There is no doubt that internet sales and online payment systems have enabled many small companies to broaden their sales appeal across the world.
Sales platforms such as Ebay and Etsy and online payment companies like Paypal have helped us all deal with overseas customers far more easily.
I don’t know about you though, but I am starting to come up against problems which are making international purchases far less appealing for both me and my customers.
Ebay and Paypal charges are quite high. And getting higher all the time. Ebay’s costs in particular are now too prohibitive for me to make the most of this website. And their postage calculator which caps postage lower than the actual rate have made things very difficult.
I have now stopped using them in favour of Etsy but this site’s fledgling status makes sales slow even though their charges are very competitive.
The other issue is the cost of postage. Some of the items I am listing weigh too much to make them worth sending at all. Professionally reproduced reenactment dresses of quality weigh a lot – some of mine are well over 2kg. I tried to cost up for two dresses to go to the US last week and I’m looking at £150 to send them both with loss compensation. Not surprisingly, the client backed down and I lost sales that would have meant I would have broken even this month.
I sent a handbag to Chile today and it cost over £10, the same as the price of the bag itself. The point of websites like this is that they are cheaper than the shops but with costs like this, customers are pretty much paying shop prices which defeats the point of me using them in the first place.
I think that fairly soon I am going to stop sending outside of the EU. It’s causing too many problems and putting customers off anyway and there seems no easy solution except to cut back on the areas I can do business with. Which is a shame.