International sales
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Post Posted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 12:29 pm 
 

Seeing comments elsewhere here that selling internationally (which, for me, means outside of North America) might raise prices, does anyone know what this really amounts to on average?  I've shied away from international sales since the prices for shipping can become ludicrous and tracking is problematic, but I'm wondering if I'm shooting myself in the foot in the process?  I'm about to put up a large mixed lot of D&D/non-D&D stuff (don't know if I'm going to put up all 100 or so item as a lot, or if I'm going to piece it out -- the conventional wisdom seems to change on the best strategy for this) and need to figure out if I should allow international sales.

  


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Post Posted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 12:58 pm 
 

Bacon, there's many other European buyers (edit. of course, not sellers!) who regulary source from the US, besides me. :lol: (BTW, can recommend bacon as a great international seller :wink: )

Really, everytime I see some interesting stuff with "NO INTERNATIONAL BIDDERS ALLOWED" written all over the auction, I think: If you don't need my money? I don't care.

If you want to maximize your profits, there is really no other way than to sell worldwide. I can't see any good reason, why international bidders should be excluded. Or do we behave more stupid than US buyers? :roll:


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Post Posted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 1:08 pm 
 

You have to ship overeas or you make no money these days.

Face it Bush screwed our economy. so we are now all poor.(well me at least)

  

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Post Posted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 1:12 pm 
 

you could always come and sell to me! :)

draco76 (i hope) can vouch for me :)



  


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Post Posted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 1:18 pm 
 

Ya killjoy is a nice guy, he can even vouch for me being a screw up hehe.

I sent him a X3 instead of an X5

but I just told him deal with it no refunds! muahaha

  


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Post Posted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 1:21 pm 
 

Ralf Toth wrote:If you want to maximize your profits, there is really no other way than to sell worldwide. I can't see any good reason, why international bidders should be excluded. Or do we behave more stupid than US buyers? :roll:


This has been my experience, albeit not with RPGs.

1.  Because shipping is so much more expensive, very often international bidders compensate by bidding lower so the same total price works out.

2.  For non-RPG stuff, when customs/tariffs are involved, I am often asked to undervalue the item on the manifest, which hurts if insurance is required.

3.  Lack of tracking when sending via inexpensive methods can mean problems with lost shipments.

Given #1, I have assumed that most international bidders aren't going to make competitive bids.  But I suppose if this stuff is harder to come by overseas, then the market is there.  Even with what I sold Ralf, I thought the price was too high once the shipping was factored in (although now I can't remember the details, that was my feeling at the time).

  

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Post Posted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 1:31 pm 
 

Ralf Toth wrote:Bacon, there's many other European sellers who regularly source from the US, besides me. :lol: (BTW, can recommend bacon as a great international seller :wink: )

Really, every time I see some interesting stuff with "NO INTERNATIONAL BIDDERS ALLOWED" written all over the auction, I think: If you don't need my money? I don't care.

If you want to maximize your profits, there is really no other way than to sell worldwide. I can't see any good reason, why international bidders should be excluded. Or do we behave more stupid than US buyers? :roll:


While it is true I am not one of the big re-sellers around these parts, I at times will sell and item or two on rare occasions.

And on one sale in particular a couple of years ago I had a bad experience with an international buyer. He was located on some out of the way island near Spain. Had a strange way of doing business, and I never saw any payment. Buyer wanted to send me a Spanish MO (Or the equivalent of one anyway) I of course said no thanks, that I wanted either PayPal, or an Approved international MO.  :? He then offered to send me a personal check.  :? Again I declined once more saying that I wanted either PayPal, or an Approved international MO.

Of course, I ended up not getting a penny.... had to re-list the item and ended up getting less than that person had bid. :roll: I may simply have had a bad experience with that one person, but you never know.

However, that bad experience is long gone, I never stopped accepting international bidders and so far as I am concerned have had no additional problems with BUYERS. The international sellers however, seem to have to charge astronomical rates for Shipping and it apparently takes forever and a week to ship anything to the USA, from nearly anywhere else.

