Understanding eBay Shipping Cost Options

eBay Shipping CostsIf you think that shipping costs only matter to buyers, think again. eBay is very involved in monitoring sellers’ shipping fees. What are some examples? Offer free shipping and eBay will reward you. Overcharge for shipping and eBay will penalize you. How do sellers navigate through various shipping cost options and still please eBay? Weighing the pros and cons of the different shipping costs can go a long way towards making eBay happy and improving profits, making it a win-win situation for all.  So let’s look at the various types of shipping costs…

Offering Free Shipping
Buyers appreciate free shipping, but should you offer it? The answer depends on how effective free shipping is for your business. Prior to offering free shipping, be sure to conduct a thorough review of potential gains, losses, pros, and cons. eBay encourages free shipping and rewards participating sellers with higher Detailed Seller Ratings (DSR) and higher visibility in search results. Despite this, some sellers are hesitant to ship an item for free because there’s a chance they won’t make a sufficient profit. However, sellers who offer free shipping often find that their listings have a greater response, which can lead to greater profit.

If you choose to offer free shipping, be sure to stipulate that free shipping isn’t valid for international buyers. International shipping costs are much higher than domestic shipping, which means you could be out quite a bit of money.

Offering Calculated Shipping Costs
If you do not want to offer free shipping, calculated shipping costs is an option. This method lets buyers use the eBay Shipping Calculator to instantly see shipping costs. How does it work? Buyers simply enter their zip code and preferred shipping service — overnight, 3-day, ground — and the calculator shows the shipping costs based on weight and distance to the destination.

The major benefit of calculated shipping costs is that buyers determine how their item is shipped and how much they pay. This eliminates any confusion and questions. However, calculated shipping costs require a little work on the seller’s end. To enable the calculator, sellers must input the product weight, packaging type, zip code, handling fees and up to four different types of shipping delivery services.

Offering Flat Rate Shipping Costs
eBay lets sellers specify an exact shipping cost, aka “flat rate”, to all customers. This method allows sellers to determine shipping costs, but not without restrictions. If buyers think they’re being overcharged for shipping, they will penalize sellers with a low DSR. If you decide to offer flat rate shipping costs, be sure they’re reasonable enough not to offend customers, but high enough to cover your shipping expenses.

Offering International Shipping Costs
Offering international shipping can attract a new world of buyers. But with drastically higher shipping costs, mistakes are costly. Calculating international shipping costs correctly is vital. After all, the last thing you want to do is offer to ship an item at a lower price and end up paying out of pocket! The good news is the eBay Shipping Calculator works for international shipments. The calculator will allow international buyers to determine their shipping fees and delivery method, which streamlines the process for all involved.

It’s very important to know and communicate that an import tax or duty may be charged on top of the purchase price at the time of delivery. The buyer is responsible for these fees. What’s due depends on the type of goods and where they’re shipped from. The fees are determined by the buyer’s country collection authority and must be paid before the package is delivered.

As a rule of thumb, remember that eBay wants both you and your customers to come out on top. Look at each listing individually to determine the best shipping costs so you can make the most out of every eBay sale.