eBay Sellers Concerned over Shipping Rate Changes, According to Survey
By Ina Steiner
Seventy-seven percent of eBay and online sellers are concerned about higher shipping costs when new USPS rates go into effect in May, and 26 percent are concerned that postal tools they use may not be ready when the changes go into effect, according to a recent AuctionBytes survey.
Postal rates are going up in the United States on May 14, 2007, and will have a significant effect on online sellers (http://www.usps.com/ratecase). AuctionBytes surveyed readers to find out what they thought of the changes and how it would affect their business.
Most respondents reported they sell on eBay (98 percent); 21 percent sell on Amazon, 17 percent sell on Half.com, and 23 percent sell on their own ecommerce site or storefront. Other sites included Yahoo, other online auction sites, bookselling sites, classified sites, online antiques malls, and other.
Eighty-four percent of survey respondents were aware that US postal rates were changing on May 14th. The majority of respondents (68 percent) said the changes would have a net increase on their total postal costs, and 20 percent did not know how the new rates would affect their total postal costs. Ten percent said the new rates would not have an effect on their total postal costs, and 3 percent said the new rates would have a net decrease on their total postal costs.
In a question about which postal tools they used, 73 percent of respondents said they use eBay/PayPal postal tools; 18 percent use Endicia; 7 percent use Stamps.com; 5 percent use features provided by auction-management vendors; 4 percent use Pitney Bowes; 2 percent use Dymo; and 20 percent use other tools.
Half of the respondents (51 percent) use automated tools to help shoppers calculate postage costs on their items, but 55 percent did not know if those tools would calculate the new rates when they go into effect; 35 percent said the tools would calculate the new postal rates, and 10 percent said they would not.
Twenty-nine percent of respondents were concerned that current listings scheduled to end after May 14 would have old shipping rates, and they would lose money on those orders since they would have to ship at the new rates.
In a question specifically targeted at Media Sellers, 30 percent said they don't use USPS Media Mail, and 26 percent said they did not know what the new Media Mail rates were going to be. Twenty-one percent said they would need to raise prices on their inventory and/or eliminate low-margin items; four percent said they would stop selling inexpensive items that they had been sending out via USPS Media Mail; four percent said they would consider changing carriers as a result of the new USPS Media Mail rates. And 15 percent of Media sellers did not know how the new media rates would affect their business.
Full results for the survey can be found here: http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/pages/survey_04152007
Survey respondents were brought to the AuctionBytes blog after completing the survey, and many left a comment about shipping issues. Please feel free to leave your own comments about the survey results: http://digbig.com/4sdbt
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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