eBay for Business
cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Five Common Assumptions about Shipping on eBay

Share Post
Verified Blogger
Verified Blogger
Last Edited 05:00:19 PM by News Team

Shipping_620.jpg

 

We’ve heard that shipping on eBay can seem a bit intimidating to new sellers. So, we reached out to the experts on our shipping team to find out what’s troubling those who are new to the game.

 

What did we find out? Five of the most common assumptions are easily rectified with a little more information. So, we’re here to clear up confusion and bust the following myths:

 

1. It’s hard to calculate shipping costs.

 

It’s hard if you’re not prepared. To get the most accurate shipping cost every time, pre-pack your item in advance (just don’t tape it up). You’ll need to have a few sizes of boxes or mailers on hand (get help with that in #2), bubble wrap, and a low-cost shipping scale. Once you pack up your item, simply input your dimensions and weight into the fields during listing. Then, for easy handling, place a post-it on your box that indicates what’s inside. Also, if you want to compare costs between carriers, you can use the shipping calculator.

 

2. Finding the right size box is always challenging.

 

It doesn’t have to be. If you prefer shipping items via Priority Mail, you can get free boxes and mailers at the post office. If you’d rather not leave the house, you can easily order a wide array of boxes on USPS.com, FedEx.com, or from our eBay branded shipping supplies store. We recommend the latter, because buyers are growing accustomed to receiving their merchandise in eBay boxes, just as they have with other big ecommerce players.

 

3. If I sell a lot, I’ll be spending all of my time at the post office.

 

 Inside.jpg

 

Actually, it’s just the opposite. The more you sell on eBay, the less time you’ll spend at the post office. Why? Because high-volume sellers have USPS come to them! All you have to do is use eBay Labels to print out your Priority Mail or Express Mail postage and then schedule a free pickup. Also, eBay Labels come with tracking information that’s sent directly to your buyer. Oh, and you’ll save money – up to 24% off USPS and 37% off FedEx.*

 

4. Accepting returns seems like a major hassle.

NO ONE likes returns, but sellers have told us that having a return policy in place doesn’t actually lead to a spike in returned merchandise. It just gives buyers peace of mind that they’re not locked into keeping an item they don’t like. Plus, when you use Returns on eBay, they can be as automated as you want. You just set up the policy that works best for you. This sample return chart illustrates how easy the process can be.

 

5. Shipping internationally is a whole new level of complicated.

 

Actually, selling internationally is just like selling domestically when you use the eBay Global Shipping Program. All you have to do is send your sold item to the Global Shipping Center in Kentucky. Then eBay handles the rest. And by “rest,” we mean customs forms, taxes, import charges, and actually getting your item to your customer. If your package is lost or damaged on the international leg of its journey, eBay handles the buyer refund, and you still keep the sale earnings.

 

Have we alleviated some of your fears about getting your item(s) from point A to point B? If you still have questions, leave them in the comments section. Thousands of seasoned selling rock stars hang out here and love to help.

 

 Feel free to share this article via email and on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

 

*Average discount for all labels purchased on ebay.com compared to retail rates.

 

  • Shipping
34 Comments
by alexj* · Adventurer
alexj*
Adventurer

Another great article! These are all great tips that all sellers should read.

Verified Blogger
Verified Blogger

Thanks, @*gosnoopy*!

br_homc_fs8mthi
Adventurer

I'm still a little confused although I did find this article helpful.  I understand point 1, but how can you know what it will cost upfront when you don't know WHERE it's going ?  I've just started selling, and have only sold two items so far, but both cost twice as much to ship as I had thought.  The one I shipped yesterday went all the way to CA and I live in TN.