Unfortunately, I found that it does not always work the other way round (At least not for me). My items shipped overseas always seem to arrive in a timely manner (2 weeks or less), but items I purchase from overseas sellers seem to take the slow boat in route from... well who knows where?

Recently I had a package arrive three months and two weeks after payment was made by me through PayPal,  :x seller was located in the UK. The unprotected envelope was labeled Royal Mail Postage Paid and stamped Air Mail in several spots and at one spot labeled Photo Frame-Fragile, and enclosed in that envelope was my crushed box set  :x  :x (Not the one you guys are thinking about, a different one, that just arrived a couple of weeks ago). Too late to give the seller a negative feedback..... Long story for another time perhaps. :evil:

Ralf, not that I will ever have anything listed that you might want, you are welcome to bid anytime on any of my rare listings...... while I may not actually NEED your money, but I do want it.... :wink:


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Post Posted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 1:32 pm 
 

BaconTastesGood wrote:Even with what I sold Ralf, I thought the price was too high once the shipping was factored in.


If you're living in the US, it might look so. If you're living in Europe, the price was good (even including shipping). And don't forget the current exchange rate.

If overseas buyers start bitching about shipping quotes, an official quote on the auction might prevent this. I'm much quicker to bid on an auction that already states overseas shipping cost. OK, we all use pre-generated questions for shipping and such, but sometimes I am too lazy and just skip an auction, I'd have otherwise bid on.


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Post Posted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 1:39 pm 
 

Aneoth wrote:Ralf, not that I will ever have anything listed that you might want, you are welcome to bid anytime on any of my rare listings...... while I may not actually NEED your money, but I do want it.... :wink:


Thanks, I appreciate it   :lol:

I know you collect the rarer and more expensive stuff, so chances are that I probably cannot afford it. However, I'm starting to develope a taste for D&D stuff... If you have a nice copy of Blackmoor or Eldritch Wizardry on ebay (which is NOT a first printing  :wink: ), I'll be tempted to bid.


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Post Posted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 1:48 pm 
 

Ralf Toth wrote:
Aneoth wrote:Ralf, not that I will ever have anything listed that you might want, you are welcome to bid anytime on any of my rare listings...... while I may not actually NEED your money, but I do want it.... :wink:


Thanks, I appreciate it  :lol:

I know you collect the rarer and more expensive stuff, so chances are that I probably cannot afford it. However, I'm starting to develope a taste for D&D stuff... If you have a nice copy of Blackmoor or Eldritch Wizardry on ebay (which is NOT a first printing :wink: ), I'll be tempted to bid.

Actually, I have several extra copies of each of the OD&D Supplements. I can send you pics if you like. 8)  
Otherwise, yes, I do intend to list some of them sometime in the future.

But knowing my listing rate, I hope you realise that it may be a while. :oops:

BTW: When I stated "Rare Listings" above, I was not intending to refer to "Rare Items" but to the fact that actual auction listings themselves (by me) are a "Rare Occurrence".... :wink:


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Post Posted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 2:01 pm 
 

Ralf Toth wrote:If overseas buyers start bitching about shipping quotes, an official quote on the auction might prevent this. I'm much quicker to bid on an auction that already states overseas shipping cost. OK, we all use pre-generated questions for shipping and such, but sometimes I am too lazy and just skip an auction, I'd have otherwise bid on.


To be honest, one of the reasons that I'm willing to do international sales now is the PayPal pre-paid postage thing.  I purchased a mail scale and so now I can get exact quotes and pre-print the label instead of having to go all the way to the post office for it (although I still recall having to fill out a "green form" when I mailed that boxed set to you, but I might be able to download that).

This means that I can do it far more effortlessly than before.

Okay, I stand convinced ;)

  


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Post Posted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 2:07 pm 
 

Aneoth wrote:BTW: When I stated "Rare Listings" above, I was not intending to refer to "Rare Items" but to the fact that actual auction listings themselves (by me) are a "Rare Occurrence".... :wink:


I know, but the stuff you are bidding on looks rare and expensive to me 95% of the time I see you bidding.  :D And you are currently selling a 1st print Greyhawk and a 1st print MM. That looks like rare stuff to me.  :wink:

PM'd you about the OD&D supplements.


