In this post, we are going to dive deeper into the nitty gritty of shipping an eBay item. We will look at what shipping options you should offer, combined shipping, handling times and everything else that is important when you are building and maintaining an eBay business.
Setting Up Shipping Options
I offer several different shipping methods, ranging from the slowest with tracking to FedEx or Purolator. The benefit to offering several options is that you can attract different calibers of buyers. You can set up your shipping via the quick listing tool or the business tool eBay offers, depending on what type of sellers account you have.
I figure out my shipping policies and costs by doing a bit of investigative research. I check to see what others are charging for the same item. If it makes sense, sometimes I will build the price of shipping into the item and then offer free shipping. I also heavily rely on the eBay shipping tool for a lot of items but sometimes I do my own shipping costs. I usually do this when I know I need more packing supplies to mail items I’ve sold. I build the price of the packing items into the shipping. Items such as tape and bubble wrap can last a long time, so I don’t do this too often to be honest.
If you have a personal account, you will use the quick listing tool. It’s easy to use. Here’s how:
On the listing, scroll down to the Shipping area:
- Ship your item: You can either select a fixed price or let eBay calculate it for you
- Local pick up from the buyer
- Offer both options.
Once you have selected to ship your item:
- In Ship your item, enter either your own fixed cost or enter the package dimensions and weight to have eBay calculate it
- eBay will offer recommended services that they are integrated with on the shipping page or you can enter your own if you don’t like their selection.
- Enter your zip code for local pick up if you decide to offer it.
If you are using the business tool, it is easy to set up as well.
- On the listing page, scroll down to the Shipping section. Under Domestic shipping, select whichever option works best for you:
- Calculated: The cost will vary by location and there is a shipping calculator you can use to get an estimate from your favorite carrier.
- Flat: Same cost to all buyers.
- Freight: This would only be used for large or bulky items.
- No shipping: Local pickup only.
- The dropdown menu will give you options for what services you want to ship with. Select your preferred carrier.
- If you’re offering a flat rate, enter the shipping cost or select local pickup.
- You can also apply combined or promotional shipping rules in this section. This will allow buyers to combine shipping for multiple items or allow you to put a promotion on shipping.
- If you have a handling cost enter it and enter the handling time. Be realistic about it because if packages arrive late, this can mean poor feedback is left for you.
- Add your package type, weight, and dimensions.
When you are entering the shipping details, you can also select what countries you want to send to, if you don’t want to ship to all of them. If you have a business account, this is also a good time to set up your ‘Business Policies’ page.
It is always a good policy to use an eBay integrated carrier for your shipping. This will help you avoid ‘item not received claims’ filed through the eBay Money Back Guarantee. The list of integrated carriers is quite extensive and can be found here.
eBay also offers a global shipping program for sellers who want to sell internationally. It will offer protection against negative feedback for international sales. All you do is ship the item to the center and they handle all international shipping and customs policies. This is the best way to track shipping for an international sale and will protect you against some of the potential pitfalls such as a lost parcel.
Combining Shipping Fees
I personally think it’s a good idea to combine shipping fees for many items. It will save the buyer just enough money that they will want to purchase more than one item potentially. If you offer combined shipping, the buyer has the chance to ask for the total on the listing page when the listing is complete.
To issue a combined shipping invoice, you can go to your seller hub and then click on orders. From there it will let you select what orders you need to be combined and you can enter the total. You can also do it from your My eBay page under the ‘sold’ section. Again, you will select the items you wish to combine and add the shipping cost. Then you simply click send invoice.
If the buyer has already paid for a few items and the payment included full price shipping and you offer combined shipping, you can offer a partial refund to them. If you received payment through PayPal, you could go to your seller hub and click on ‘orders’ and then ‘sold’. This will bring up the option to view the PayPal transaction and once you are redirected to PayPal, you have the option to offer a partial or full refund.
Labels and Packaging
Once your item is sold, you will want to make sure you have all the packaging items needed to make sure it gets to your buyer safe and sound. I always wrap items in bubble wrap if there is any chance at all of them getting damaged. I fit them into the box so they don’t bounce around and I tape and secure the box very well before bringing it to the post office. I tend to overwrap things to make sure they are safe.
Whenever possible, I use eBay’s label printing service. It creates the label and then I print it with label printing printer. It is a good policy to always use the address listed on the buyers’ account. This is the one that automatically comes up when you print the label. If you change the address, you will not be protected against eBay’s Money Back Guarantee.
If the buyer has the wrong address on the account, cancel the transaction and let them buy it again with the correct address. That way, you are both protected.
Offering eBay Guaranteed Delivery
eBay is in the rollout phase of a new program called eBay Guaranteed Delivery. It is being offered in phases so this option may not yet be available to all sellers. It allows buyers to search for items based on delivery times. eBay guarantees the delivery based on either handling time or door-to-door.
eBay will calculate the time if you choose handling time. It bases the handling time on a 1-day (24 hour) turnaround. You will get to choose the cutoff times for a next day shipment and business hours and you will also get to choose what carriers you plan to use for shipping. eBay does the rest.
If you choose door-to-door, it is up to you to put in the guaranteed delivery date. If the item arrives after the delivery date, it is your responsibility to refund the item and offer return shipping if the buyer asks.
The eBay Guaranteed Delivery option is a good one if you want to attract buyers that might need things on a time sensitive basis. If you can guarantee that you will get the item to the buyers’ door in three business days, then you might want to consider offering it.
Estimated Delivery Dates
eBay always offers an estimated delivery date on items that have been sold. This is based on the handling time and carrier information you have inserted on the listing. Weekends and holidays are not included in the calculation, regardless of whether the carrier delivers on those days. Sometimes a buyer will ask me if I can ship by their preferred method if it is one, I usually do shipping with the carrier the buyer asked for. I have the choice to say yes or no of course. Most of the time, if they want something and are willing to pay for it, I don’t mind offering the service. I always try to offer several shipping services anyway to prevent any added-on requests.
eBay also offers a service called ‘Fast and Free’. If you opt into the program, eBay will add a Fast and Free logo to the listing if it meets the following qualifications.
- Both you and your buyer are in one of the 48 lower states.
- eBay can estimate the delivery in four business days based on your handling time and the service you chose.
- You offer free shipping as your default shipping option.
- It is not a classified ad style listing.
- You don’t offer local pick up or freight as your default shipping option.
Once an item meets the criteria, the buyer is then protected if an item arrives late. eBay will offer a shipping reimbursement, a voucher for a future eBay purchase or a free return shipping label if the seller offers returns. This program also protects the seller against negative feedback for an item that arrived late.
Tracking allows the buyer to follow their purchase from the time they pay until the time it arrives at their door. Uploading tracking information or using an eBay shipping label also protects you from unnecessary claims against you or the listing.
If you use an eBay label, there is no need to do anything else if the item was shipped using one of the integrated carriers. You will also have the option to purchase insurance for the item when you use an eBay shipping label. It is all combined and tracked by eBay.
If you are not using a shipping label from the platform, it is important to mark the item shipped and upload the tracking manually to prevent most claims against you as the seller.
Shipping is an important part of the selling process and it is, a lot of the time, the difference between positive and negative feedback. It is easy to offer exceptional customer service. Be realistic about your handling times, use eBay integrated tools wherever possible to track shipping and make sure to communicate everything with the buyer.