Shipping Tips for eBay Sellers
A lot of sellers think that the hard work is done once someone's
bought your item and you've made a profit.
However, this is only the start for the customer, so it's important that you pay as much attention to shipping
the item as you do to all the other parts of the process.
Many buyers factor in the cost and speed of shipping into their buying decision, so here are a few tips to make
sure you get it right.
Know how much it costs to ship your item - This might sound obvious, but you'd be
surprised how many sellers simply guess the amount they need to charge.
If you know how much it costs to ship your item (don't forget to include the costs to pack it), you can make
sure you are charging the buyer a fair and reasonable amount. It will also help you in negotiating with wholesalers as you would know what your bottom
If you can, weigh the item to get an idea of the cost. If that isn't possible, look at the
completed listings for items similar to yours, and see what the average cost of shipping was for items that were
Make sure your shipping charges are fair - In the early days of eBay, unscrupulous
buyers used to inflate the cost of shipping to try and make some extra profit.
These days, apart from eBay cracking down on sellers who do this, buyers have a better idea of what the shipping
should be, and if you try to overcharge them, they simply won't buy from you.
You're not going to build a successful business and reputation by trying to rip people off, so make sure your
shipping charges are fair.
You might even want to consider offering free shipping on your auctions. If the shipping is
relatively inexpensive compared to price of the item, offering to send it to the buyer for free is a really good
way of attracting more bidders.
A lot of buyers look at the total cost of an item, price plus shipping, and could be more likely to bid on items
that ship for free.
Ironically, getting more bidders, because you offer free shipping, can mean you get a higher price, which covers
what you have to pay to send the item to the buyer.
Offer a choice of shipping options - eBay lets you add more than one shipping option for
By giving them a choice, you're providing a better service and appealing to more customers; those who want the
item quickly have the option of paying more for express delivery, while those who are prepared to wait don't have
to pay as much.
You might also offer shipping that includes insurance, if the item is expensive.
Providing various options is a useful tip when you are offering free shipping - you attract more buyers by
offering a basic shipping service for free, but include the option to get it quicker, if the buyer pays.
As well as different options, you might consider offering an alternative to shipping. If you're item is big and
bulky, fragile, or expensive, you could even offer to let the buyer come and pick it up.
Obviously, this only works for local buyers, but it could save you a little time and effort, and save the buyer
having to pay for shipping.
Pack the item well - You should make sure the item is well packed, which means well
enough to make sure it gets where it's going in one piece, but also so it looks as though it's come from a
Use some of these tips for packing your items for sale -
bubble-wrap or screwed up newspaper to protect the item, and consider using proper wrapping paper, with a printed
Get business accounts with shipping companies - As soon as you are shipping a reasonable
amount of sales, you should get a business account with the USPS and any other carriers you use.
USPS offers discounted and free packing materials, and other shipping companies may offer other benefits, such
as discounted rates and credit terms.
Make international shipments customer-friendly - If you're shipping internationally,
make sure the customs declaration is complete and accurate, so there are no delays for the customer when the
package arrives in their country. This will help improve seller
ratings on eBay as your customer gets his/her products on time.
Also, because some organizations charge more than others for handling international shipments, you might want to
use different shipping companies for your international and domestic sales.
For example, FedEx and UPS are a lot more expensive than USPS if you are shipping to Canada, so consider which
carrier is best for your customer, as well as for you.
Shipping can be overlooked in the whole eBay sales process, but because it can have such an impact on your
customer's buying decisions, it's important to get it right, or all your other good work could be wasted.
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