Don’t let shipping costs cut into your bottom line. The eBay auction is over, you’ve received payment from the buyer, and now it’s time to send the purchase. eBay offers plenty of different shipping options, so why do sellers so often overpay? If you want to save big on eBay shipping, keep these 5 tried-and-true tips in mind.
1) Opt for Efficient Packaging
Saving on shipping begins with selecting the appropriate packaging. If you package your items well, they’re less likely to get damaged during transit and require costly returns. Bubble wrap and fillers, such as packing peanuts or shred fill, make for dependable, cost-effective cushioning. If assembling the item before shipping increases the likelihood of damage, consider dismantling it and wrapping its components individually.
Even if the item isn’t particularly fragile, bubble wrap and heavy duty corrugated boxes provide an extra layer of protection and will show your customers you care about their purchases. Be sure to leave at least two inches between the item and the wall of the box to provide adequate cushioning. Fill the gaps, and then seal the box with sturdy packing tape.
2) Take Advantage of High-Volume Discounts
Most carriers offer discounted rates for eBay sellers who ship often. The USPS, for example, has Commercial Plus Pricing for sellers who complete an average of 300 or more transactions per month. Sellers can save up to 24% on domestic shipments and up to 32% on international shipping with this method. Since there’s no formal enrollment process, qualified sellers are automatically eligible for these discounts when they use eBay shipping labels.
FedEx also offers exclusive eBay discount rates with no enrollment required. Sellers receive an automatic discount — up to 37% off select services — when using eBay shipping labels. FedEx Priority Overnight, FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx 2Day, FedEx Express Saver, FedEx Ground, FedEx Home Delivery, and international services are included in the offer for prolific eBay shippers.
Finally, the UPS Savings Program also offers special rates for eBay sellers (up to a 34% savings on domestic services). While the program is free, you do have to sign up for it.
3) Use USPS Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes
If you’re shipping locally, you can cut your costs in half with USPS Priority Mail Regional Rate boxes. When shipping packages up to 20 pounds within your own region, choose these boxes when printing out your shipping labels. As long as your items fit, you can enjoy premium rates. The price won’t change no matter how much your items weigh, although it may increase depending on the regional zones you’re shipping to.
4) Get Cheap (or Free) Shipping Supplies
You can get free USPS/eBay co-branded shipping boxes for Priority Mail and Priority Mail Flat Rate Service. These boxes will be delivered directly to your door at no personal cost. However, you do have to be a registered eBay user in order to place an order, and they can only be ordered online.
FedEx offers free shipping supplies on its website, as well: you can find FedEx Express airbills, pouches, packaging, and labels, all available for delivery within two to five business days. UPS similarly offers free supplies, such as packaging and labels.
5) Offer Combined Shipping Discounts
When a buyer purchases more than one item, eBay provides several different ways to offer combined shipping discounts. These offers save money for the customer and incentivize them to purchase more items from you in turn.
Create flat shipping rules: charge customers for the shipping cost of the item that’s most expensive to send. Subsequent purchases, for example, could come with just $1 per item added to the total shipping price.
Create calculated shipping rules: combine multiple shipments into one to take advantage of consolidated shipping costs.
Offer carrier-specific discounts: set up a flat-rate or offer eBay-negotiated discount rates for certain carriers.
With this guide, you’ll have strategies at the ready to reign in your shipping costs, paving the way to grow your online business, drive value for your customers, and develop long-term, profitable relationships with your customer base.