The popular crafts marketplace Etsy has made some announcements about new product features on the way that will help UK merchants plug into the increasingly popular Australian ecommerce market. And a key barrier they have identified, and wish to help merchants overcome, relates to shipping, and under the heading Strengthening our Global Marketplaces, they have revealed:
Making shipping easier in the UK and Australia: With 50 million unique items and buyers and sellers in nearly every country in the world, making it easy for sellers to ship their items is a challenge we actively work to tackle. Through partnerships with local providers, we plan to launch Shipping Labels to sellers in the UK by the end of the year and to sellers in Australia in the near future.
– Linda Findley Kozlowski, Chief Operating Officer, Etsy
This sounds like an interesting development and if Etsy can deliver good value shipping options, and especially discounts on the rack rate, then merchants will be interested. A seamless integration too with the marketplace will be required to make it a no-brainer utility for Etsy merchants. We will keep you posted as we learn more.
But the big unanswered question regards Australian import and GST tax which came into force at the start of July. GST will apply to the sale of low value goods sold to consumers in Australia valued at A$1,000 or less. International retailers must register online if they have a GST turnover of A$75,000 or more per year, according to recent information from the ATO (Australian Tax Office). Businesses that don’t comply will be subject to sanctions.
The various marketplaces have approached the new Aussie GST, which is meant to offer protection to local merchants, in different ways. eBay has launched a system whereby they calculate and collect the tax on behalf of of merchants. Amazon has basically shut down international shopping for Australians. We wonder how Etsy will approach the issue. If merchants have to deal with it themselves, the shipping labels product might struggle to take off.