Successful eBay sellers boost business with shipping solutions that save money for themselves and their customers.
If there’s one thing we know about buyers on eBay, it’s that they’re savvy, discerning spenders who regularly factor shipping costs into their purchasing decisions. As a vendor, it’s essential that you keep these costs low enough that you don’t deter potential customers — but not so low that you cut into your bottom line.
The key is to strike a balance between the two: make your products affordable for eBay users, while still turning a profit. Finding this equilibrium is easier than you might think, especially if you master these tips for saving money on shipping.
1) Use a personal shipping scale to get accurate quotes.
It may be tempting to simply use a bathroom scale to weigh your shipments, but inaccurate weight measurements will cost you in the long run — even if they’re just off by a few pounds. A shipping scale in the 35-to-50 pound range can be purchased for a reasonable price, especially if you’re investing considerable time and money into your eBay business. Compare brands, read testimonials, and pay a little more up front in order to get the most accurate readings.
2) Buy shipping supplies in bulk.
If you’re a high-quantity seller, buy shipping supplies in bulk to save money. For example, eBay merchants consistently overpay for packing tape by purchasing rolls individually, when buying in bulk can reduce the cost per roll by 75%. Don’t worry about running out of storage space: most supplies can be tucked away easily.
3) Choose lightweight materials to cut down on waste.
Buyers appreciate eBay merchants who make the extra effort to cut down on their carbon footprint. With lightweight boxes and cushioning materials, you can eliminate waste — for yourself, for your customers, and for the environment. Bubble wrap and foam fillers are wonderful ways to protect your products and reduce waste, while corrugated boxes are light, durable, and easy to store. As an added bonus, lightweight products don’t just help the environment — losing that unnecessary poundage can save on shipping costs, too.
4) Use shipping confirmation to avoid lost packages.
Compensating customers for lost packages can eat into your profit margins. Delivery confirmation doesn’t just help you track packages and locate them if they’re lost or delayed; it can save you quite a bit of money on returns if a customer claims that a package was never delivered. If you use Paypal with eBay, the system will automatically add a delivery confirmation to each order that’s placed. With other methods, be sure to double check that delivery confirmation is selected.
5) Package items as if you were the customer.
It’s the Golden Rule: ship unto others as you would have others ship unto you. When you package items well and ship them thoughtfully, they’re less likely to get lost or damaged. You’ll be saving money by avoiding costly returns or spending time appeasing an unhappy customer.
In the event that something does happen to the package, be sure to treat the customer fairly and politely. Do everything you can to make the situation right. Handling a negative situation well builds loyalty, increasing the chance that the customer makes a repeat purchase.
When running an online business, you should try to save as much money as you can — where you can — without sacrificing quality. Potential savings made possible by a more accurate scale or lightweight packaging materials could be the difference between operating at a loss one month, and making a profit the next.