In order for a seller, on eBay, to maintain high DSR's there are four categories that they must receive high feedback scores on. They are communications. item description, shipping time and shipping cost. You can see that shipping weighs heavily on the sellers DSR's scores. Through trial and error, after five years, I have developed a system that works for me and the products that I sell. Other sellers may have their own system that works for them but this blog is about me, me, me.
In order to maintain high scores on shipping you must have a means to have accurate weights on the packages you ship and list. This is one area where you can "lose your shirt" if you list something and the shipping fees are not accurate. If you are to low with your estimate it will cost you money. If you are to high and the shipping costs seem extravagant for the buyer you may lose a sell or get low feedback scores on shipping costs. In a lot of ways with shipping the seller is between a rock and a hard place. It doesn't seem to matter what shipping method you use it is costly. I find it curious that a person will spend $4.50 for a latte but have a fit spending $4.50 to ship an item across the United States. Go figure.
For a seller, on eBay, or any other business that you ship items you need the proper tools and supplies. One of the first tools I purchased, when I started selling on eBay, was a small USPS postal scale.
This scale wasn't to expensive, is digital and is accurate up to 10 pounds. I still use the same scale today. It certainly has paid for itself over the years. I use this scale to weigh books and small light items. There are some items I sell that are weigh over ten pounds. Believe it or not when I first started selling I weighed heavy items on a bathroom scale. Talk about "trial and error". I learned very quickly (remember the losing your shirt comment) that I needed to invest in a scale that weighed accurately over ten pounds.
This scale weighs items up to 300 pounds. This scale has also paid for itself over the years. What is convenient about this scale is not only will it weigh heavy items but the digital monitor is attached with a coiled cord so if you have a very large package you can still read the information.
Most customers, mine included, expect their purchase to arrive intact, unharmed and in the same condition that was described in the listing (customers expect a lot huh?). I use a quality 2 inch packing tape, bio-degradable packing filler and bubble wrap to insure my items arrive to my customers safely. As an eBay seller you are responsible for the item until it is received. When you have a transaction, have taken the time, expense and trouble of packing the item and get a message from your customer that the item is damaged it just kinda ruins your day. But you know "stuff happens" and that is just part of having an Internet business. That is why I don't skimp on packing material. Like my old friend Kossee used to say "you lose twice, with a refund, it is the money that you didn't have and the money that you had to give back".
I have found for me that USPS (grumble grumble humph) is the most reliable, convenient and cost effective way to ship my items. I know there are other sources but remember this blog is about me me me. I do use UPS for larger items (like one of my antique chairs) and the items that I drop ship are shipped through UPS. So I have nothing in particular against UPS it's just that I ship about 98% of my items through USPS.
Here is what I have learned from dealing with USPS over the last five years. It makes you wonder why they have lost 6 billion dollars last year. In order to keep my shipping costs as low as possible and to keep my customers happy (remember shipping DSR's) there are certain techniques that I use to ship my items.
Let's start with the books I sell first.
|11 1/2" x 14 1/2 " Manila Envelope|
|USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope|
Because I print my own labels it costs me $4.75 to ship via a flat rate envelope. The envelopes are free from the post office. I generally order a case of them at a time from USPS and they are shipped directly to my address. Ya really can't beat that deal.
I invite you to read some feedback from happy customers that have been posted recently.
|Top Rated Seller Icon|
|Large Flat Rate Priority Box|
|Medium Flat Rate Priority Box|
When I am looking to buy antiques and collectibles I always try to purchase items that can be shipped via one of the methods that I have described. For items that won't fit into one of these envelopes or boxes I resort to parcel post. Parcel post is, in my opinion, very expensive and probably comparable to sending something through UPS but it takes longer. Then there is the additional hassle of trying to locate the appropriate cardboard box.
I do also drop ship home decor items where my drop shipper uses UPS as a shipping service. Of course the drop shipper is a huge shipper and more than likely gets select service and best price from UPS. I will use UPS for very large items, like the antique furniture that I sell, that USPS can not accommodate.
Well I hope that you were able to get some tidbit of information from all of this. Thank you for reading this post. If you have any questions I would be more than happy to try and answer them. If you have any suggestions or comments I would like to hear from you.
Until then "happy trails"...........Duane