By Jason T. Smith
High Desert Daily
(Victorville) In the last article, I touched on the basics of eBay and why it’s so popular. This time I’ll give you some tips regarding the shipping of your sold items, as shipping is of the utmost importance to both the buyer and the seller.
When you list an item for sale, you want to be very specific with your shipping cost. One choice is by using the eBay provided shipping calculator, which allows potential buyers to simply enter their address and it does the rest by showing them several different shipping options based on how much they want to pay and how fast they want their item. You might also want to set a flat rate shipping price that they pay regardless of weight or destination. For this set price, you want to base it on the normal shipping rates and you might want to also account for your shipping materials, such as boxes and bubble wrap. Just make sure to keep it reasonable. You don’t want to charge $20 to ship a pack of baseball cards. It will never sell if the customer is paying more for shipping than the actual item.
What I tend to do on a lot of my auctions is offer free shipping. This appeals to all those people looking for the best price. Just make sure it’s set at a price you’re comfortable with. After all, you still want to make a profit. Be very specific when doing this as it pertains to the exact type of shipping method you are using, which in my auctions would be USPS parcel post, which generally takes longer than, say, USPS priority mail. For example, I had a customer purchase one of my items that included free shipping and 2 days later this person was haggling me about the whereabouts of their item, telling me that it should have been there already with priority mail. I told them to refer to the auction listing and notice where it clearly states parcel post as the shipping method. Problem solved. After all, when you are offering free shipping you definitely don’t want to lose money by giving them the more expensive shipping for free.
I always offer the option of shipping insurance, which is priced according to the value of the item, for a small additional fee. It is also good to state clearly in your listing that you are not responsible for lost or damaged goods if they did not purchase insurance. Trust me on this. I also put delivery confirmation on my items so that I can track when a package arrives to the buyer.
The last thing to consider when it comes to shipping is the handling time, which you set on eBay. This is the time in which you will ship the item out. Mine is two days. You must stay within this time frame to ensure that the item gets there in a timely manner. Plus, if you have an issue with a buyer claiming they have not received an item and they open a dispute claim on eBay, you want to be able to provide eBay with a tracking number that is dated within that handling time.
Well that’s pretty much the gist of it as far as shipping your items goes. Remember though, this is geared towards shipping items that can be packaged in a box. Large items like automobiles, appliances, and what not, will obviously require another form of shipping. Tow trucks and trucks with box trailers are the way to go for this stuff. If it’s a really big, awkward item, you may want to refer to the television show “Shipping Wars”.