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Post Posted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 2:07 pm 
 

BaconTastesGood wrote:To be honest, one of the reasons that I'm willing to do international sales now is the PayPal pre-paid postage thing. I purchased a mail scale and so now I can get exact quotes and pre-print the label

Presume that system covers all the rates (including good ol' Global Priority), rather that just the "standard" airmail/surface rates??

BaconTastesGood wrote:(although I still recall having to fill out a "green form" when I mailed that boxed set to you, but I might be able to download that).

*g*. I know a lot of sellers seem to freak-out over such "official" customs-related paper work (enter "handling fee" territory).
Doesn't exactly take long to fill in, though; either way ;)

  

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Post Posted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 2:13 pm 
 

Here is all you need to know about international shipping (I have sold several hundred items overseas with not one damaged or lost item).

When sellers say "they have had horrible experiences" it is probably because they did something wrong or packaged it poorly and it was damaged.


RPG stuff is an easy sell for two reasons:  

1) They are books
2) They often fit in Global Priority Flat Rate envelopes

Get a stack of Global Priority Flat Rate envelopes and "Green" (short) Customs forms.   You can ship up to 4 lbs in a GP Flat Rate (which is more than enough for anything that can fit).  Address everything clear and correctly and fill out the customs form.  Check "other" for the contents (it is not a gift, sample or documents).  Be brief in the description - "Book" or "used book" is more than sufficient.  You can list the weight or let the Post office list it.  Also, feel free to put the actual price - there is NO INSURANCE available for Flat Rate and, in any case, most countries are "easy" on books (in fact, many don't charge or concern themselves with a tax).  A Flat Rate is $9.00 ($7.00 to Canada).  

The only "commonly" sold to country that doesn't accept GP Flat rate is Italy.  You will have to use Air Mail.

Even packages that are somewhat large ( I think the Max Height/Width/Depth limit is 72") can be sent Airmail letter Post if they are under 4 lbs.

If packages are larger than 72" (but less the 144") or are over 4lbs they must be sent by Parcel Post. Always offer Airmail Parcel Post and state that interntional bidders must email you first.  Check your weight (usually it is in 1 lbs. increments so it is easy to guess) and go to USPS - The United States Postal Service (U.S. Postal Service) to find the cost.  Insurance is available for these packages . . . if you don't want to risk an expensive purchase, don't ask you buyer if they want insurance, just bundle it up with the total shipping cost.  For these packages you must fill out a "White" (long) form which has five carbon copies.  

- Country of Origin is United States
- HS Tariff number (just leave blank)
- Make sure you state "Books"
- Always make sure you fill these forms out completely and sign/date (you can't trust a postal worker to check your work).


NEVER offer to send Surface mail - I will do this if the buyer requests and then I make sure they have a full and clear understanding that it will take between 4-8 weeks (possibly more).

ALWAYS package  items as if they would be tossed about the room like a football.  MAKE SURE they are encased in cardboard protective sleeves and/or boxes with bubble wrap, foam, etc.

DON'T EVEN MENTION M-Bags unless the buyer requests and you feel comfortable.

Rember that if a buyer gets several books and they won't fit into a Global Flat Rate, it still might be cheaper to send them in TWO separate envelopes at $9.00 each, than in ONE envelopes with combined weight.

Make sure you have a return address on every envelope - when shipping to Canada, make sure nothing is abbreviated and everything is in capital letters (they may still accept and delivery it if not, but their new "official" policy is as I stated . . . so don't take chances.)

Finally . . . if someone can't use paypal, then insist they use a Western Union money transfer which is quick and easy.  Or, failing that, I have allowed buyers to express mail me U.S. cash (which is signed for).

I have never had even a whisper of a problem yet . . . it is really no big deal.   8)


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Post Posted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 2:16 pm 
 

BaconTastesGood wrote:
To be honest, one of the reasons that I'm willing to do international sales now is the PayPal pre-paid postage thing. I purchased a mail scale and so now I can get exact quotes and pre-print the label


To the best of my knowledge the pre-pay postage in NOT available for any international package. You always have to go to the post office. . . even if you put a $9.00 postage stamp on a Flat Rate, the Post office still needs to scan the UPC code on the package and the UPC code on the customs form.


