12/02/2016 at 6:59 am #7046
Hey everybody .. Don’t know how many got the Ebay Shipping Update yesterday [Dec. 1st, 2016]. Thought I would post a link because it has a lot of information that is good for the “newbies” but also introduces a new Freight Program. It works much like how we are used to handling smaller packages, only now we can ship large, bulky, heavy items through the Ebay Labels and shipping policies.
Here is the link to the shipping data overview:
Large items either boxed up or skidded up on pallets. Ebay has arranged for discounts and a system for us to ship those furniture pieces, bicycles, appliances, etc.
Also there are many click tabs for “More Info.” which has a lot of information that answers many of the types of questions we see asked here at SL. I spent a full coffee cup of time just clicking and refreshing my current knowledge base as well as learned some new things. We think it is well worth a read through.
Interested on how everybody still feels about calculated shipping vs. the Fast ‘n Free program now and what is everybody’s take on the large-heavy item freight program?
Mike at MDC Galleries
12/02/2016 at 7:02 am #7047
I’m diving into the Freight program through Fedex. I’m curious if its anything new from Fedex or eBay is just now promoting it.
Is there a reason why we should change out mind about not offering free shipping?
12/02/2016 at 7:37 am #7051
To your question if it is new or just now being promoted. Unsure, but if it is an option, I have no problem having a few small pallets leaning up in the storage area and if a large item sells,, then stretch wrap it in a plastic “cocoon” [method we even use for our small items], then create a make shift cardboard box around it or throw a small furniture pad over it [those only cost about $6 at a local supply house}, then strap it down. No big deal. Used to ship millions of dollars in freight from my old printing company. Now just run it through Ebay, call and ship, I guess. Haven’t checked the whole program out yet.
But if it is offered, why not. There are a lot of people who have more money than us or good sense out there buying stuff. I have a large drawing table with an attached parallel rule and also a tall, upholstered drafting chair. I would shrink wrap those, create a make shift box or strap to a pallet and ship in a heartbeat as well as offer local pick up.
I have even shipped large size sculptures, crated paintings and a good amount of arcade games [pinball machines] and even sit in shooting games. But I had to ship those freight lines with a local company. So, if Ebay is going to allow us to offer that as a service, get a good discount on it and all I have to do is stretch wrap, throw on a furniture pad and strap to a pallet and build that cost in to the Ebay process and the customer orders it, knowing full well what they are paying up front, then why not I guess.
I am getting old, and maybe not wanting to deal with large stuff anymore. That is one of the many reasons we closed the booths down was to get away from furniture, but I still have some and would love for Ebay to handle all the freight bill of ladings and transportation data with the customer and just leave it to me to prepare it for shipping.
mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta
- This reply was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by MDC Galleries & Fine Art.
12/02/2016 at 7:23 am #7048
Well just thinking out loud here while on 2nd cup of coffee.. but I starting thinking about those statistics Ebay just presented. 61% say that Free Shipping is a big driving force in deciding to buy. So that brings me to think about our shipping.
I have only missed my shipping weight twice in over a year and both of those times by less than a pound. In almost all cases I am just a slight amount over by using my system [which is a discussion for another time]. That means that the size and weight are not a hard core variable. So, now that leaves the distance variable. Next door to Alabama, Carolina, etc. vs. California, Oregon, Wyoming, etc. [500 miles vs. 3,000 miles].
Now think about the cost vs. sales amount. A large amount of our items are under 8 lbs. but over $30 dollars. Most of our items are bought for 10 to 20 times less than selling cost. Buy for $1 sell for $30, $40 etc. Most unique and most not found on Ebay solds, and many times not others even being offered. Open market. So with that kind of Mark-up for lack of a better phrase, Why not just include my cost for shipping to the furthest point, which with our 20% to 40% TRSplus discount status why not just include the freight amount in the price.
Example… A Vintage unique lamp I just packaged sold for $39.95 plus they paid $9.00 shipping. The actual priority shipping to me was $7.00. I was right on the money for the box size and weight. I estimated 8 ozs. higher than what it actually shipped at. [and I do this on almost 99% of what we ship]. So would that oil lamp have sold at $47.00 WITH FREE SHIPPING just as fast and easily as it did for $39.95.
