For each of their listings, sellers must decide policies around payments, shipping, and returns. In today’s column, Don Heiden, aka the Auction Professor, explains how eBay’s Business Policies helps sellers save time through automation, which is especially helpful with the increasing frequency of USPS rate changes.
There is one thing that I have learned over the years that has saved me more time, saved me from numerous headaches, and that is automating everything you can. Why waste your valuable time on something you can have done for you? Automation is the simple act of turning on a feature and allowing it to do its thing, so that you do not have to.
Luckily, eBay offers many automation options which can make your reselling life far easier. Do you struggle to leave buyers feedback in a timely manner? or at all? Why not just automate it? If you turn on eBay’s feedback automation feature, you will not have to leave feedback again.
eBay has been offering automation options for years and keeps adding new ones. When you setup a sales event and markdown, you are creating an automation that will place selected items in your store on sale.
The most important one, though, to me, is a store’s shipping policies that can be found in the Hub within the Business Policies section (bottom left of the Listings tab).
When you setup a shipping policy, you have several options to choose from. Some sellers will decide that free shipping is the best, while others will do calculated shipping costs. The option chosen is usually based on what types of items you are selling.
Clothing sellers are more prone to choose free shipping, in order to be competitive, while collectible sellers will mostly choose calculated shipping. I have used the later for a decade and have found that to be the best option for my store.
The biggest reason I use it: the United States Postal Service. The Post Office in the past few years has been constantly increasing rates, which can cause major headaches for many resellers.
Sellers who have chosen to ship either flat rate or offer free shipping will have to constantly change their shipping costs or item prices, to compensate for any postal increases. Without adjusting your costs, any postal increase would automatically cut into your profits if it was not altered.
The frequency of postal changes has drastically increased, which means many sellers will be spending far more time messing with shipping costs and item prices.
To avoid any of the headaches of shipping changes by the Post Office, I simply set all of my listings to calculated shipping, and I have not had to adjust a thing when the prices change. With calculated shipping, all I have to do is set the weight of the item and size of the box needed to ship it, and eBay will automatically calculate the appropriate shipping costs.
I have not had to alter a single listing in years by using this option. When shipping prices change, it simply automatically updates everything for me. It is a simple feature that is very easy to setup and use. It is also easy to change whenever you wish.
Another huge benefit of using any of eBay’s Business Policies is that you can easily change a policy for every single item in your store in just a matter of minutes. When Germany’s new Packaging Act (VerpackG) started, I was able to change my options to that country for all 30,000 items in my main store in about five minutes.
Also included in eBay’s Business Policies are options to set up a return and payment policy, which I would also recommend using. These two options will automate all of your payments, as well as any returns you may have.
With eBay’s Payment Policies, you can easily add new options whenever they become available. One that most sellers use is to require immediate payment for Buy It Now purchases, which can easily be turned on and off with Payment Policies.
Return policies can be just as useful. eBay even allows a seller to set up different domestic and international return policies. A seller can create as many different policies to satisfy their needs.
One more thing to think about is that you only have to set up a policy once, and you can always change or alter them at will. I use nearly every automation policy eBay offers, and I can say (without a doubt) that they have all saved me a great deal of time, effort, and headaches.
eBay is not the only site to offer automation either. Most sites now offer some form of automation to help a seller and help simplify their job load. There are even third-party applications that can add automation options that are not available from your chosen selling platform.
So, if you are not taking advantage of these truly helpful automations, you are doing yourself and your business a disservice. Why do all the extra work yourself when you can have eBay do it for you?
Link to eBay Business Policies help page.