Thank You,

Carol

by alexj* · Adventurer
alexj*
Adventurer

@br_homc_fs8mthi

If you use calculated shipping, it automatically calculates the shipping based on the buyer's address.

by annie*34 · Adventurer
annie*34
Adventurer

Br_homc_fs8mthi, When you use calculated shipping you need to enter the weight of the item. It also helps to know that if the weight of your package is 16 ounces or less you can choose to send an item USPS first class mail. You can check this box as a shipping option. If an item weighs 16.01 ounces and higher and you are using USPS it will need to go Priority mail. If an item is 16 or less I add first class mail. I also will give a second shipping option of USPS Priority mail. This was the buyer can choose which they prefer. Shipping across country such as TN to CA is costly. As a general rule I choose flat rate shipping. Most of my items are under 16oz. I know this and can set a price. Generally I charge $3.60. If an item I am selling can fit into a USPS Priority mail padded flat rate envelope it costs me with my TRS discount $5.90. As of Monday I'm sure my shipping prices will be going up because of the USPS rate hikes. You will learn as you sell what works best for you. Make sure to leave room for trial and error and most of all enjoy what you are doing!

bregmanburba
Adventurer

This was a great article thank you. When I calculate shipping (if it isn't going into a flat rate package) I use the furthest US state from me so I will know what the highest postage might cost me before I set my listing price when offering free shipping. I also turn off my international shipping option (if it's not a flat rate package) to prevent paying a higher unpredictable rate. When I have an item that I feel could sell well in the global market I switch over to calculate by location and buyer pays for shipping. 

pollyannagrammy
Adventurer

What I want to know is how expensive is global shipping for my customers. I only ship first class international because the customers are very concerned about cost. The only times I lost money was when I shipped to Brazil, which I no longer do. It took 3 months, I do not ship items that weigh over 4 pounds. I know there is no tracking within their countries but most everyone has been very honest. I am reluctant to use global because I do not want my costomers to not buy because of postage cost. I can not seem to find out how much more it will cost THEM.

pollyannagrammy
Adventurer

I do love the eBay boxes. They are well made. The tape can be tricky because it is thin and quite sticky so hard to get started, but I apply a pencil to the end everytime so it does not stick back down. I also use Priority boxes which are free at the USPS website. I buy off eBay some odd sizes that I need. Print at home and either make a postoffice run or have them picked up, depending. Oh, and I get the clear tape from costco, stocking up when it is on special. I use it across the address to protect it. I buy bubble wrap off eBay.

 

 

by woadieland · Guide
woadieland
Guide

There's one "fallacy" I'd like to change/correct - this one "Because high-volume sellers have USPS come to them!"

It's not just High volume sellers who have pickup at home/office/warehouse.  IF you have one priority mail or one international priority you can schedule a pickup.  So on days when I don't have a priority paid by the buyer, I upgrade someone so I won't have to go to the PO.

I love the pickup at home.. If you work and you have a employer who's reasonable, you can also schedule pickup for your office or your warehouse.   Just have the packages all done, ready to go with a scan sheet and set up the pickup for the regular mail pickup at the office (online at usps.com.. they don't ask if you own your pickup place, just "what's the address".  Go for it!

 

by readabouthorses · Guide

You need to make sure that you can get pickup by USPS. I can't. They won't come up my 3/4 of a mile long private dirt road. I can leave small packages in my rural mailbox down on the public road but if I ship something in a bigger box I have to drive it to the Post Office.

 

Also this article should have suggested to make sure what you are shipping qualifies for the shipping method you are being shown by the shipping calculator mentioned in Post #1. I just ran something through there to see how it works (I don't use it) and it shows Media Mail even when it doesn't know what I'm shipping. Why would I not choose Media Mail if I don't know better since it was the cheapest shipping method shown? Now I think I understand why Media Mail abuse is out of control on Ebay. I just recently saw a seller shipping boots and clothing and Media Mail was their shipping option in every listing.

by annie*34 · Adventurer
annie*34
Adventurer

Media mail is media mail for a reason, to ship media. I purchase an item on eBay that the seller used a USPS Express mail and priority mail envelope in place of bubble wrap, both of these were new unused. I called out the seller about this and they claimed they were recycling. That wasn't possible because they used the Priority Express envelope as an "easy open" for me. 2 freebies they got from the USPS and were used illegally. Oh and the package itself wash shipped first class. This kind of illegal abuse is one reason why the USPS has to continually raise prices. Please use your freebie USPS supplies the right way or we all pay.

by survivorsedge · Scout

WOW WOW WOW!  My reason for not shipping internationally was due to the following.

