eBay Shipping Tips To Increase Profits

 There are three ways to recover shipping costs on eBay:

1. Offer free shipping and build the cost into your starting price

2. Offer calculated shipping and charge buyers the actual shipping cost

3. Pre-calculate a fixed shipping price

 (Shipping Tip: If you are shipping via Priority mail, check out the weight and see if there is a flat rate offered through the post office. This can often save you money)

Buyers really like free shipping and when they do pay additional for shipping they want to know the cost before they bid. In general you will get more bids with free or fixed cost shipping than with calculated shipping.

Whenever I use fixed shipping, I pre-calculate the shipping cost half-way across the country. For example I live in Washington State, so I pre-calculate shipping costs to St. Louis. Now when I ship further than St. Louis I lose a little on shipping, but when I ship west of St. Louis I make a little. So over time it averages out.

One question that comes up a lot with shipping is multiple purchase discounts. If buyers purchase more than one item from you, should you offer a discount? Of course the choice is yours to make, but it may not be a bad idea. You want to make sure you don’t end up paying for the shipping. If it’s possible to ship the items together, you can offer a discount. If you can get a weight discount when you ship multiple shipments, then you can consider it.

The main thing to remember when it comes to shipping is you don’t want to have to pay out of your profits. If this happens you are not charging enough. Check out your options and Always be very clear about shipping and handling in your description –because buyers often miss the eBay shipping cost statement that appears near your current bid or buy price.

Free Shipping Supplies

Check with your local gift shop, kitchen store or radio shack. They often have good quality used boxes and packing material they have to pay to have recycled. They will often gladly give these to you for free.


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  1. Skip, I use calculated shipping on eBay and seem to be modestly successful with it. My reasoning is that customers know that they are getting more accurate shipping costs (no padding by the seller). I was under the impression that eBay shows the buyer the cost of shipping BEFORE they bid, based upon their location (and the use of cookies). Have you experienced differently?

    Secondly, a GREAT source of high-quality boxes are from people who are pharmaceutical sales reps. They often work from their homes and get numerous items shipped to them regularaly. My neighbor is one and UPS stops at his house 3 times a week. Whenever I need a supply of boxes in different sizes, I just walk across the street. Hope this information helps.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Skip,

    How true….”Free Shipping Supplies” – We developed a relationship with two or three store managers who would call us when boxes and packing peanuts were to be picked up. We had literally zero shipping costs, with the exception of tape, because we picked up used materials from stores close to our home.

    Great tip-

  3. Hi Skip
    The key concept you didn’t mention is allowing for weight of packaging in the shipping cost – particularly with combined items.

    Many of my ranges are about the size of a book but lighter, and when shipping a single item, they only need a jiffy bag, some extra bubble-wrap and maybe a piece or two of cardboard as a stiffener. But once people buy a few together, then they need a box and the weight jump goes from under an ounce for the jiffy bag to at least four or eight ounces depending on box size.

    That really bumps the postage element and makes it a killer trying to precalculate postage because the eBay system is just not up to it. I really wish they’d spend some serious developer time on bringing the shipping system up to date for the variety of goods and destinations that sellers use nowadays – it’s my biggest gripe with the site.

    BTW – out here in Asia, free recycled packaging is a non-starter. All used packaging materials have a value, and landfill dumping is free, so if you want used supplies you have to buy them, and because of local conditions, they are often more expensive than buying new ones – particularly the plastic items like peanuts and bubblewrap.

    (Any chance you could run a post about the challenges of shippers sending INTO the US? Particularly the delays caused by Customs, Homeland Security, USPS switching International Airmail to ground mail internally etc. Oh, and please run an article about the dreaded registered delivery not getting a card left, and recipients then having to collect from depot. That last point is my biggest negative feedback cause when selling to US Buyers, as they perceive it as slow despatch or lost package..


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