Effective January 17, 2016 the new postage rates are in effect.
eBay sellers hopefully you have started editing your listings and calculating what impact the new postage rates mean for you. If you use calculated shipping rates in your listings, you really have nothing to do, unless you want to change some of your lighter weight items that are between 13 ounces and 15.99 ounces to first class. This will save the buyer money on the shipping over the previous Priority Shipping. What this means for me because I plan on using the new first class rates even on free shipping items, is that I am re-weighing my items to be sure which items fit in this category. I will also offer an upgrade to Priority that the buyer pays for.
If you have free shipping, you may need to add the increase in postage to your price. Remember the object of selling on eBay is to make money. With the new pricing, you'll find the additional postage cutting into your profit.
Don't forget about FedEx and UPS. Even though they use dimensional weights, there are times when they may be less expensive than USPS for your shipping needs. Always make the comparison between all available shipping carriers.
Parcel Select versus Priority
It still seems even more evident that with the new pricing structure that shipping Priority is actually cheaper than Parcel Select IF you print your labels through eBay. If you are a Top Rated Seller (TRS) this is even a more noticeable difference. As a TRS you will be paying the Commercial Plus Rates. If you are still working on becoming a TRS, you will pay the Commercial Base Price. If you use Stamps the rate you receive will be the Commercial Base Pricing. Be sure and check your postage provider to be sure they offer the Commercial Base Pricing. If they don't or if you go directly to USPS to print your labels, you will be paying the Retail Rates.
Below is the Parcel Select Rate Chart. You can see for yourself the higher prices and because it is parcel select, it will always take longer for the package to reach the customer, many times up to 9 or 10 days.
Weight Not Over (Lbs)
1 & 2
For easy comparson below is the Prioirty (both Commercial Base and Commercial Plus) so you can see for yourself the difference.
Are you ready for the Postage Increase On January 17th eBay Sellers?
In Part 1 I covered the first class postage changes. Moving right along, this post will cover the domestic Priority Changes that go into effect on Sunday.
Thanks to the eBay for Business Facebook, Nate Heyward, eBay's Senior Manager of Carrier Relationships and Audrey Cox Tracy for being available to answer the multitude of questions about how the USPS rate change will impact eBay sellers. You can read "Savings From The US Postal Service" and learn exactly what eBay has worked out for its sellers.
I definitely suggest you take a look at your listings and plan your strategy going forward with these updates. Your buyer doesn't want to spend more and neither do you. I wouldn't put this off too long, unless you have all calculated shipping. Even if you use calculated for all of your items, you want to take a look and compare the larger sized items that are heavier. These are some changes that can save you from a distaster. For example if you have a heavy, bulky item and it is going across the country, it may make more sense to offer FedEx and UPS in addition to USPS to save a sale and keep a happy customer.
It was confirmed by Nate Heyward that the automatic insurance will stay the same for Priority (Domestic) Mail. It will remain at $50 for non-eTRS and $100.00 for eTRS.
Priority Mail (Domestic)
The table below shows the Flat Rate Pricing effective on January 17, 2016 for Domestic Shipments. You want to become familiar with these prices so you can go in and edit your listings. The last thing any seller wants is to cut into profits to pay extra postage.
Non-eTRS (Commercial Base)
eTRS (Commercial Plus)
Flat Rate Envelope
Legal Flat Rate Envelope
Padded Flat Rate Envelope
Small Flat Rate Box
Medium Flat Rate Box
Large Flat Rate Box
This table shows the Regional Rate Boxes (Domestic) Increase Per Zone
1 & 2
Discontinued effective January 17, 2016
Priority Rates (Domestic) Up to 5 pounds and Zone 4
The reason I chose to post this table is, as you can see, the higher the weight and the further the zone, the more the increase in the rates. Above these I think that Flat Rate or Regional Rate is going to become the go to shipping method. Of course you always want to check the other carriers, FedEx and UPS. Depending on the dimensions of your packages and the weight, these can actually save you money. Make it a habit to always compare the different service providers to see where you will get the best rate.
You can download the excel sheets for each class and zone from USPS site here.
Up to (lbs)
1 & 2
Change from 2015
As you can see by the chart below, the prices go up pretty substantially. The full rate chart is available at http://1.usa.gov/1l7sOF4
These are the Priority Commercial Plus Rates (TRS)
What does mean for an eBay Seller? It's time again to adjust your listing shipping costs. If you offer free shipping you want to be sure to adjust your price to cover the new shipping rates that go into effect on January 17.
eBay has negotiated a discount for all sellers. If you are not a Top Rated Seller (TRS) you will see Commercial Base Pricing when you print your labels through eBay. If you are a Top Rated Seller you will see Commercial Plus Pricing when you print your label. One more reason it's so important to strive to remain a TRS.
First Class Packages will all be the same rates - Commercial Plus has been moved to Commercial Base and everyone will get the same pricing. There are actually some welcome changes the first class package rates. Yes, they are in general going up, but first class will be available for packages up to 15.99 ounces for everyone. That along is a nice savings for seller and buyer.
First Class Package Rates
A Picture Says 1,000 Words!
I've shared this infographic from Endicia with a comparison of USPS new rates versus FedEx versus UPS. Those rates went up as well. You'll see that USPS is still a great bargain, all things considered and especially for those light weight items. If there is a positive take-away, it's that all sellers are affected equally on every platform.
