Monday, February 7, 2011

Shipping Questions!

I Have A Few Questions For All You
Guys and Girls Doing Business On The Net!

1. Do you include the cost of packaging, labels, tape, time,
and gas into product cost or shipping cost?

2. Do you always confirm shipped items no matter the
cost of the item?

3. Do you ship overseas? Pro/Cons?

4. What was your biggest shipping mistake?

5. Do you always check references? Ask for them?

6. Padded envelopes or boxes?

7. Do you have preset shipping days?

8. How do you feel about PayPal? Are others better?
9. Is it better to ship from your house or take it to
the post office?

10. Where do you like to list your items for sale? Pros/Cons?


Looking Glass Miniatures said...

I use Etsy and Ebay to sell from , but i also sell from my Style In Scale Blog too.

I use recycled materials to ship and have not been charging for handling. This i think will have to change as gas and tape paper etc do take up a cost. Im only thinking of about a 1 or 2 for a shippment though.

I like paypal and have not had any problems.
As far as shipping overseas, yes i ship everywhere but you do run into problems.
Like, delays,customs, slow shipping all things that alot of people dont understand. When you ship overseas make sure to let your customer know that your not able to insure a delivery time. As the post office approx how long it should take to the destination and let your customer know that, it can take up to 2 months for things to go from Canada to Italy. Holidays also come into play.

When i sell on ebay now ,larger items i try and send expedited as it has a tracking # and more insurance available.

I always look at a persons feedback if possible.

I go to the post office and dont have any preset shipping days.

I would say it's best to figure out your shipping information and policies ahead of time. Make sure the customer knows. Im always getting emails asking where there shippments are, people are not patient when there waiting for a shippment. Alot dont understand that you have no control after you ship. so if someone wants the cheepest way make sure you keep there email saying this and get them to send you a confirmation when it arrives.

hope this helps a bit,

Vanessa said...

1. Yes you should include the cost in your product. I use recylced boxes. I let my customers know that this helps to keep cost down and helps with environment.
2. I do all of my shipping online at You get a discount and confirmation is free. You just have to print the label.
3. I just started shipping overseas. Pros - increased sales. Cons - had to revise shipping costs a couple of times. Definitely worth doing. I haven't had any problems. There is limited tracking available, which some sellers complain about and they won't ship w/o doing it the most expensive way to make sure there is tracking. I haven't had to do this. You can't get insurance from Post Office, but there are co. that will insure int'l packages that are shipped from Post Office.
4. Biggest mistake-not measuring the box right for int'l package. Thought it could go 1st class (under 4lbs and box less than 36in in girth), but it needed to go Priority.
5. I sell in a secure environment. No need to check refs.
6. Depends on the item.
7. I ship within 2 days of receiving payment. Quick ship is always appreciated and keeps customers happy and returning. If someone only ships once a week, I am unlikely to buy from them.
8. I love Paypal. Never had a problem. I transfer money right into my bank acct and it is there within 2 days. I think their fee is reasonable. I used to have a credit card machine with my last business and the fees higher than Paypal.
9. I just drop packages at P.O. I never have to stand in lines, because I already have the paid label attached. I just drop it in the package slot. I don't really trust that my mailman will get it there before the last shipping time. And there is too much room for error. I just cut out the middle man. Right now I stricly use Etsy, but it is just for handmade items. I have used ebay, but when they jacked up their fees, I looked for another avenue. Selling on ebay was quicker than Etsy, if using the Auction style vs. Buy It Now. But sometimes your items will go for a lot less than you want.

Alrunia said...

I live in Europe so the technicalities are a bit different for me, but I hope this helps anyway :D

1. I always include costs of packaging, envelopes and such. I recycle boxes when I can.

2. Nope, depends on the kind of shipping.

3. If it's something I'm selling, I only ship overseas when it's an item I -know- won't sell locally, like an action figure or some obscure collectible. For trades I do ship overseas obviously. Also if I was selling a prized doll from my collection I'd certainly ship overseas just to make sure she ends up in a good home and not broken in the hands of some slobbering kid :s

4. None so far, knock on wood :P

5. Don't really sell outside of Ebay and another, local auction service.

6. Padded envelopes whenever possible, the price difference is enormous over here. Same size and weight item is up to 4 times more expensive if it's a box. (box inside envelope counts as envelope so ha.)

7. No, I always ship the same or the next day after I receive payment.

8. I never had the chance (nor need) to try out any alternative to Paypal.

9. No option to ship from home over here :P

10. I use Ebay and as mentioned another, local auction site. The local one's (it's basically an Ebay knockoff) numerous shortcomings really make me appreciate how easy, quick and streamlined selling on Ebay is.

Ms. Leo said...

Thanks Alrunia, LGM and Vanessa for your comments. I will post my full answers later but on the few points I have some questions/observation to put out there. First, I find that people always think that shipping costs are too high when often they are not. Shipping doll related items in a padded envelope is great for things that are soft (like clothing), under 11&1/2 inches (Ken and other dolls are taller), and things that aren't rigid. Longer or more rigid items tend to poke through and get damaged in transit in a padded envelope even if marked fragile. Some store will give you boxes for free but few have free padded envelopes. So they are a cost in time, gas, and item cost.

I have recently read on a blog that Paypal always sides with the buyers and refunds if there aren’t tracking on the item. After reading that, I revised my items to cover that. This limits you to priory shipping as the only way to get tracking and prove tracking (or so the clerk in the P.O tells me).This is key point when shipping overseas, that some often keep the money and the item when it finally arrives.

I have recently gone back to selling items. You basic confirmation stateside is 80 cents. Previously, I found that the measuring of the box size on the P.O. site more cumbersome that taking it to the post office and have them give me the price (could be I’m lazy too) and maybe I thought it was cheaper then because I wasn’t asking for confirmation then.
Finally, (1)it sounds like many of you are putting your shipping cost, tape labels, etc into the cost of the item and not the true cost of shipping. If so, my accounting professor would circle that in red! (2)Does raising either cost (product or shipping) to cover the cost of shipping reduce sales? These are all questions I putting out there.

Vanessa said...

1) you can get int'l and domestic insurance at They are nicely priced. Cheaper than the P.O.
2) if you ship regular without insurance, there is some tracking with your "custom form" number. It won't track it all the way there, but it proves that you shipped it.
3) on ebay, if the customer feels the shipping is too high, they will mark you down on your shipping feedback, which could affect future sales.
4) I have personally never had a problem. I sold on ebay for about 4 yrs and I've been selling on Etsy for over a year.
5) I don't put cost of shipping in the price of the product. I put it in the shipping costs. But using free boxes, and free packing material, keeps the cost very low. Shipping tape, computer paper (to print labels) and printer ink, are the only things I worry about. And that is less than .50 per shipment. As for gas, my P.O. is 2 miles from the house. The P.O. is always a drive by on my way to some other destination. So I don't have to pass this on to my buyers.
6) if your product is unique people will buy it, if they want it, based on what they feel is a fair price. I personally will pay a higher price for a product that I can't just get anywhere. Now if the person has jacked the shipping up to something ridiculous, I won't buy it because I feel the person is somehow dishonest, and I loose trust in the seller.

When the product is something that may be sold by a few different sellers, I do a cost comparison. Shipping costs definitely play a role in my decision. And sellers that combine shipping costs are a definite plus!

Paulette said...

Dear Ms. Leo,
Thank you for opening such a useful discussion and thanks to the respondents for the information. My New Year's Resolution is to sell something on-line so I will definitely be using these tips.