Now who cares about feeling sorry for customers who pay more if they are closer to us than across the USA. It is only a few dollars anyway. If 61% decide to buy based on free shipping and we get up to almost a 40% discount on shipping, it is still a profit center for us, then why not just build in the shipping. AND even if I miss it a few bucks, so what, I got it for a dollar and am selling for $47. Still a fantastic margin. And on an annual basis we are still making a killing.
So, just doing some pondering on the cal shipping vs. free shipping thing, that’s all. mike at MDC Galleries
- This reply was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by MDC Galleries & Fine Art.
12/05/2016 at 3:02 pm #7217Linda ShieldsParticipant
- Location: St. Louis
Mike, the only problem I have with including “Free Shipping” is this: what happens to your bottom line when the customer complains they want to return as not described? Then you paid shipping both ways for zero income. Totally unacceptable for me.
12/06/2016 at 10:28 am #7305
Hey Linda.. just got around to a reply, was busy yesterday adding a new shelving unit up in my over the garage office.
To highlight and lay some ground work for what was going through my head when I brought this topic up again was this. I buy something for $.50 or a $1.00. Then I start working on my price that I will list at. I don’t buy or list anything that I won’t be making at least 10 times my money on or more. So I am now at $10.00, then I pile on top of this enough room so that I can run Sales on my items, sometimes at 30%-35% off, or to be able to take a low-ball offer and still make our 10 times the money, so I build that onto my price, so now I am up to $18, then I know with my 30%-40% TRS discount I can ship a 3 or 4 lb. object anywhere in the USA Priority and in a box for $7, $8 or $9.00 +/- so I put $10 dollars onto my $18 and I arrive at $26.00. Now that has a ton of “fluff” built in already.
But now the risk factor, you state what if I get a return. First let me tell you about my store stats. Been doing this since 2002 [14 years]. We have only had 3 items broken, 2 returns and Zero negative or neutral feed backs in 14 years. I think the chance of a return is pretty low. But still as you say “what if”. Well even so, look at how much we mark up our inventory. Sky high and it sells. Buy for a dollar and sell for $28. Don’t you think I could absorb a $16 dollar return? And especially if only a couple per year.
Now for more ground work. At our now closed 6 booths we averaged 1 damaged-broken item per months for over 3 years. We found almost 50 items broken beyond repair to resell. That was over $1,000 is lost sales opportunities. Then throw in “Theft” on top of that. retail stores call this shrinkage. In their chart of accounts they even have a line item for it in their annual budgets. Employee thefts, customer theft and breakage. Now to breakage, have you ever broken something yourself? We sure have. I dropped a box last year, the bottom fell out, it was all dinner plates to a full set of China!!! Guess what, it was all old, vintage Limoges!!! Now we not only lost those plates but it also killed off selling the whole complete set. Now that is factored into the overall annual year end profit and lost. Just as any returns or broken items would be in shipment, theft, OR RETURNS. It is a business write off and it comes under our COA [Chart of Accounts as “Errors and Omissions”].
Now to top it all off Ebay “claims” a 20% or higher Sell Rate for those that offer 1 day shipping which we do, are TRS [which we are] and offer Free Shipping [which we don’t]. One would think that a 20% increase in annual Sales of say [let’s pick a number, say $20,000 a year] which would be approx. a $4,000 increase in Sales. One would think the $4,000 +/- increase [or even 10% at $2,000] would more than offset any shiiping fees we would have to pay for returns. especially at such a low rate of returns as ours. If we increased Sales by 10% [$2,000] do you know how many Return Shipping fees we would have to “eat” to equal that? At eve a high rate of $20 per return shipping fee we would have to have a return of 100 items, that’s 2 per week. Just no way in heck that would ever happen.
I think, now just my opinion, but store owners need to look at their “overall” business on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis with regards to total profit and loss. Not item by item or even this by the week approach. That is like buying stocks in the stock market then staring at the Stock Ticker Tape each day. But a discussion on this topic will divert us into using proper accoutning software not Go Daddy Bookkeeping which only a journal system of bookkeping and not a real General Ledger Accounting Software. We’ll save that for another time and get input form our accoutant memebers.
