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eBay Issues Guidance on USPS Rate Hike

eBay offered advice to sellers who are dealing with higher shipping costs. As the Postal Service rate hike for shipping services takes effect on Sunday, eBay said it has negotiated rates with the USPS that will save sellers up to 25% over retail rates on domestic shipping.

However, the marketplace warned, the only way to get the savings is to use eBay labels for printing postage. High-volume sellers (those who ship more than 300 packages per month) and eBay Top Rated sellers will receive greater savings than regular sellers.

eBay published a chart comparing the current average retail rate for USPS services versus the increased rates going into effect shortly for both eBay Top Rated sellers (eTRS) and non-eTRS sellers.

Readers should note that the USPS offers Commercial Base and Commercial Plus discounts through online shipping services that are lower than the retail rates published in eBay’s charts.

As far as preparing for the changeover, eBay said sellers who use calculated shipping need only make sure their listings have accurate package weights and measurements – when the rates change on January 17, eBay promised that listings with calculated shipping would automatically reflect the new shipping costs.

eBay advised sellers who offer flat-rate shipping to consider raising their shipping charges if they wished to maintain the same profit level. Likewise, it advised sellers who offer free shipping to consider raising prices.

eBay offered additional advice to sellers who wished to edit their shipping costs:

  • “Use the bulk editor to adjust shipping costs.”
  • “If you sell many similar items, and want to make the same edits to all items, choose to “edit listings in bulk” and apply the shipping cost changes in one fell swoop.”
  • “If you sell lots of different items with lots of variety in shipping costs, choose “edit listings individually” and make the changes to each item. Or, this may be simpler: knowing that the average USPS shipping cost is increasing by 9.5%, simply add 9.5% to each shipping cost across the board, using the bulk editor.”

eBay also advised sellers who frequently ship items that fall between 13 and 16 oz. to use First Class (aka First Class Package Service or FCPS). “This service will save you money over higher priced options like Priority Mail. Best of all, tracking is included.”

The company will hold two Facebook chat sessions with the eBay Shipping Team. The first session will take place on this Facebook page on January 14, 2016 at 9 am PT where Nate Heyward, eBay’s Senior Manager of Carrier Relationships, will answer questions from sellers.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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 ina@ecommercebytes.com.