Individuals and small business sellers on eBay are probably grappling right now with how best to package and ship items and still make a sensible profit. So many of the larger sellers are offering free shipping, but it isn't always about price. Here are a few suggestions that might help the smaller eBay seller.
1. Manage Customer Expectations
Keeping customers happy is a prime consideration for eBay sellers. In terms of shipping, you can help yourself by setting your customers' expectations properly. For example, you could advertise that you will ship within three days, and then you ship much more quickly than that. Your buyers are happy as they receive their items sooner than they expected.
Also, ensure that your shipping and return policies are clearly explained. By specifying them up front, you can prevent disputes down the road.
2. Offer Free Shipping, if you can Afford it
A study from Forrester revealed that 61% of consumers buy online more often from retailers that offer a free shipping option. There is no doubt that free shipping on eBay will attract more customers. This may be due to the fact that the item is free to ship, but it may also be that it gets better exposure in eBay search returns thanks to the boost given by Best Match to listings with free shipping. Be aware that if you offer free shipping, you may need to re-price your item. In other words, watch your margins.
3. Provide Customers with Tracking Information
If you place tracking information into your buyers' hands, you will help to alleviate their concerns during that dead period between when you shipped the item and when they receive the package.
4. Turn One-time Shoppers into Repeat Customers.
You can use your shipping endeavours to help turn one-time shoppers into repeat customers. Some ways you can do this are by adding things into your package, for example a slip offering discount on future orders, a free gift, information about other complementary products you sell.
5. Have Adequate Supplies on Hand
Make sure you have adequate supplies on hand, particularly during peak periods like Christmas. Select your shipping supply products based on a number of features such as protective properties, weight, aesthetic appeal and, of course, price.
Make sure you use the right type of products. For example, tape is what holds your package together, so be sure to use tape designed for carton sealing. You might consider investing in an inexpensive hand-held tape gun.
6. Get Organised for Shipping
Dedicate sufficient room for packaging and for your supplies. It's very awkward, not to mention inefficient, to package your items on a table surface that already houses a plant, some candlesticks and other ornaments.
7. Get Extra Shipping Help if Needed
You know that retailers bring in extra help for the holidays. Be aware that at such periods you may need to have access to extra resources. What you want to avoid is getting shipping backed-up so that you risk annoying lots of buyers.
Shipping Tips for eBay Sellers
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16 March 2011
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