So with a mark-up of 28 times our money and the possibility of increased sales and the fact that all customers do pay us for the shipping, it is not really “Free” it is already built in, then I ask… “Where is this Totally unacceptable”? I am open to being set straight. Now also remember, as of today, we do not offer Free Shipping on any of our approx. 700 items except for a dozen small parts we get mfg. for us. Just thinking out loud “IF we should maybe start doing it”. At 28 times times the money and many times even more, when does enough profit become enough prfit.
As to the sellers that say I must remain “competitive”. We have many items we sell that there are not any others like them on Ebay, or very few. That is Jay & Ryannes point, price high and wait to the competition disappears, if there is any others. If I see other items that have sold for $37, I then want to get $37, I will price my identical item at about $60 to allow for a 40% off sale or a low offer or to include FREE SHIPPING.
mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta.
- This reply was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by MDC Galleries & Fine Art.
12/02/2016 at 7:32 am #7050
So its the same discussion really. Free shipping isnt really free because you build the cost into the price. So if a buyer searches by “lowest price including shipping”, your item with free shipping and my item with shipping should be about the same cost.
Offering free shipping is more of a psychological advantage with those buyers who just like the simplicity of it.
Does anyone around here do free shipping as a standard practice? I’d love to know if it really helps their sales.
12/02/2016 at 7:56 am #7053
Well we both know that it is not free. No one believes that, I don’t even think the buyers do in most of the cases. Of course it is just a psychological game. Like the $9.95 pricing practice vs. the $10 number. But many studies have proven that the $9.99 or $9.95 increases sales. But again, another topic to discuss at another time. But Ebay has a bibliograohy at the bottom showing where it got these numbers from and the results of those survey’s indicate a 61% influence on the customers buying decision. Why reinvent the wheel, they already did the studies and I don’t think anyone here has the time or inclination to want do do a whole realm of studies, which would take a long time to gather all the data.
And you also mention “if my item and your item when searched”. I have some items that there are not others like it ever sold and or listed. That is why we have to use several other databases to even find past sales on some of our items. A good example will be when I start listing all of my own art work. No others like them. One of a kind. Yes other abstract artwork is available but they all look different.
Now reflecting on your words above.. “Offering free shipping is more of a psychological advantage with those buyers who just like the simplicity of it.” Seems you admit it is an “advantage” and in this market and “advantage is an advantage” and any “advantage seems to me to probably be worth giving it a shot, at least on certain items. Then you state “buyers who like the simplicity of it”. Well making things simple for 61% of the buyers who see this as a driving force in there decision making is “good thing to offer the customer”.
So, just talking out loud as I said. I do have and have had for years calculated shipping on almost everything. So I am only “pondering” here.
mike at MDC Galleries.
12/02/2016 at 8:31 am #7057
One thing my wife, Susan just threw into the mix. She quickly threw out on the table, with built in shipping cost based on our system of calculating, when we create a SALE of 20%-40% off that the quote “Free Shipping” gets discounted also since it is included. But I guess that applies to anyone using the “Free Shipping” method. I see Amazing Tastes has 1.543 items in her store and 1,261 are all on SALE and she has a Promo Running that is FREE SHIPPING for all “Orders” over $40. So I did a quick sort and saw that 82% of her store inventory is on Sale but she only has 46 individual items over $40 in her store which means that to get free shipping one would have to buy two or more items to get the FREE SHIPPING benefit. I guess all the items priced over the $40 mark get FREE SHIPPING on their own since then one item will fulfill the $40 criteria.
So, now let’s make an assumption here, If a $40 Sale warrants Free shipping, then if all of her items were all over $40 each, would she have them listed at FREE SHIPPING? Don’t know. Maybe she will chime in and clue us in. She uses a lot of good retail practices and maybe she would figure that at $40 I can afford to absorb the shipping costs on my items? Maybe that would be because many of her items are light, easy to pack and close to a known dollar amount of to ship? Hhmm… mike @ MDC Galleries
- This reply was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by MDC Galleries & Fine Art.
12/02/2016 at 8:21 am #7056
When I researched sending items freight, here is where I became confused.