 

1. I live way out in the sticks and my parcels are shipped with stamps.com out of my rural maibox.  Driving to the post office was not a reasonable option.

So if I understand correctly, the address for ALL international orders would be mailed from me to the center in Kentucky?!  I use to ship internationally when I lived in Seattle.  Looks like I will be selling internationally again!  YAY! 

jaks_attic_store
Adventurer

"It also helps to know that if the weight of your package is 16 ounces or less you can choose to send an item USPS first class mail. You can check this box as a shipping option. If an item weighs 16.01 ounces and higher and you are using USPS it will need to go Priority mail."

 

I thought the USPS weight limit for First Class is 13 ounces. Is there a trick to get First Class Shipping up to 16 ounces? 

by alexj* · Adventurer
alexj*
Adventurer

@jaks_attic_store

No, it's just like 13 ounces, there is nothing special you have to do. It has been 16 ounces for a while now...:smileywink:

by darleneg20 · Adventurer
darleneg20
Adventurer

When I clicked on the link to the shipping calculator it didn't show anywhere to compare shipping carriers plus how can you calculate shipping if you don't know where it's destination is since you haven't sold it yet? 

jaks_attic_store
Adventurer

Hi, I'm not trying to beat a dead horse however, I am really confused. 

I just called the closest post office and they said that First Class weight limit is 13 ounces. So I searched online and this page says First Class limit is 13 ounces as well:

https://www.usps.com/ship/first-class-mail.htm

 

How are you getting First Class up to 16 ounces? I must be missing something...

by alexj* · Adventurer
alexj*
Adventurer

@jaks_attic_store

It is for people who print their labels off online through eBay only.

jaks_attic_store
Adventurer

Ahh! Thank you. I did not know that! 

News Team
News Team

Thank you @*gosnoopy* for sharing all your great advice on this thread. ~Audrey

tbosnyak22014
Rising Star

I feel so much better now! I was very concerned with shipping globally... My wife and I wanted to sell globally but we had no idea how to do it. I had a sale once that cost more to send than the price of the item was at retail! Now that we are both retired we want to have this little business and both our families live in Europe. So we defiantly wanted to include our homelands and everywhere else!

 

Thank you for sharing this article as it takes a weight off our minds! 

Thanks,

Anna and Tibor

by biteybug · Pathfinder
biteybug
Pathfinder

I want to start selling on ebay.  I'll be a private Seller and won't be listing more than 50 items/month.   I'm trying to determine the best way to ship on ebay.  I know I can get all of my supplies through USPS.  If I print off my shipping labels through the USPS, do they get paid directly from my Paypal account?  Or if I choose to print off ebay shipping labels, ebay will take the shipping costs out of my Paypal account.  And if they do, how does USPS get payment for their delivery services?  HELP!    Thank you, Colleen

sglifeandhome
Adventurer

I've read numerous times about selling internationally to just ship your item to the Global Shipping Center in Kentucky but I've never once seen the address of the facility listed anywhere.  So how do I ship it to the facility?  I do print out my own shipping labels through Ebay for all my orders.  So for international orders, does the address of the GSC in KY automatically come up as the "ship to" address?

by alexj* · Adventurer
alexj*
Adventurer

Hi, @biteybug

*I want to start selling on ebay.  I'll be a private Seller and won't be listing more than 50 items/month.   I'm trying to determine the best way to ship on ebay.  I know I can get all of my supplies through USPS.  If I print off my shipping labels through the USPS, do they get paid directly from my Paypal account?  Or if I choose to print off ebay shipping labels, ebay will take the shipping costs out of my Paypal account.  And if they do, how does USPS get payment for their delivery services?  HELP!    Thank you, Colleen*

 

When you print labels off through eBay, it is taken out of your PayPal account. When you use eBay labels, you get a discount, so it is receommended that you use that instead of buying a label at the USPS website.

by alexj* · Adventurer
alexj*
Adventurer

Hi, @sglifeandhome

You have to have the "sell internationally with the global shipping program" box checked to do that...

gsp.PNG

When you go to print a label off, the "ship to" address would be an address in Kentucky. The address has a bunch of numbers and letters and things so the people in KY know where and to who it goes. If you sell something through the GSP, all you pay is for it to get to KY, the buyer covers the rest of the charges from there.

