With nearly 180 million users, eBay is still one of the world’s largest online marketplaces. Used by both individual sellers and large retailers, the competition for many markets on eBay is fierce and fast-paced. This has put shipping in the spotlight as many sellers try to use it as a competitive advantage, whether that be the cost or time to deliver. Here we will discuss a few top eBay shipping tips that can help you optimise your shipping and use it to convert more sales.
1. Choose a shipping plan that suits your store and products
When it comes to shipping, the first instinct for most sellers is to make the cost as cheap as possible or even free. While this can be a good incentive for buyers, it may not always be the wisest option depending on your business and what you sell. Regarding the shipping plans that can be configured in eBay, sellers can choose to have a set fee, or base the fee on what the buyer has ordered.
Flat-rate fees can be set so that every customer pays the same amount towards their shipping no matter how much or little they have ordered. This is very much a double-edged sword, and the products you sell need to be evaluated before opting for a flat-rate shipping plan. If the products you sell tend to be either large or have an awkward shape, a flat-rate fee should be avoided. Your business will not be receiving enough from the buyer to cover the shipping cost sufficiently. On the other hand, if you specialise in small and light products, a flat rate can be a significant benefit as many purchases could cover more than the actual shipping cost.
Calculated shipping takes the weight and dimensions of a product into account to form a cost. The location of a buyer is also taken into account. eBay even has a shipping calculator where sellers input predicted weights and dimensions to gauge how much their products will cost to ship. We recommend sellers take advantage of this calculator to make a more informed decision about which shipping plan to choose.
We recommend that sellers who commonly ship heavy or oddly shaped goods use calculated shipping. This will make sure buyers are covering the shipping cost and that your business’s profit margins are not diminished.
2. eBay shipping labels
Using eBay’s shipping labels through the seller portal is a prime example of how eBay tries to simplify and reduce the costs of selling on their platform. This goes for sellers of all sizes. eBay shipping labels will automatically fill out the shipping information needed from the buyer’s eBay account. This leaves you, as the seller, to simply print off the label and leave the package at a drop-off point. These shipping labels even come with their own tracking codes, meaning you can track the location and progress of any parcel you send.
We would recommend eBay shipping labels to all eBay sellers. It is arguably the most effective eBay shipping tip on this list. The ease of use and cost-effectiveness makes it ideal for all businesses looking to optimise their shipping in terms of profit. This recommendation is even prominent for larger eBay sellers as they can benefit from discounts if labels are purchased in a high quantity. Not only this, but eBay also has agreements with couriers such as UPS which means sellers receive a direct discount towards shipping their products (depending on the region you are shipping to).
3. Research package sizes & their costs
An area commonly overlooked by even the most experienced eBay sellers is understanding how the shape and weight of a package will affect the shipping price. This is one of the first areas to be analysed before choosing your business’s shipping plan.
Two main areas need to be answered.
- Do my products need specific types of packaging (e.g., extra room for padding, dimensions might require more width than height or vice versa)?
- Can I take advantage of more common mass-produced packaging to try and reduce costs?
More bespoke and uncommon package types will cost an eBay seller a considerable amount more to ship, even if done through eBay’s global shipping program. This needs to be considered when deciding how much to charge a buyer for shipping costs.
On the other hand, if a seller can utilise standard, mass-produced packaging, they will be able to save costs and lower their shipping charges. This can create more of an incentive for buyers to choose your product over others.
No matter which type of packaging your business opts for, always link it back to our first section, your shipping plan. This ensures no matter how you package your products, you will never be overcharging for delivery.
eBay shipping tips
It’s clear that shipping on eBay is very subjective regarding the type of products you sell. Thought and research need to be put into your eBay shipping strategy as it can drastically impact both profits and sales if rushed.
Shipping costs can make or break a business. This is due to the stiff competition and the fact that it’s now viewed as a genuine competitive advantage to offer cheap/affordable shipping. This puts more emphasis on small areas of shipping, such as the previously discussed labels. Even minor adjustments to the shipping process can have knock-on effects on the cost, which can significantly benefit your business.
Looking to go one further? Read our blog on how to increase your eBay sales.