What if we have a fairly lightweight dining room chair. It’s too bog to ship normally. Does this mean I have to get a pallet and strap down a small 30lb chair to it? Just seems like overkill.
12/02/2016 at 9:00 am #7061
I have shipped smaller tables and chairs before. In some cases I unscrew the legs and back. Bubble wrap them and also stretch wrap them separately, then again stretch wrap them together as a “soild” one piece bundle. I then “build” my own box out of larger pieces of card board I have stashed. I tape that all together, and it will be pieced together and look like a patch job. But then to smooth it out and make it look professional and presentable, I then use my ” 8 mil. black construction plastic-12′ wide x 100 ‘ long”, cut a piece and wrap the “cocooned” & card boarded up piece like a Christmas present, label and ship. FedEx will take a chair and small tables. No need for a pallet or freight on those.
A large table, disassemble the legs, bubble wrap cocoon the legs and stow away into the negative vcavity of the table. Tape them onto the bottom in other words. Then get several of the $6.00 furiture blankets from Home Depot or U-haul and wrap the tabel up in the pads and tape all the seams. Then stretch wrap the “bejesus” out of it. :-). Now go get a matress box from your local matress store [maybe two depending on the size of the table. Splice the boxes together and tape all the seams. Now, again wrap it in the heavy black construction plastic, seal all the seams. It be extra careful, use two layers of the plastic [only $34 for the huge roll of construction plastic]. Label and you are ready to ship. The freight carrier will pick it up just like that and still no pallet is needed.
I only use the pallets for items that clock in at the 75 to 100 pound mark. Like the art sculpture and arcade machines. One thing we will need to check out on this Ebay program and that is the fact that we are not “dock high”. Usually freight companies are “Teamsters Union” and in my experience they are only drivers, not loaders and unloaders. They pull up and lot’s of time sit and wait for you to load, either using a pallet jack or fork lift. Unsure how the Ebay / FedEx and the Pyle freight lines are going to handle that. But no way wife and I could lift a 100 lb. arcade machine. But if Ebay specifies a “lift gate” truck, that helps, but we will still have to probably get the heavy pallet from the garage door to the tail gate. Some drivers help because they want to get it done fast and get on the road. Tie is money and they get frustrated with a bunch of amateurs struggling with a load. But how many things are really going to be that heavy.
I could have stretched wrapped and plastic wrapped all of your plastic chairs you sold in groups of three or four and shipped them as multi pack units fairly easy. You don’t have to include multi pieces all in one bundle you know.
Had lots of experience with all this sort of stuff. We shipped country wide tons of stuff and millions of dollars to McDonalds, Sears, Michelin Tires, United Technologies, Pratt & Whitney, Delco Battery, and on and on.
Heaviest piece we ever brought in was a piece of equipment we had custom made in Spain. Had to arrange container shipment overseas, then onto a train at the port of call in Savannah, GA, then, flat bed tractor trailer from train yard to our plant, then special heavy duty “Big Tom” fork lift. It was 4 tons, 8,000 lbs. and each of the floor concrete squares of our plant creaked and rocked as the fork lift moved across them. Point of the story, there’s not much that can’t be packed, shipped and moved in some way. It is just a matter of what size and weight one wants to use as a cut-off in there store. Regular table, chairs, hutch, altar table, Ottoman no problem at all. Refrigerator, washer, dryer a little more but not to bad. TV and electronics, have to protect from “bounce” and “Vibration” as well as from dents, bangs and exterior scratches and handling. That reuires an “air cushions-Floating” approach.
Just tid-bits from my experience and is only a personal opinion guys. mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta
12/02/2016 at 12:38 pm #7076So Cal JoeParticipant
Regarding the tailgate issue, It appears they have a truck with a lift gate picking up the pallets as an option. Who knows the additional cost. Those guys generally have pallet jacks on board. Whether they would let it leave the truck is up to the driver.
Worst case, you can buy your own pallet jack for a couple of hundred dollars. If you are going to be expanding in this area it would be a good idea anyway. That way you could easily move stuff around once they are palletized.