Ok so here is a little dillema. Not a big one though, thankfully I caught it in time. I have an item for sale that I was going to try and be competative with. I checked my prices against others, and thought I could compete, but apparently the shipping on this item is going to be immense.(about 50$) I looked at "sold" listings, and some sellers who sold similar items were selling them for their price+shipping still being cheaper than what shipping alone costs me for the same item. How is that even possible? I tried all three shippers and received similar quotes from each. To sell at the price that they did, they actually lost money. I guess there are some products that just don't lend themselves well to selling online.

sglifeandhome
Adventurer

Absolutely.  If I'm going to "lose my shirt" on shipping costs to where ever, I don't list it.  Many people lose money on Ebay this way.  It's quite critical to know exactly how much money it's going to cost to ship something BEFORE you list it.  Shipping Calculator an invaluable tool for this.  From where I am located, I figure my item is going to ship to California, and calculate the cost from there.  You must also have the box too for measurements and weight.  


shana_champion wrote:

Shipping_620.jpg

 

We’ve heard that shipping on eBay can seem a bit intimidating to new sellers. So, we reached out to the experts on our shipping team to find out what’s troubling those who are new to the game.

 

What did we find out? Five of the most common assumptions are easily rectified with a little more information. So, we’re here to clear up confusion and bust the following myths:

 

1. It’s hard to calculate shipping costs.

 

It’s hard if you’re not prepared. To get the most accurate shipping cost every time, pre-pack your item in advance (just don’t tape it up). You’ll need to have a few sizes of boxes or mailers on hand (get help with that in #2), bubble wrap, and a low-cost shipping scale. Once you pack up your item, simply input your dimensions and weight into the fields during listing. Then, for easy handling, place a post-it on your box that indicates what’s inside. Also, if you want to compare costs between carriers, you can use the shipping calculator.

 

2. Finding the right size box is always challenging.

 

It doesn’t have to be. If you prefer shipping items via Priority Mail, you can get free boxes and mailers at the post office. If you’d rather not leave the house, you can easily order a wide array of boxes on USPS.com, FedEx.com, or from our eBay branded shipping supplies store. We recommend the latter, because buyers are growing accustomed to receiving their merchandise in eBay boxes, just as they have with other big ecommerce players.

 

3. If I sell a lot, I’ll be spending all of my time at the post office.

 

 Inside.jpg

 

Actually, it’s just the opposite. The more you sell on eBay, the less time you’ll spend at the post office. Why? Because high-volume sellers have USPS come to them! All you have to do is use eBay Labels to print out your Priority Mail or Express Mail postage and then schedule a free pickup. Also, eBay Labels come with tracking information that’s sent directly to your buyer. Oh, and you’ll save money – up to 24% off USPS and 37% off FedEx.*

 

4. Accepting returns seems like a major hassle.

NO ONE likes returns, but sellers have told us that having a return policy in place doesn’t actually lead to a spike in returned merchandise. It just gives buyers peace of mind that they’re not locked into keeping an item they don’t like. Plus, when you use Returns on eBay, they can be as automated as you want. You just set up the policy that works best for you. This sample return chart illustrates how easy the process can be.

 

5. Shipping internationally is a whole new level of complicated.

 

Actually, selling internationally is just like selling domestically when you use the eBay Global Shipping Program. All you have to do is send your sold item to the Global Shipping Center in Kentucky. Then eBay handles the rest. And by “rest,” we mean customs forms, taxes, import charges, and actually getting your item to your customer. If your package is lost or damaged on the international leg of its journey, eBay handles the buyer refund, and you still keep the sale earnings.

