are these:
FlatDomesticCalculatedInternational types can be used to specify separate shipping types for the domestic and international legs of a traditional international shipment. Certain limitations apply to using shipping types with the Global Shipping Program. See Global Shipping Types.
Flat rate shipping (or "flat shipping") is when the seller specifies a fixed shipping rate that the buyer is to pay, regardless of package dimensions or weight, and regardless of distance. The seller can offer various shipping services to the buyer (for example, USPS Airmail Parcel Post and UPS Express Plus) and decides how much the buyer would have to pay for each service, regardless of the actual cost of such shipping to the seller. The seller can also tack on a surcharge in certain circumstances. See Shipping Surcharge.
Calculated rate shipping (or "calculated shipping") is when a seller offers shipping services and requests that eBay calculate the shipping cost according to such things as the package's dimensions and weight and the buyer's postal code. The seller can also charge the buyer packaging/handling costs in addition to whatever the shipping service would charge. See Packaging and Handling Cost.
Freight shipping is the shipping of items that are heavier than can be shipped with standard flat or calculated rate services. See Specifying Freight Shipping.
Global Shipping Types
For the domestic leg of a Global Shipping Program shipment, sellers can list an item using a ShippingType of either
Flat. Sellers do not control the shipping type used for the international leg, and they do not control the total shipping cost, as the international shipping provider is responsible for all aspects of the international leg of the shipment.
Buyers see the total cost of the domestic and international shipping components as a single amount, not displayed separately. Although sellers can't predict what the total shipping cost will be, they can control their cost structure for the domestic leg using ShippingType.
Other ShippingType values aren't available for the Global Shipping Program. For more information about shipping types, see Specifying Shipping Types and Costs.
Shipping costs might include any or none of the following:
- The cost of shipping the first item in a multiple-quantity listing and the cost of shipping each additional item in such a listing—see flat shipping details in Mixing Shipping Types
- Packaging and handling—see Packaging and Handling Cost
- Taxes—see Taxes
- Import charge—the total amount of customs duties, taxes, and related costs for shipping items across an international border as part of a Global Shipping Program shipment.
A key factor in determining applicable shipping costs (when listing) or parsing results is the shipping type.
Allocation of Costs with the Global Shipping Program
For Global Shipping, any costs that are associated with the international leg of the shipment are managed by the international shipping provider, who calculates them and incorporates them into either the shipping charge or the import charge. The import charge is determined by the international shipping provider and presented to buyers on the listing page for an item, based on the buyer's location. This quote is estimated on the View Item Page (VIP) and guaranteed at checkout.
The seller can impose charges for packaging and handling costs for only the domestic leg of the shipment. The seller determines these costs the same way as for a purely domestic shipment, then must incorporate them into either the item price or the shipping charge, which along with the import charge are the only costs visible to the buyer per item.
A buyer and seller can mutually agree to cancel part of a Global Shipping order after checkout and before it ships, and the buyer will receive a refund per the seller's refund policy.
However, due to the timing of this event, the buyer will not be refunded any shipping or import charges from the international leg of the shipment. It is recommended that buyers be made aware of this possibility in advance. When it occurs, they can accept the refund offered, or they can cancel the entire order and create a new order without the unwanted items.
Users can determine the portion of the buyer's payment for an order that is allocated to the international shipping provider as international shipping and import charges. The four primary order management calls (GetItemTransactions, GetOrders, GetOrderTransactions and GetSellerTransactions) return MonetaryDetails, which provides information about how funds exchanged for an order are allocated to payees. Each portion is represented by a Payment container that identifies the Payer, the Payee, the PaymentAmount and the PaymentStatus (
Succeeded). A Payment in which a Payee of type
eBayPartner names the international shipping provider will include the PaymentAmount for that provider. See the Trading API Reference for more information about the MonetaryDetails container.
Participation in the Global Shipping Program
By opting in to the Global Shipping Program, a seller can create listings for qualified items in which the international shipping option is Global Shipping (presented to buyers as "International Priority Shipping"). When a buyer in another country purchases a Global Shipping-enabled item, the buyer pays a single amount that covers the sum of the total item price, total shipping and handling for the item, and total import charges (i.e. customs duty and taxes) to transport the package into the buyer's country.
The seller ships the package to the domestic address of the international shipping provider, which then takes complete responsibility for transporting the package to the buyer, including selecting a delivery carrier, generating customs paperwork, and handling other details involved in an international shipment.
The domestic warehouse address of the international shipping provider is returned by the Get family of Trading API calls. For more information, see Using Global Shipping Information After Checkout.
The seller's responsibility for shipping remains the same as for any domestic shipment, and ends when the international shipping provider takes charge of the shipment.
Item and Listing Eligibility
Currently, sellers may offer shipping via the Global Shipping Program in their listings, subject to the following qualifications:
- The item must be one of the following:
- Listed on eBay.com and located within the United States, or
- Listed on eBay.co.uk and located within the United Kingdom.
- The item must not be illegal, hazardous, subject to export restrictions, prohibited by eBay or prohibited by the Global Shipping Program. See the Global Shipping Program seller terms and conditions for complete details.
- The item must be in a Global Shipping-eligible item category.
The current implementation of the Global Shipping Program applies to a subset of eBay's item categories. This subset includes a large number of categories, and over time, more categories will be included in the program.
The eligibility of a given item in a participating category to be shipped via the Global Shipping Program is automatically determined by the international shipping provider as soon as the seller selects Global Shipping as the default international shipping option for that item. If the item doesn't qualify, the seller will see a message requesting that a different international shipping option be selected.
You can determine whether a given item category is eligible for Global Shipping on your eBay site. See Retrieving a Seller's Global Shipping Records.
If a listing has both Global Shipping and another international shipping option enabled, and the item listed is determined by eBay or the international shipping provider to be ineligible for the Global Shipping Program, the Global Shipping option will be silently removed from the listing, and the remaining shipping option will automatically be offered in the normal way.
When a buyer views the listing of a Global Shipping-enabled item, eBay compares the buyer's primary shipping address to the destination shipping regions and countries excluded by the seller for the listing, as well as to the international shipping provider's current import/export restrictions, to determine if the buyer can be offered shipping via Global Shipping for the item. If the buyer qualifies for the Global Shipping Program, the listing page displays it as the international shipping option and displays the estimated total cost of shipping, including import charges.
Duplicate Global Shipping Data Fields
Processing Global Shipping-enabled orders requires two complementary instances of certain transaction data to be returned (typically by one of the Get class of calls), reflecting the different requirements of the participants. This division of data varies depending on the type of information involved, as follows:
The API call returns two instances of the ShippingDetails.ShipmentTrackingDetails container. In one instance, the ShippingCarrierUsed field specifies a domestic carrier and the ShipmentTrackingNumber field provides the domestic leg tracking information. In the other instance, the ShippingCarrierUsed field specifies
PBI (the international shipping provider), and the ShipmentTrackingNumber field provides the end-to-end tracking information. The buyer sees only the latter.
The API call returns two instances of the ExternalTransaction.PaymentOrRefundAmount field. The two values are the amount that the seller is responsible for refunding, and the amount that the international shipping provider is responsible for refunding. The buyer sees the total of the two refund amounts.
Calculated Shipping Rates