05/25/2020 at 11:00 am #77779TheTrooperParticipant
I’ve had my store up and running for about 4 months now, and somehow I’ve managed to successfully get by using only flat cost shipping on my listings. I’ve accomplished this mostly by utilizing padded flat rate envelopes and first class and media mail(properly) whenever possible, and some solid guesstimating. At the end of the month I usually come out with a slight amount of overage/profit from shipping and handling.
As my inventory expands I’m realizing that this is not a sustainable method, and I need to move over to calculated shipping, and was wondering if anyone would like to share their methods and preferences for using calculated.
Being an east coast seller it seems easy to scare off west coast buyers with shipping prices.
Do you extend the eBay shipping discounts to buyers? This seems especially critical with FedEx Home, as the discount for some larger can be very significant.
My plan was to default to:
-12x12x12 estimated box size unless clearly over sized
-add 1 pound to actual weight to account for packaging material
-offer USPS priority, parcel select, and FedEx Home (larger items)
-not extend the discounts to buyers.
After running a few test listings and calculating shipping to various parts of the country the shipping costs seem awfully high.
Should I always be including a flat rate USPS option on anything that will fit an a USPS padded envelope or medium box? This would accommodate buyers in far away zones but also seems like a lot of fiddling with each listing individually.
Look forward to hearing anyone who wants to share a basic outline of their methods
05/26/2020 at 9:15 am #77811TemudginParticipant
- Location: Jacksonville FL
I think it depends how much time you want to spend on it. I know that some sellers simply list everything bigger than first class or Priority Padded Flat Rate Envelope as USPS Parcel Select and it is what it is even though it won’t necessarily be the cheapest way for all buyer locations. They just don’t worry about it.
I have some time on my hands and maybe I’m just a bit OCD so I spend a little more time on each listing. I’ll click on the listing’s shipping calculator after I weigh the item and have entered estimated boxed dimensions and weight with box and padding, and check prices for both a nearby East Coast zip and for Seattle and pick the best compromise. Or you can use http://www.flippertools.com
I have found that the costs for the various shipping methods change over time. Lately FedEx Home/Ground has been cheapest for the larger, heavier items. Often USPS Priority will be less than FedEx for buyers closer to me but since it’s ridiculous to the West Coast I don’t use it as default method. I used to be picky about listing alternate methods such as USPS flat rate boxes that might be cheaper depending on where the buyer is but I’ve found that no one seems to be reviewing my alternates to pick the best one so I’ve stopped bothering.
I do not pass on the shipping discounts. Since you’re paying fees on shipping as well as the item selling price the higher shipping costs will cost you money. For example I just paid $7.50 in total fees on a heavy item that sold for $38.89 plus $19.99 shipping going to Arizona. I paid $12.60 for FedEx Ground, so not passing on the discounts about covered my fees nicely.
I see you’re new here – welcome to the forum. You should go over to “Hello, Who Are You?” and start a topic to introduce yourself and tell us your story. Welcome to the world of eBay selling, also!0
05/26/2020 at 10:12 am #77812IndySalesParticipant
1) Look into regional rate A boxes. Free from the USPS and roughly 10x8x6.
2) I’ve offered multiple shipping options and the default is the one chosen every single time. Maybe once a buyer requested a faster method.
3) I pass the discount to the buyer. Great competitive edge.
4) Anything over a certain size/weight goes FedEx – even if it’s cheaper to go USPS – because FedEx properly handles packages. Kind of varies from listing to listing, but usually over 16 inches in any direction = FedEx.
This is what I did before I moved to flat rate shipping. I still use calculated for FedEx. Now I just assume that I’ll lose money on the shipping occasionally, so it’s just another cost to factor in to running things. I noticed a huge uptick in sales once I switched from calculated, so I credit a bulk of my sales to just beating everyone else on shipping.
And just to note, if you’re selling a lot of vintage-y, niche stuff, people will pay whatever the shipping is. If you’ve got a lot of competition, then you start weighing the pros/cons of losing money on shipping to get a competitive advantage.1+
05/27/2020 at 7:03 pm #77850So Cal JoeParticipant
Unless, I’m offering free shipping, almost everything is calculated.
A few well thought out shipping (business) policies will be good for most of your listings. In general, between 5 and 10 policies should be enough for all your listings.
First Class, Media mail, Priority Flat Rate Padded Envelope, Priority Calculated and Fedex Home (Ground) are mostly what i use. Each business policy can have more than one shipping option.
My default is First Class, because, if I’m in a rush and forget to change it, I’ll get an error message and the item will not list with the wrong policy.
How much weight to add for packing materials, varies greatly depending on the item.
Since your store is still small, I’d recommend setting up shipping policies and some type of inventory system now, as it will be much more difficult to do after you grow.
05/27/2020 at 7:31 pm #77853SimonParticipant
- Location: San Francisco Bay Area
It sounds like you’ve been doing the right thing :- media mail when you’re allowed, first class shipping for things under a pound, padded flat rate for things over a pound that fit.
My rules of thumb….
– Between 1lb and 2lbs calculated priority shipping is probably fine. Sometimes regional A boxes will be cheaper than calculated priority shipping but you can’t put regional shipping boxes on your listing :- just use it when you it makes sense.
– Above 2 lbs, flat rate boxes are the first choice. For anything above 2 lbs that doesn’t fit into a flat-rate box, I’ll put Fedex Ground on the listing and ship with priority shipping on the rare occasion that priority is cheaper.
I agree on the suggestion to start using business policies. They are a bit of a pain to set up but they are the way to go long-term.0
05/27/2020 at 9:43 pm #77858TheTrooperParticipant
Thank you all for the replies. It’s nice being able to be able to see what other sellers are doing and what works for them. I’m learning a little more each day.
For whatever reason I hadn’t considered the Regional Rate boxes yet, and I’ll definitely take that advice and order some up and see how it compares on certain shipments. I’ll also start tooling around in my shipping business policies as well.
Any and all advice is welcome. Thanks!0
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