 

Have we alleviated some of your fears about getting your item(s) from point A to point B? If you still have questions, leave them in the comments section. Thousands of seasoned selling rock stars hang out here and love to help.

 

 Feel free to share this article via email and on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

 

*Average discount for all labels purchased on ebay.com compared to retail rates.

 


 

by jh1717 · Adventurer
jh1717
Adventurer

I don't see the usps shipping discounts anymore. They disappeared when the rates went up on Jan 17. Anybody know how to get the discounts again?

by alexj* · Adventurer
alexj*
Adventurer

@jh1717

I still see them when I print my postage off online...

by alexj* · Adventurer
alexj*
Adventurer

Hi, @northcarolinatreasuresandfinds.

If the sellers are looking at who had the same item for sale lived near you and had calculated shipping, it would automatically calculate a low price to send it to you based on your zip code. If you lived half way across the country from the seller(s), it would give a different quote.

When you are calculating the shipping, what "to" zip code did you put in? Shipping usually changes based on where it is going.

by 1sellermom · Pathfinder
1sellermom
Pathfinder

Hi guys, I'm starting out, getting into the swing of things but messed up the shipping.

I went with the automatic ebay recommended weight & shipping for my item, and now I'm weighing it and it's not <8 oz., it's 17 oz.!  So it can't go via USPS First Class package regular mail, which ebay calculated at $3.39.  I will have to pay for priority mail instead, likely $7.60 from what I can tell.  (Although the auction isn't over yet so I'm hoping the bidding will go up.) 

Is there anything I can do at this point, other than take the mailing cost loss and be aware in the future?  Thanks!

by nigeltroll · Adventurer
nigeltroll
Adventurer

why does ebay charge us a percentage for shipping? when I get the correct amount for shipping and then ebay takes a percentage, it then comes out of what I made, which they already take a percentage already, this does not seem fair to us. am I wrong?

synthacide510
Enthusiast

thanks to ther fee's you attach onto shipping (paid by customer btw) and PP fee's, on top of your 10% how do really think we can make money pricing things appropriatly? your nickle and diming has seriously infuriated me to the point of saying screw you guys... I lost money on my last transaction and I'll never sell on ebay again, good job...

sglifeandhome
Adventurer

I have to agree with Nigeltroll and Synthacide.  Ebay charging fees on shipping is totally unfair, ESPECIALLY when you are using calculated shipping costs!  There's no way to rip off a customer when it's THEIR ZIPCODE that determines their ultimate shipping cost to begin with!  Ebay should do away with fees on shipping if your listing offers calculated shipping because it's like penalizing the seller, no matter what, even for 100% fair shipping cost.

 

 

sglifeandhome
Adventurer

Hey there 1SellerMom.  

Unfortunately, by now you have probably experienced the pain of vastly undercharging for shipping and then losing money on a sale as a result (your 2-23-2017 post).  To avoid this in the future, get yourself an inexpensive (but accurate!) digital scale.  I got one from Amazon rather inexpensively.  Next, start collecting different size good boxes to ship your items.  Down the road, you can consider purchasing boxes and envelopes from Ebay (especially helpful when you have a coupon).  To determine the best price and before you list your item, make sure you have picked the smallest appropriately sized box and weighed it.  Always round up to the next ounce or pound.  Then, enter your information into Ebay's Shipping Calculator.  Determine which carrier you are going to ship it based on how much it weighs. ( If you live in California, figure that item based on selling it somewhere to the East Coast or vice versa.)

If you want to offer Free Shipping on something, you would be wise to incorporate your shipping cost to the farthest US destination as part of your price.  You can do this quite easily when selling something rather expensive.  If it's quite heavy, consider FexEx SmartPost. USPS has Flat Rate and Regional Rate boxes but are limited on the sizes of boxes they offer.  All USPS Priority Shipping supplies can be ordered for free online.  Point is, you want to have a good inventory of boxes to choose from.  Its a big mistake and could be quite costly to list an item where you have guessed on the shipping and didn't have the specific box for it.  Headache--I've done this.  So, take these tips, which I hope you find helpful, and best of success to you!