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From the Editor – December 9, 2018


The nominations process is now open for the 2019 Sellers Choice Awards. Here’s your chance to have a say in which marketplaces make it into the final cut. Online marketplaces pay strict attention to the feedback they receive in the Sellers Choice awards when they’re handed out each February.

More importantly, readers gain invaluable information about which marketplaces are working well for sellers. We continue to get readers asking about which marketplaces are viable, and those actively selling on a platform are best positioned to provide that information.

Here is a link to the nominations form via Survey Monkey. Nominate your top 5 now so when the polls open next month, you’ll be able to rate the marketplaces you use.

We hear a lot about “free” and fast shipping this time of year, but it’s also the time when merchants are painfully reminded of imminent rate hikes by the major shipping carriers.

UPS finally announced its annual rate increase, giving shippers just 3 weeks to prepare for the 5% average increase that kicks in the day after Christmas. Here are links to the rates from the top three carriers:

UPS announced new rates on December 5th, they will take effect on December 26, 2018. 

FedEx announced new rates on November 5th, they will take effect on January 7, 2019. 

USPS announced new rates on October 10th, they take effect on January 27, 2019 (see our guide from the last issue, “The Online Seller’s Guide to USPS Shipping Rates for 2019“). 

In addition, eBay Canada reminded sellers of higher costs coming next month from Canada Post, and eBay UK informed sellers of a rate hike for “eBay delivery powered by Shutl.”

Remember to review the details, such as changes to services and surcharges. One potentially costly change you may not be aware of: The USPS is expanding DIM Weight pricing – this affects large but lightweight packages.

Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, and Parcel Select packages that are larger than 1 cubic foot (1728 cubic inches) will be subject to DIM Weight pricing going to any zone. Currently, such packages are subject to Dimensional (DIM) Weight pricing only when going to zones 5-9.

The USPS is also changing the DIM Weight divisor from 194 to 166.

ShippingEasy explains Dim Weight in this post on its website where it advised shippers, “This change in calculating shipping for larger packages makes it crucial for merchants shipping larger packages that contain potentially lighter items to optimize packaging. If you can reasonably fit items into a smaller package, you’ll absolutely want to explore your options.”

Etsy sellers are about to learn the hard lesson eBay sellers learned about annual shipping rate hikes: it’s a double whammy, since those marketplaces charge a commission on shipping costs, earning Etsy and eBay automatic fee increases each year without having to announce them.

Higher costs are bad enough one way, but online shoppers are increasingly expecting free return shipping.

That’s why it’s imperative that sellers learn ways to reduce returns whenever possible. In today’s issue, we’ve got some tips on handling the dreaded holiday returns.

We also take a look at Etsy Targeted Offers, a way for sellers to reach shoppers who may be more inclined to purchase their items. It’s a feature for which sellers must pay Etsy, but the marketplace is waiving fees during the holidays through December 31st. Now’s the time to test it if you think it might work for you, but be sure to read all the details on how the program works.

Today’s Collectors Corner takes a look at the Sears Christmas Wish Book, and we end with Letters to the Editor.

Thanks for reading.

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.