12/02/2016 at 9:37 am #7067RyanneKeymaster
- Location: Virginia
this is a direct link to the freight program overview–
12/02/2016 at 9:43 am #7068
With free shipping you get a competitive advantage with far away customers. I use selectively use free shipping on some items and I know that 90% of the time a west coast buyer will buy it. The majority of my customers are east coast and I would be pricing myself out of the market if I added in shipping to the farthest location.
One other item to consider is my target buyer. My ideal buyer is one who pays full price of $60 for a used 90’s windbreaker tracksuit. This type of person is not going to bat an eye at paying another $12 for shipping too. They’re already paying $60 for a used freaking ugly track suit! Obviously $60 means something entirely different to them than it does to me. Generally if a potential customer asks me for free shipping I see that as a red flag that they will be a problem buyer.
12/02/2016 at 11:46 am #7072shortandstoutParticipant
- Location: Central Pennsylvania
I don’t offer free shipping as a standard practice, but I do evaluate it as an option when determining my asking price. I’m still evolving my personal guidelines on when I offer free shipping. Most of my First Class packages I’ll offer free shipping on if the listing price is over $15 and my COGS is less than $1, but I do factor the shipping cost into the listing price. Some higher dollar items I will also offer free shipping since my potential gross profit is well over $100. If those items also have make offer available, I will factor the shipping into any offers received. I’ve started to look at the sold listings to evaluate the frequency of listings with free shipping offered. If the majority of sold listings and current listings offer free shipping, I will offer it to stay competitive when someone is just doing a quick look.
I think I’ll likely start offering more items with free shipping as my inventory and sales grow. Some items don’t make sense to offer free shipping on (like a $30 sink that costs $35 to ship), but for those that could get a boost with it, I’ll strongly consider it. Jay, like you often say, it is all about the numbers.
12/02/2016 at 12:46 pm #7078So Cal JoeParticipant
I just don’t see free shipping as an option for anything beyond a USPS Flat rate envelope, First Class or Media mail. A lot of my stuff sells on the west coast due to the less expensive shipping costs.
I don’t know how much it would increase my sales. How many of the sellers they are referring to sell IPOD cases, software and New ink cartridges.
Maybe I’m wrong.. it wouldn’t be the first time.
12/02/2016 at 2:06 pm #7081
Totally! All the knock off Chinese crap that takes a month to arrive is always free shipping. That has to influence the statistics more than a bit.
12/02/2016 at 3:38 pm #7087
Sellers who offer free shipping are really selling volume. It’s certainly one strategy. You just have to do the numbers to see if the extra work to keep up with volume is worth it.
Like Retro WV Treasures says, people who are willing to pay for weird vintage items aren’t fussing over free shipping. Our clear photos and quality is what separates us from other sellers. I’ve bought weird, rare items and am more concerned that its exactly what I want. Though free shipping is nice, I’m just happy to have something special.
I’ve always said that free shipping is a tool for those people selling highly competitive items where nothing else separates them from another seller.
“Widget A made in china” vs “Widget B made in china”?
Free shipping can seal the deal.
12/05/2016 at 3:15 pm #7229kellyspragueParticipant
- Location: South Central Kansas
I have done a couple higher price chairs freight before and it was alot of work packing.I have also passed up a few items recently knowing it would be work packing, and I just can’t mess with heavy items anymore. But I would for sure list a beautiful mid century chair again if ebay streamlines the freight process. Right now we have also scaled back to shipping furniture that we can unscrew the legs or remove the base and are able to purchase a box or simply list local pick up. Sometimes my husband has had to be the voice of reason and say , no I think that will be too much work to ship. But I hate passing up anything I know I can make a good profit on.Will read up on it this afternoon. I will say , when I do disassemble anything , I make sure to add to listing that legs will be removed for shipping , etc. Have had a few buyers early on mention that I should have added that to the listing.
12/06/2016 at 8:40 pm #7434
The vast majority of my listings are in the clothing, shoes and accessories category and range in weight from 8 oz. to 3 lbs. Right now, I only offer free shipping on about 8-10% of my items. When I’m doing pricing research prior to listing an item, sometimes I notice that in a particular category or for that specific item, most of the high completeds offered free shipping. If that’s the case, I’ll usually list with free shipping.
On everything else, I use calculated. Since I live on the east coast, this makes my items more competitive from Maine to North Carolina. If I lived in the center of the country, I’d be more likely to build the shipping cost into the price of the item and offer free shipping.
