The third kind of parcel shipper is the eBay type shipper. This is a person that sells products part time via eBay or some other internet site. According to a June 2006 survey conducted by ACNielsen International Research, there are approximately 1.3 million sellers around the world who use eBay as their primary or secondary source of income. Ina Steiner of Auction Byte says that there are 1.3 million amazon sellers. This is a significant amount of the market. These part time shippers typically ship anywhere from a few packages a week to dozens per day.
One of the challenges that eBay shippers face is reducing shipping charges. Buyers of products look for the lowest cost and savvy sellers that know how to ship inexpensively will get more business than sellers that naively ship packages using the wrong service or for higher rates. In my survey of eBay shippers at two eBay Live conventions, 6 out of every 10 people that ship on eBay pay too much for shipping. I spoke about this on a segment of SBTV, called eBay Shipping Tips.
Typical mistakes that these kinds of shippers make are the following:
- They pay retail for shipping; UPS offers programs for eBay shippers to save up to 31% off retail rates. Even the US Post Office (USPS) provides discounts and freebies, like free Delivery Confirmation to shippers that use on-line technology for processing their shipments.
- They don’t manage the weight of their packages. Sometimes, cutting an ounce or two of packing material can substantially reduce the cost of shipping.
- Most part-time shippers put all their eggs in one basket; by this I mean that they only use one carrier such as UPS or USPS. According to market research, most eBay shippers use the US Post Office as their carrier because of the convenience. They assume that the cheapest way to send a package is Parcel Post (it is not always). While the USPS is a great carrier and frequently is the lowest costs, these shippers can significantly cut their shipping expenses by comparing rates and service options of multiple carriers.
Free shipping is the most competitive way to sell on eBay; to do that and remain profitable use a carrier and service that is the most economical.