Once you've sold something on eBay, you have to find some way to get the actual item from you to your eagerly-awaiting buyer. That may sound simple, but there's actually quite a bit of preparation involved, both before and after a buyer makes a purchase. In this lesson, we'll outline some things that you should do to get the items that you sell on eBay.com ready for shipping, both before you even list them for sale on eBay and after you actually make a sale.
It's generally not fun to sell something and then have to run around doing last-minute shopping because you can't find a box that properly fits your item! Always make sure that you have a sufficient quantity of various types of packaging materials on-hand before you list items for sale. As a basic guideline, make sure that you have a box and enough packing supplies (bags, envelopes, tape, bubble wrap, plastic foam peanuts, etc.) for each item that you wish to sell.
You can order free co-branded boxes from the U.S. Postal Service and eBay. You can also buy packaging supplies from sellers on eBay, or branded materials directly from eBay. The U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, and U.P.S. also have packaging supplies for sale.
After you take any pictures that you need to in order to properly show off your item in its listing, pack the item before you list it. This saves you time when sending items off after they sell, which means that they reach their buyers faster, which generally leads to happier customers!
However, fast handling times mean little if your items arrive broken, defective, or missing! Here are some tips for how to pack your items properly.
Unless you plan to offer free shipping for an item, you will need to calculate how much you will pay a courier service to get the item to its buyer for you. This will help you get an idea of how much of the cost you should pass on to the buyer.
Measure the dimensions and weight of your package, and then plug them into eBay's Shipping Calculator (you will need to log into your eBay account to use this) to see how much your package will cost to send through U.P.S. or the U.S. Postal Service. This will help you gauge how much you want to charge for shipping and handling when you list your items for sale.
A way to help your customers save money (and potentially become repeat buyers) is by offering combined shipping discounts. This allows them to pay reduced shipping costs if they buy multiple items from you at the same time (or within a short amount of time). You can set your account to do this automatically, or you can do it manually if a user has bought some of your items but hasn't paid for them yet.
The first thing that you need to do after one of your items sells is to print a shipping label for your package and affix it to the container. You can do this at your local post office, or you can do it online at the websites of many of eBay's supported couriers (U.P.S., FedEx, U.S. Postal Service, etc.). However, the easiest way to do it is to print your shipping labels right on eBay; it's free, too!
Once your shipping label is printed, attach it to your package with tape or built-in adhesive.
Once your item is fully packed, it's time to see it off. Take it down to your local post office or courier service branch, and have them print and apply a shipping label for it (if you haven't done this yourself already). Then, hand it off to them for delivery.
Be sure to ask for a tracking number (if one is available); we'll explain why in the next step.
There's one last thing that you should do after you've handed off your package to the post office or courier service for delivery, and that's update the buyer on the status of their order. This isn't totally necessary, but it's generally considered good business practice to allow your customers to know how close they are to receiving what they buy from you.
There are two ways to do it: add tracking information to the order (so that the buyer can trace approximately where their package is), or mark the order as "shipped" (so at least the buyer knows their package is on its way).
If you printed the shipping label on your package through eBay (which we provided instructions for doing in step 1 of this section), then a tracking number will automatically be added to your package for you when one becomes available. That means you can skip this step completely; you're done shipping!
If you didn't print your package's shipping label on eBay, you can add tracking information to the order manually. This is why we recommended that you ask the post office or courier service for a tracking number in step 2 of this section.
If you don't have a tracking number for your item (perhaps because the courier that you are shipping with doesn't support package tracking), you can still let your buyer know that their order is in transit. You can do so by marking the status of the order as "shipped."
If someone in a country outside your own buys an item from you on eBay, the rules for shipping are a little bit different. Fret not, though, because your item may very well be eligible for eBay's Global Shipping Program. This basically lets you drop off your package at a local shipping centre, and then the rest of the international shipping and customs legwork is taken care of for you! Click here for more information on eBay's Global Shipping Program, including eligibility requirements.
If you or your items are not eligible for the Global Shipping Program, or you otherwise choose to opt out of the program, then there are some additional things to consider when shipping items sold on eBay to international destinations. Learn more information about alternative international shipping on eBay.
That's pretty much everything that you need to know in order to ship things that you sell on eBay! Next up, we'll take a look at how you get paid for your eBay sales!
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