I’m toying with the idea of expanding free shipping to more items, though. Recently, I was reading a topic about free shipping on a seller Facebook group and was very surprised at the number of people who said that they only buy items with free shipping and actually use the drill down on the left side to only show items with free shipping when they’re shopping. That made me wonder how many potential buyers do the same and never even see my listings.
12/06/2016 at 9:00 pm #7436
I’d love to hear about your experiment. I wonder if the people in that Facebook group only buy items with Free Shipping regardless of the price. If you do a search for a particular item, I find that the item with free shipping is almost always equal to an item with shipping. It’s just a semantics game.
$10 free shipping
$8 plus $2 shipping
On Amazon, I find that Amazon Prime items are often MORE expensive even though the items have free shipping. It’s better to buy merchant fulfilled even though you pay extra for shipping.
The only difference is if the seller actually chooses to lose money on the deal.
Then that’s a real reason to buy that item. A better deal.
Who cares about free shipping if it’s not cheaper?
- This reply was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by Jay.
12/06/2016 at 9:31 pm #7438
You answered your last question above the other day. You said, Free Shipping is a psychological thing, a perception of value of getting something for nothing, even if it is not for nothing. Everybody knows it is built in, but the shipping is not rubbed in their face as an extra “add on”.
What got me thinking about this whole thing the other day when I posted was that my brother in law said what Terri said above. He said he will sort every search for Free Shipping and makes his purchases from there. I said what about unique, one of kind items, he said he guesses he just would not see my items to decorate his home, he would select from what “was” presented, those being all with Free Shipping. He said he still wins and I would be the looser not him as a buyer, again even him admitting knowing the shipping is built in.
Lastly he brought up the point that when he does a search for some things he gets way too many results, thousands he said. Way to many to look through so he filters-sorts. He said that it is the one thing he can have “control” over in this crazy “I am going to sell stuff to customers online world. He can control not being presented with what feels is just an add on and he also doesn’t trust that it is at cost and in most cases inflated. He is correct, I always mark up my shipping. But I don’t care what he thinks, shipping is a profit center for almost every company I have been with and is so with my store.
Then he finished by saying once he gets his Free shipping lists he will many times also filter on the left by putting a cap on what he wants to spend. Again feeling like he has some control by eliminating those that price high and think they are better than others or have a fancier looking design to their stores.
So that is what got me to thinking and post the original thoughts about Free Shipping above. mike at MDC Galleries in tlanta
12/07/2016 at 6:57 am #7456
The “semantics game” is how I always looked at it, too. I figured anybody can see through that “free” shipping guise. That’s why it was a little alarming to see that even some other Ebay sellers exclude anything other than those listings that have “free” shipping.
12/07/2016 at 7:00 am #7457
That’s why I like how eBay lets you search by lowest price (item + shipping). That search gives you the best price (if price is how you’re buying).
But as I always say, free shipping is usually geared towards items with heavy competition.
12/06/2016 at 9:21 pm #7437soniaParticipant
- Location: Northeast US
From my own buying experience, mostly on Amazon: When you’re short on time, or just kind of sick of searching around for stuff online, it’s just so much easier to just compare a single total price, than to have to find both prices and add them together and then check them against the others. It’s a little easier on ebay, b/c ebay allows you to sort by “price + shipping”. Ideally ebay/amazon would pre-calculate and display the total price for all sellers of the same item, and then you could just compare total prices. I wonder why ebay doesn’t do that. I bet Amazon doesn’t because, as Jay mentioned, it would then be easy to see when Amazon-fulfilled is not the best option.
12/07/2016 at 5:39 am #7449
How man buyers are out there that only buy items with free shipping regardless of cost? I say its a small number because it certainly seems like a crazy way to buy.
I guess the only way to know is if someone here was willing to put put free shipping on all their items, but make their items MORE expensive even with shipping costs.
12/07/2016 at 7:41 am #7458
The problem, not just for free shipping, but for any differences in listing methods, is coming up with meaningful results when the majority of us sell unique items, rather than either multiples of identical items, or items that are competing apples to apples with other sellers.
