Japan Post to improve overseas ecommerce shipping in eBay alliance

Japan Post said today it has formed an alliance with US-based online shopping giant eBay to help propel the growing market for cross-border e-commerce. The state-owned postal corporation said today the partnership would help expand its postal customer base in Japan, while helping eBay to expand foreign markets for its Japanese merchants.

One of the key aims for the alliance will be to ensure international e-commerce shipping is “highly convenient”, the Post stressed in a statement to the media.

Japan Post will develop its international shipping services to provide cheaper rates than those at present, and is also investigating how to improve tracking options to provide confirmation of delivery, it said. There is some consideration for a 20-30% discount to stir eBay international business, as Japan Post looks to turnaround its 3% annual decline in mail volumes.

There are also plans for a simplified system will allow eBay merchants more control over their shipping, generating their own shipping labels that will allow orders to be consolidated for more efficient shipping. The system will also allow the checking of shipping history.

“Through cooperation with the international mail order service provided by eBay, Japan Post can expand international markets for overseas mail order and expand its postal customers by making highly convenient international shipping services available,” said the Post.

Language barrier

The alliance with eBay should see clearer information made available on the eBay Japan website regarding shipping options available, including express delivery services and registered international mail, along with the addition of information on the status and location of previous postal deliveries.

The media stated that a new support service would be launched in Spring 2012, helping Japanese merchants with their English language when putting items up for sale to overseas markets.

Japanese media reports said yesterday that use of eBay in Japan has “reached a plateau” with many merchants feeling daunted about entering foreign markets by having to post shipping instructions in English.

eBay will be looking to offer a wider range of products for sale, including Japanese antiques and anime books or figures that are difficult to buy outside Japan.

Japanese media reports suggested hopes were for a volume increase of several million more items a year within two or three years.

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