Selling items through the marketplace websites Etsy and eBay is an easy way to earn extra money. But to make the most profit off the items you sell, you’ll need to keep shipping costs as low as possible.
Here’s why shipping costs can be problematic for Etsy and eBay vendors:
- The shipping cost for an item is so high, no one is willing to buy the item;
- The vendor underestimates the shipping cost for an item and earns less money on a sale. So, for example, an item sells for $25, the vendor stated the buyer would pay $4 for shipping, but the actual shipping cost ended up being $8 – the vendor would have to cover that $4 difference.
To reduce shipping costs, you may need to edit your inventory, scale-back on shipping destinations and rethink how you package items.
Weight and shipping costs
Shipping costs for large items can be almost as much as the asking price for the item. So, if you’re selling a vintage sofa on eBay for $200, but the shipping cost is $150, some buyers may decide they’re better off spending $350 on a vintage sofa at a local store.
If you sell small, lightweight items that can fit in a flat-rate mailer or small package, your shipping costs will be more affordable. But if selling antique armoires is your livelihood, you can always label items as “pickup only” on eBay.
When you don’t offer international shipping, you automatically exclude buyers from outside the United States, but you also avoid the cost and regulations of international shipping.
The U.S. Postal Service rate for shipping a first-class package internationally (aside from flat mailers) is a minimum of $9.50. If an item weighs more than 4 lbs., the starting rate for international shipping is $23.95.
Ship items using the smallest packaging possible (but not so small that the item might get lost in the mail). Buy in bulk the supplies you use most often, and look into whether soft-sided mailers and tubes could be used instead of bulkier boxes. Also, invest in a postage scale, so you can accurately determine what postage will be and use your home printer to create shipping and postage labels.