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Post Posted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 2:21 pm 
 

Shit no, Bush made our economy great, from a domestic standpoint. Overseas countries are snapping up American goods like a mackerel in a herring school. As is always the case with large-scale finance, you won't see the end results for a few years.
Which is exactly why you SHOULD allow overseas bidders. You get more $$ on average, because the exchange rate is so much in their favor.


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Post Posted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 2:28 pm 
 

I live in Italy, and I have to say that I frequently buy from overseas, if I see the convenience of doing that. The final result is that I pay more for freight charges - but, on the other way round, my euros weigh much more than the US dollars these days, so it all balaces out quite nicely.
And in fact, in my buying career, I had only ONE (well, it could happen to be two as I'm expecting a pack that doesn't come) problem about slow transportation time.
As for me, I only send worldwide via proofable methods, so that if needed I could show the receipts of my shipments - a fact that I think has been quite appreciated by my past customers.

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Post Posted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 2:34 pm 
 

beyondthebreach wrote:To the best of my knowledge the pre-pay postage in NOT available for any international package. You always have to go to the post office. . . even if you put a $9.00 postage stamp on a Flat Rate, the Post office still needs to scan the UPC code on the package and the UPC code on the customs form.


Gah!  What a pain.  The problem for me is that the easiest mailing place for me is a UPS Store, but the local post office is 20 minutes out of the way =(  So if I have to go to a post office I might be better off selling everything as a single huge lot to save trips/forms.

Oy, can't believe that sending a book international requires that much headache =/

  

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Post Posted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 2:46 pm 
 

BaconTastesGood wrote:
beyondthebreach wrote:To the best of my knowledge the pre-pay postage in NOT available for any international package. You always have to go to the post office. . . even if you put a $9.00 postage stamp on a Flat Rate, the Post office still needs to scan the UPC code on the package and the UPC code on the customs form.


Gah! What a pain. The problem for me is that the easiest mailing place for me is a UPS Store, but the local post office is 20 minutes out of the way =( So if I have to go to a post office I might be better off selling everything as a single huge lot to save trips/forms.

Oy, can't believe that sending a book international requires that much headache =/


It's really pretty easy. . . sorry if I made it sound hard . . . I was trying to list all posibilities.  

Just make one post office run per week . . . GPM arrives fairly quickly so it shouldn't be an issue.


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Post Posted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 2:49 pm 
 

i buy stuff from all over the place and have only ever had 1 problem - the only package that DIDNT arrive was from that emporium chap - cant remember his full ID but you know who i mean, i am sure!

i am quite happy for things to be sent to me in whatever the buyer is happy with, providing the shipping is not too expensive, then i will look at a cheaper option - i never mind how long it takes as long as i know its going to get here.....which is why i now scrutinise the feedback and get a feel of what others have been saying - this applies all the more when the more rare and expensive items are being sought as the risk is often a lot higher. ppl like draco76 and bclarkie etc are great as i know they are reliable and very easy to deal with - makes for a nice easy deal all round and i would certainly go back and get more.

as for m-bags, i only ever ask if i can use that service if the item(s) are VERY heavy, making the shipping a ridiculous amount. i know the risks and hence only ask for it with someone i know i can rely upon. i am also very aware of delivery times and have no problem waiting it out. so far like i said, only 1 item has never arrived, because it was never bloody sent grrrr.

so as for the above, the element of trust is required. if the seller packs an item(s) very well so the item can be shipped m-bag - there isnt a problem. IF the item is damaged slightly even then, then thats my problem as i have asked for it to be sent that way. either way, i have no problem at all if a seller adds a little handling, for all the messing around etc. i would rather someone go an extra yard and sort something to my satisfaction - charge a little for the trouble and then everyone is happy.

most out there do not appreciate this and think they are just being ripped off, but i guess thats down to the individual!

anyways i need some food - so cyas later :)

Alan



  
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