Yesterday Kristina Klausen from eBay’s Shipping Team announced that starting this week eBay will begin requiring all new sellers who are listing for the first time to specify their shipping costs using the Shipping Details section. By the time eBay Live arrives specified shipping costs will be required in most listings on eBay. Click here to read the full announcement.
What does this mean for me as a seller?
Flat rate shipping doesn’t have to be as bad as it sounds. You do not have to charge shipping to zone 8 for all orders no matter how close they are. What you want to do is determine what shipping amount will cover most of your shipments. The best way to arrive at this number is to pull a list of all your orders from the previous month, quarter or even the last year. The more data the better.
With this data you should be able to determine what your average shipping cost was as well as other interesting metrics like what percentage of your orders are only traveling a short distance and which ones are traveling further. Your goal should be to at least cover shipping on all orders and maybe have a little profit built in should the rates or surcharges increase.
Probably the best benefit of Flat Rate S&H that I can think of is while all the other sellers are scrambling to change their S&H on thousands of listings, your S&H doesn’t have to be changed. We experienced this back in 2006 when the USPS changed their rates. While many sellers were frantically changing the S&H in their listings, we continued to list and sell additional product.
As a seller I believe it creates a good buying experience if we provide the potential buyer with a shipping quote upfront and in the actual search if possible. This change will not affect our business because we already do this. However, I am concerned for other sellers because the eBay shipping calculator can be buggy at times and doesn’t support all the carriers. It would be easier for everyone to swallow if eBay would have added the functionality for all major carriers to the shipping calculator.