Despite the majority falling into one general category (CSA), my inventory is always changing and my sales swing so wildly from week to week that there’s just no way to come up with valid results from a basic experiment like rolling the cost of shipping into the item cost.
During any discussion of listing practices with people who carry a variety of items, I generally dismiss 90% of the reports that contend “I (* fill in the blank) and haven’t noticed any difference in sales”.
*started free shipping
*stopped free shipping
*started including measurements
*spend a lot of time on my photos
*stopped editing photos
*use a mannequin
*throw stuff on the floor
It’s tough getting data. Like someone pointed out, for Ebay’s statistics to be meaningful for my business, they’d have to exclude sellers like those who have thousands of identical items. Although anecdotal to some extent, word on the street from Facebook posters or Mike’s friend, might deserve attention.
12/12/2016 at 11:44 pm #7945John BastonParticipant
On Amazon you get Free Shipping on most of the items only if you are a Prime member. So that free shipping is seen like a perk. Plus with Prime you have 2 days guarantee delivery. People today want the item and want it now. Most of the non free shipping takes 5-6 days to get it.
12/13/2016 at 8:45 am #7986
With Prime shipping, not only are you getting “free” shipping, but you are also opting into the A-Z return guarantee. Anyone who has been bitten by a crappy merchant fulfilled seller knows that the real benefit of Prime shipping is that guarantee – not the free or fast shipping.
I’ll pay $12 Prime shipped over the $9 merchant fulfilled item any day of the week just to know I’ll be 100% satisfied.
12/15/2016 at 8:35 am #8151shortandstoutParticipant
- Location: Central Pennsylvania
I realized I had an item I could run an experiment on. I have a box full of #3 pencils that have Ford Motor Company on them. I listed some of them in sets of 10, but didn’t list all of them. My original listing is $9.99 + shipping (which is $2.83 First Class). Today I went ahead and made a second listing, this one for $12.99 and free shipping. I also ended and relisted the original listing as sell similar. That way they are both near each other in the start date and search returns. The paid shipping one is slightly less than the free shipping. These are identical listings in every other way. I did sell similar and changed nothing but the price and shipping. We will see what happens. It might take a while since my first set sold after about 2 months. These are not super common listings so it is a little easier to control some of the variables.
12/15/2016 at 11:45 am #8162soniaParticipant
- Location: Northeast US
What a great experiment! I look forward to the results.
04/30/2017 at 1:48 pm #17263LongGoneGeekParticipant
I know I’m a little late to the free shiping discussion, having just finished listening to episode 289: (Our Free Shipping Expirement).
My own personal views on free shipping align with Jay’s and Ryanne’s – free shipping makes sense when you’re dealing with highly competitive commodities…Ipod cases (to use Jay’s favorite example) or clothing for instance. Most everyone else is offering it so it makes sense to offer it also to compete.
When one sells vintage collectibles, antiques, art or myriad other uncommon or ooak items, however, you’re not competing on price for the most part. You’re competing on collectibility, rareness, condition, etc. The people that you’re targeting tend not to be concerned so much about how much the shipping charge will be…as long as they aren’t thought of as excessive, that is.
It’s not that it doesn’t make sense to offer free shipping in these cases, but that it’s not necessary to compete.
In a related vein, a couple days ago I read a short article about price psychology and how it relates to free shipping…talk about serendipity 🙂
Here’s a link to the article: http://gohighbrow.com/the-secrets-of-shipping-and-other-added-fees/
Thanks for all your posts and podcasts. They really help alot
05/01/2017 at 9:25 am #17277
I believe many shoppers click the “Free Shipping,” “USA only,” “New/Used,” and “BIN/Auction” Filter boxes prior to or just after an initial search. If you charge shipping, your items won’t show up even if they sort by “Lowest price w/shipping.”
If an item can be shipped for a known cost (1st class or one of the Flat Rate options), then it seems wisest to build that into the price as a general rule.
The one drag on Free Shipping is when we have “% off” sales, like 20% off all fixed goods, the amount padded into the price for shipping will also be cut.
05/01/2017 at 10:42 am #17280
We tried putting free shipping many of our items. Didn’t help our sales any.
But I’d love for you to try the experiment and see if it works. As I’ve said before, there is no such thing as “free shipping”. There is only hiding the cost.
