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eBay Says Sellers Can Offer Free Shipping without a Big Risk

eBay
eBay Says Sellers Can Offer Free Shipping without a Big Risk

eBay issued an announcement urging sellers to offer free shipping, telling them it’s “almost a must-have,” and telling them they can implement it “without taking a big risk.”

While the model works for many sellers, many others say its impractical or too costly for the types of goods they sell.

eBay acknowledged that “every seller’s situation is different,” but said the long-term payoffs are worth it. One suggestion it made for the faint of heart: “set a threshold and only offer free shipping on orders over a certain dollar amount.”

eBay cited four studies to make the case for offering free shipping. You can read the announcement on the eBay announcement board.

In a separate announcement yesterday, eBay said it would begin limiting shipping options offered by sellers on listing pages and checkout – learn more and leave a comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

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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.

7 thoughts on “eBay Says Sellers Can Offer Free Shipping without a Big Risk”

  1. Ive done both types of shipping and neither has done much to change the way Ebay screws you over in search LOL

    You can offer free shipping and returns all day long but unles syou are from china or a big box retailer, your items wont be seen very often

  2. Everyone knows there’s no such thing as “Free Shipping”. eBay pushes this as a gimmick to buyers and it’s the sellers that pay all the shipping costs because eBay owns and ships nothing. But the #1 REASON they push “Free Shipping” is so they can inflate their GMV numbers and that’s a fact. So you can bet this announcement is another scheme by eBay trying to show better GMV numbers than what they actually have. Much of their GMV is shipping costs paid by the sellers! See examples below. Anyone that sells on eBay or has in the past knows this to be true.

    Example 1: $10 sale with Free Shipping, eBay counts this as a $10 sale and $10 toward their GMV.
    Example 2: $7 sale with $3 shipping (same $10 total), but eBay can only count that as a $7 sale and $7 toward their GMV.

    THAT is the reason they push Free Shipping. $Millions ($Billions?) of their GMV is shipping costs paid by the sellers. eBay has no part in the shipping game and they still use these numbers to falsely inflate their GMV. And because of that it should be considered fraud on eBay’s part. But who is listening?

  3. Free Shipping is a choice by the seller depending on their business. It is easy for some to factor free shipping but for others, nigh impossible.

    They are pulling all the stops out to get sales but it’s not going to happen. Too many have left. People are not buying unless it’s 2 cents on the dollar. Even in Jewelry, top quality platinum and diamond rings are going for a song. They’re not on the other sites. Wenig has totally lost it.

  4. Josh Silverman has lost it, too. Etsy has been pushing the free shipping thing, too — even going so far as to offer it to shoppers sitewide, expecting sellers to front them the discount and wait to be reimbursed by Etsy. Funny how sales didn’t improve one bit. They never have when offering free shipping. If I’ve noticed any trend, sales actually decrease when offering free shipping.

    While Etsy makes their 5% commission on shipping now, I guess it does improve their bottom line if a seller is accounting for the highest cost of shipping in their price. Of course, knowing how greedy these sites have become, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s their only incentive.

  5. I tried “free” shipping for a short time, but I had to raise the price of my items to compensate. That resulted in my items being more expensive than I wanted to list them for. I also prefer separating the shipping costs because if someone buys multiple items, it’s easy (and easier for my financial records) to just refund the shipping cost overage from what the buyer paid. And since when is “free” shipping a ‘must-have’? I know that unless I purchase from Amazon (Prime member) or hit a certain plateau on some other sites, the shipping cost is going to be added. Devin is totally clueless when it comes ecommerce.

  6. Free shipping is NOT a ‘must have’ – in fact, online retailers are starting to limit free shipping to threshold, and getting rid of free returns.

    Come on, eBay, keep up!

  7. I’ve offered a combined shipping discount for almost as long as I’ve sold as a business on eBay. It’s never been triggered. It’s difficult to get people to buy multiple items when they’re priced over $20 and being limited to 50 different offerings per month doesn’t help either.

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