Continuing with my series of posts about selling on eBay, let’s look at shipping the items that you sell. This post is a little out of order in the series, but I am getting a lot of questions about shipping, and I’ve promised to make a post about it ASAP. I had really wanted to go in chronological order with my posts, kind of a step by step process, and shipping is one of the last steps in selling on eBay, but I hear my readers, and they want to hear about shipping!
Keep in mind that I live in the Philippines, and I like selling things to people in America, so my shipping variables are a little unique. A lot of my readers also either live in the Philippines, or want to move here and consider eBay as one of their options for earning money while living here. So, if you live in the same country where you are planning to ship to, many parts of this particular post won’t really apply to you.
At the time that I was really active in selling on eBay, eBay Philippines did not exist, or was just getting started at the end of my selling days. Because of this (and for other reasons that I will cover in a later post) I was selling on the American eBay site, and primarily shipping goods to people in the USA. Of course, eBay is a worldwide site for buyers and sellers to meet, but the USA was my primary target for buyers of my goods. So, the first thing that I had to figure out was about shipping goods half way around the world to my customers. As a matter of fact, at first, I decided not to even sell on eBay because of the shipping problem. But, my wife convinced me to give it a try, and I’m glad that she did!
Yes, shipping from half way around the world is expensive! But, the thing to keep in mind is that the buyer pays shipping charges. You list the item for sale, include information about how much the shipping will cost, and let the buyer decide if he is willing to pay that amount. It’s that simple. If he won’t pay that amount for shipping, he won’t buy. If he buys the item that means that he agrees to pay the shipping charge, and you have nothing to worry about.
The only problem with this is that when the buyer sees the high shipping charge, often times he won’t buy from you. Some people will, though. The problem is that the high shipping charge will make your pool of potential customers smaller, which in turn will mean that fewer people will be bidding on your auction. Fewer people bidding will inevitably mean a lower final price for your item. Even so, you can still earn money! This is just a fact of life, and you must accept it. Since you will still earn a profit, even if it’s a bit smaller than people in the USA or wherever, there is still good reason to pursue the business, right? Keep another thing in mind – being in the Philippines gives you a chance to find items that may be unique on eBay. If you have an item that is not available from other sellers, and it’s an item that buyers want, you can get away with a higher shipping price, since there is nobody else that the buyer can get it from.
I do know a little trick when it comes to shipping price that you may want to consider. Remember that you don’t have to charge the same amount for shipping as what you are paying. Just as an example, let’s say that you’ve found an item that you can buy for $1.00 here in the Philippines (converted from Pesos). Let’s say that the item can bring $20 when you sell it on eBay. Let’s say that it will cost $5 to ship the item. If you were just going to go straightforward, you could offer the item for $17.99 or so, with $5 shipping charge. Well, instead, you could offer the item for a little more on the price, but less for shipping. Let’s say you offered it for $21.99 with shipping of $3, in that case you’d make even more, while offering a low shipping charge. You have to pay more for shipping than you are charging, but you are making a killing on the item itself!
Another strategy you could employ is selling things that you don’t have to physically ship. For example, let’s say that you are a real expert on something. You could write up reports, or an e-book about the subject that you are an expert on. When people buy that e-book, you just e-mail it to them, or they can download it from your website. Shipping doesn’t cost you a centavo, you don’t have to charge any shipping, etc. The whole hassle of shipping is gone from the equation. In addition to reports or e-books, I have known people who have sold things like recipes for Filipino foods and such on eBay and delivered them by e-mail. You won’t make a ton of money selling things like recipes, but you can make a little side income with such items, and you don’t have to worry about shipping anything at all.
For most common items, I generally used the post office for my shipping needs. PhilPost offers a service called EMS shipping, which is a trackable method of shipping. It is more expensive, but the tracking makes it worthwhile. Being able to give your customer a tracking number that he can check on the web gives you credibility, and also makes for less hassle for you. Instead of your customer e-mailing you all the time asking where his package is, all he has to do is to go to the Internet site, look up his package and he will have all the information that he needs.
For larger and more valuable items, consider using a courier company like FedEx, UPS, DHL or another such company. It is more expensive to use, but for an item of high value your customer will be willing to pay a premium shipping price if the item is better handled that what you’d get from the postal service.
So, these are all options that you can consider when selling on eBay and shipping worldwide. Shipping from the Philippines is more costly, and there are some hassles involved, but it doesn’t need to stop you from making a good living selling on eBay.