05/01/2017 at 11:42 am #17290
Like most sellers, my sales are very chunky. Hot one day, cold the next. The only valid way I would see where a good experiment could be run would be on a mixed series of perhaps 100 duplicate items – list half the set as FREE SHIPPING with shipping built into the price, and the other half with identified flat rate shipping. The actual cost paid by the buyer would have to match; then keep track of how many sold of each type over the course of a year perhaps.
A few complications are combined orders and the impact of running sales.
Unfortunately I don’t have many duplicate item candidates to use, such as 2 identical trucker hats, that ship at the 8 ounce First Class rate. We have 1500 items, vitually all are used and single Qty, and about 500 are listed w/Free Shipping, and of those perhaps 450 are less than 16 ounces.
One observation I have seen is that buyers will tend to buy a group of similar items, such as Cabinet Photos, when they are listed as Free Shipping. I’m not sure they would do that if shipping was identified for each.
05/01/2017 at 1:12 pm #17293
To overcome the Sales events from dimishing the shipping costs, I would think just take the 16 oz. 1st class “OVER THE COUNTER” rate [do not use your TRS discount rate] and bump that up by say 15%, to accommodate for a 5% to 15% SALE EVENT and add that amount to your “Selling Price”. Our Sales are running almost all the time so that would bring the amount the customer pays back down to about the regular 16 oz. OTC Rate and that should take care of it.
So, First Class Commercial Package Weight is 15.999 ozs. at $4.30 walk in ove the counter rate x 1.15% = $4.95. So just add $5.00 to every item under 16 ozs. and you are good to go.
Then if you are feeling real generous, then just use your discounted TRS rate and bump 15% and add to your selling prices on all 16 oz. and under items.
Our situation is opposite of yours. Out of approx. 800 listings only 90 or so are under 16 ozs.
Seems fairly simple if Offering Free Shipping is the way one wants to go.
Mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta.
05/01/2017 at 2:09 pm #17298
I agree that on commodity items, Free Shipping may be a boost. We all know that eBay pushes Free Shipping all the time. And the filter on the left side is a concern.
For clothing, I was a big proponent of Free Shipping for a long time. This January, I switched over to charging for shipping, but I didn’t see any drop in sales. In fact, it seems to have increased. I notice that I get more international sales now that the shipping is separate from the price (since I don’t do Free Shipping internationally).
Like GTC vs 30 Day, this is a big topic that seems to have no resolution, as it is very tough to prove the increase. Outside of polling your customers to see what influenced their buying decision, all you can do is run a test. And I think that would be to have 100 of the same item, 50 on Free and 50 on Charged, and see what the sell thru rate is.
05/01/2017 at 2:29 pm #17304
Interesting point on International Sales T-Satt. When one offers Free Shipping, eBay doesn’t require the dimensions or weight fields to be filled-in when listing. I have no idea how GSP handles that as far as quoting a shipping charge. I fill those fields in on all of my ads but I’ll admit I am not as accurate with those values on the ones I offer Free Shipping on, especially the ones where I intend to use a Padded Flat Rate envelope or a Regional A box (which can take up to 15 pounds).
05/01/2017 at 2:37 pm #17305
We always weigh every item before listing, that way if we get an offer that asks for Free Shipping, we know what the cost would be before accepting.
05/01/2017 at 3:10 pm #17309
According to ebay rules, if shipping is stated, Best Offer is for the price only. They can’t really ask for Free or reduced Shipping.
“For listings in which the seller has specified shipping costs for the item, the Best Offer price includes only the listed item. For listings in which the shipping costs aren’t specified, the buyer can choose to include shipping costs in their offer.“
05/01/2017 at 3:30 pm #17311
This is true. I even include a quick blurb and link when I counter offer informing the potential buyer who is making the offer that it isn’t standard Ebay protocol. There are a few other posts if searched about this topic also.
05/01/2017 at 3:57 pm #17316
Understood, and that is to protect the seller if they accept too quickly or have an auto accept. However, we have had numerous cases where they will make an offer and ask for free shipping, or reduced shipping, and we will accept and correct the invoice before payment. Just adds something else to negotiate on.
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