Let's face it, the Holidays are just plain stressful. It doesn't matter if you are an online seller or if you are shopping for the Holidays. Patience is a virtue that seems to get shorter during the busy season of hustling and bustling to make sure that the Holiday season is perfect for you, your family, and your friends. It's a time of late nights of wrapping, baking, and most likely includes shopping.
Studies show that the percentage of online shoppers is growing which means if you are an eBay or any online seller, you are benefiting from this trend. It also means that you are busy, much busier than you are any other time of the year. As demand rises times decreases. As time decreases it seems that tolerance for stressed buyers decreases as well.
If you find yourself losing patience or getting a little snarky to your customers, your family, or your friends take a minute to breathe! That's right breathe, a full deep breath and slowly release. On the exhale feel the stress, or at least some of it leaving.
If you're at the computer replying to a frazzled or difficult customer, get up and walk away before you respond. It's time for a break. Take a short walk, have a cup of tea, start a load of laundry, or water the plants. Why? Sometimes doing something normal is just what you need to remove the edge and in a few minutes you can return to the task and respond professionally adding a hint of humanity to your response. Remember, we all make mistakes, customers and sellers alike. Life is happening in addition to the Holiday frenzy. There are sick kids, sick parents, accidents, loss of income, soccer, and basketball, and band. Learn that it's okay to say No and actually do it. You do not need to be at everyone's beck and call at the expense of your own sanity.
It's easy to get busy and forget that human element, but it's not wise to do so. Just as you are stressed, so is most everyone around you that you come into contact with in real life and virtually. Just remembering this can ease your stress and help you be the best seller possible.
It is a necessity that you schedule time off to recharge and regroup. Whether it is for the school pageant or just a quiet dinner taking time away is imperative for you and your business.
Here is a short list of some de-stressing activities that may help make the Holiday season a little less stressful:
Cook a homecooked meal from scratch. Take the entire afternoon to do this if needed.
Plan and execute a craft project with the kids or with a group of friends.
Bake Christmas cookies or have a cookie exchange party with a group of friends.
Take a long leisurely walk and just window shop in a favorite shopping area or mall.
Take an evening off for dinner and a show or even a movie.
Head to the park with the kids and the dog for an afternoon of play. It's okay if it's cold, bundle up and have fun.
Read a book.
Visit a friend who you haven't seen in ages.
Spend an afternoon pampering yourself - you deserve it.
The most important thing is to remember to do what you like! That hour or even a day away is going to make the tasks look so much more inviting and easier to tackle when you are relaxed and stress free.
As today is Black Friday I thought it would be a great day to feature a very dear friend, eBay seller, and leader extraordinaire! I'm talking about Kathy Terrill of course Owner and Operator of NYC Fitness, Family, and Finds on eBay featuring the best selection of items chosen just for your from the shopping mecca that is New York City. From Fashion and Accessories to Mugs from NYC and everything in between. Promotions are running this weekend so it's a great time to pick up those gifts for those hard to buy for people on your list (or even for yourself).
Kathy is not only an eBay seller, but has also been a featured speaker at various eBay events, John Lawson's Boot Camp, and her latest presentation was at eCom Chicago! She's a whirlwind of knowledge and energy and eagerly shares this knowledge with everyone!
In addition to the public speaking events, Kathy shares on a daily basis in her Facebook Groups where everyone is an equal and everyone has something to give back to the group, hard working groups that I am proud to be a part of and share the administrative responsibilities with 8 others. If you're looking for a place to learn and grow your eBay business, check out eBay Stores Nothing But eBay Stores on Facebook. This group is only for eBay Store Sellers! The beginner or basic group is eBay Selling Basics Nothing But Basics. If you're just starting out on eBay or even if you have been selling a while but haven't jumped into a store, this is the group for you! Both of these groups are drama free and hard-working groups for those who are ready to not only grow, but to share knowledge.
Now that we are into the fourth quarter and gearing up for Holiday sales it's more important than ever to be make sure your have a list, a plan, and a schedule that works. Hopefully by now you have:
Checked and double checked your inventory.
Stocked up with new inventory.
Have taken stock of your shipping supplies and ordered as necessary. There's nothing worse than needing three Flat Rate Padded Envelopes only to discover you only have 2 left. In case you don't know, if you call your order in, you can order these by the box of 100. Can you tell these are most used shipping container? As we get closer to the Holidays the shipping time extends for supply delivery, so be sure to do this early.
Don't forget the tissue paper, bubble wrap, the peanuts, and of course labels.
Are you stocked up on business cards or postcards? Now is the time.
Is your inventory organized? You will save countless hours if you have everything organized. Grab it, pack it, and ship it. Have you ever spent excess time looking for something that sold? How many listings could you have finished in that time?
Do you have a schedule that you adhere to, as closely as possible? When you plan your day such as shipping time, listing time, social marketing, etc. you can save a lot of time, possibly hours a day. Of course in this business and especially when you work for yourself and at home, life happens along the way. Those unexpected visitors, phone calls, sick kids, or sick parents. Having a system of organization, including your time will keep things running smoothly even when life happens.
Is your eBay store organized? Are you getting the traffic as expected. Key areas to look at are your header/banner. Do you have a Holiday banner? Does your description mention Holiday items? Is it filled with keywords written in a friendly, welcoming, and professional way?
Take a look at this video below that Kathy Terrill presented last week. In it she covers all of the key areas that you need to not only pay attention to, but if you're like most of us, make some changes to in order to welcome your buyers and be found in searches to bring more traffic.