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Your eBay Business: How to Deal with Handling and Shipping

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Martyn Boaden photoWhen running an eBay business, don't forget that packaging material has a cost, as does the labour-time spent packaging and shipping your product. You can add this cost as shipping and handling fees on top of the purchase price. BUT postage, shipping and handling charges are a BIG turn-off for eBay buyers as they inflate the cost of the item that they are buying on eBay. Unless handling eats into your profit, i.e. you have to employ people to work for you, I recommend that you DON'T charge for handling when selling on eBay

If postage is a small percentage of the cost of the item that you are selling on eBay, consider FREE postage. Anything FREE is a powerful motivator to encourage people to buy. Do your sums - can you afford to offer free shipping without wiping out your profit? If you can, you will attract many more customers than your eBay competitors who do charge for shipping.

If you sell different items on eBay, consider offering a postage discount for multiple purchases, e.g. the cost of sending two CDs may be the same as sending one. So give free shipping on the second item (if bought at the same time). This will encourage some people to buy two whereas they would have only bought one - doubling your eBay profit.

Give people a choice between first, second class, priority mail, etc. They won't want to pay for next day delivery if they're not in a great hurry to receive your product. Likewise, if they want the product NOW they won't buy from you if you only use second class post. They'll buy from your competitor, and might even pay your competitor more, if your competitor offers quicker delivery. Giving your eBay customers a choice puts them in control which makes them feel more comfortable and therefore more confident about buying from you.

To avoid claims that the item wasn't received, you could insist on using recorded delivery. If the item is expensive and or fragile, you could consider using insurance. Your terms and conditions in your eBay listing could state that this is payable by the buyer.

Some eBay sellers make their profit by inflating the handling/shipping/postage costs. This increases their income without having to pay eBay their percentage. DON'T DO THIS. Whilst you will make more profit per sale, you will sell less, at lower prices because many potential bidders will be put off by this ploy. Also eBay will penalise you for fee avoidance if they find out.

One of the reasons people shop on eBay is convenience. They can buy with a few mouse clicks without ever having to get out of their chair. Make it as EASY and CONVENIENT as possible for them to buy from you. Putting obstacles in their way will lose you sales. Accept as many ways of paying as possible. This gives your customers choices, putting them in control and making them feel more comfortable and therefore more confident about buying.

Some people only want to pay by one particular method. If you don't accept that method of payment - they won't bid so you will sell less items and at lower prices. The small amount of hassle involved in setting up multiple methods of payments will be more than compensated for by the extra sales you make.

Specify in your terms and conditions of your eBay listing by when the winning bidder should pay. You don't want to be waiting weeks for payment. "Payment must be made within 7 days of end of auction" would be appropriate in most cases.

As a business, eBay requires you to provide contact details. Again, don't hide these away. Make them obvious in your listing. Few people will want to contact you but displaying your contact details will show that you have nothing to hide which will give them more confidence in dealing with you.

If you are selling an information product, such as an ebook, CD or DVD, avoid trouble with eBay by clearly explaining in your listing that you are the legal copyright owner of the material. Let them know that you are willing to discuss this issue with an eBay representative if they feel that there might be a violation. eBay does reserve the right to cancel any auction where they question the copyright issue.

Martyn Boaden is the Founder of The Online Auction Resource Centre where you will find more information and all the resources you'll ever need to set up and run your successful and profitable eBay business. And for a limited time only you can get instant access to his popular eBay Business Box (worth $164 + $17 pm) for FREE by clicking this link:



See also: How to Make Your eBay Listing Attractive

Published - May 2010

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