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Tue Mar 6 2018 16:10:57

Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons

By: Bob

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Happy anniversary! It's been nearly 2 years since eBay began providing sellers who opened Stores a coupon for free, eBay-branded shipping supplies. AuctionBytes Blogger Bob takes a look at the program and how significant a perk it is for online sellers. Let him know if you agree!

For all their glitches and mess-ups eBay gets kicked around more than a tin can in a school yard. So, when they do something right they should get a gold star on their forehead.

We're approaching the second-year anniversary (April 5, 2016) of eBay's announcement that they were going to offer "free" shipping supplies to many of its storekeepers. The higher the store level, the more of these supplies one can get. Basic store owners get a $25 coupon every 3 months, Premium get a $50 coupon, and Anchor stores get a $150 coupon (and it can be kind of fun trying to match or stay under that $150 in a "The Price is Right" gameshow way). 

While not everyone will ever be completely satisfied with their styles and sizes, there are a pretty good selection of boxes, envelopes and several odd items like tape, stickers and wrapping paper. Prices are a little high. Quality is a little low. But overall nothing too outrageous.

There have been a few bumps in this virtual road. Their larger boxes (most now seemingly discontinued) were a good fit for bigger items, but were too flimsy for the potential weight (great for selling pillow pairs but not much else). And their "special" sealing tapes for the Holiday sales were so gaudy they could outshine the White House Christmas tree (eBay marketed these as "limited editions," for which we can all be thankful).

Regardless, the concept was really brilliant and harkened back to the days when eBay was the leader in online sales. 

First, the supplies are promoted as "freebies" for larger sellers. So, store owners get a little bit of their outrageous store fees back (did I say outrageous?). And those sellers' customers get the benefit of their items arriving in spiffy packing materials. This could give some eBay buyers the false (but comforting) impression that, like some Amazon products, these items were sold, packed and shipped from some professional "Fulfillment" type center - and not by someone working off their kitchen table while dressed in boxer shorts (guilty!).

Anecdotal evidence suggests that eBay buyers like receiving their items in the eBay branded supplies. In short, eBay shipping supplies make higher-volume eBay sellers look more professional. And that is very good for the eBay brand.

Speaking of the eBay brand, another corporate benefit is that these shipping supplies put the eBay name in front of many sellers, multiple times, daily. Likewise, eBay buyers get that facefull when their items arrive. The eBay brand is being overshadowed by the Amazon brand, and these supplies might slow that process down a little.

In fact, eBay must know that many of their larger sellers use multiple sites to sell their items. Do these sellers use eBay supplies when their wares sell on Amazon or Bonanza or Etsy? Occasionally? Probably? Sometimes? Guilty again! 

If you doubt this crossover, go to Amazon and search for eBay shipping supplies where you'll find a brisk secondary market. Some sellers just don't need all of these "freebies" (that one way or another you pay for). This is a way to get the eBay brand name in front of buyers who might automatically go to Amazon to purchase. 

More, the boxes can be recycled and the bags are designed for easy reuse. Some of their bags are marked: "Recycle the fun: use this bag again by becoming a seller." Others read: "Put this bag to good use: Start selling on eBay." Not only are these bags employing an appropriate use of colons, but they encourage the eBay buyer to turn into an eBay seller - if only to clean out a closet bottom or cupboard. And that's how eBay began and grew.

Are all these benefits intentional? Probably not. And while there will always be people who won't give eBay credit for anything (check out the predicted comments below!), this eBay brainchild is a strategic win for the company.

About the Columnist
Bob has been buying and selling online for almost 20 years. Some experts claim that his limited budget was the major cause of the 2001 dot-com crash. He denies the charge.

Note from the editor: Be aware that as part of the recently announced Spring Seller Update, eBay is adding two new Store tiers, as well as raising certain fees.

Comments (31) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons   Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 6 16:39:26 2018

With 5 anchor stores we get 750.00 for supplies. Packing tape is gaudy and smelly and if I wanted to advertise something it would be my business not fleabag. Tissue paper and boxes we don't use and don't need. Stickers and such are a waste and the plastic bags are worthless. So we spend our coupons on 25 cases of the large bubble envelopes.

Those we sell on Fleecebag for about a 10.00 a case profit.

Hey remember ones junk is another ones treasure. Its surprising how many sellers buy these envelopes. We don't use them as we like just the Kraft envelopes which are cheaper and nicer looking.

Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons   Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons

by: jacobsenra This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 6 16:51:52 2018

I use the smaller size boxes and like them.  I have one basic store and one premium store and the coupons pretty much keep up with my small box needs.  The box quality is fine and the light weight means I can almost always ship my small items first class mail which is a big savings over priority.  Overall if I have to pay the store fee this is a useful part of that for me.

Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons   Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Mar 6 17:03:04 2018

I like this perk.  It certainly helps to offset the price of a store.  While I see many of the shipping items that Ebay offers as overpriced, since they are free for me, the price is just right.  The coupon saves me money every month and I like that.

I use the tissue paper, polymailers and the bubble mailers the most.  I got some of their tape when this program started and I still have most of it.  It is terrible tape.  It just doesn't stay put at all.  I don't know if the new tape is better or not.  But the original was terrible.

I think this is a great program and I'm very happy that Ebay continues to offer it.  I think it is good for Ebay and good for its sellers.    

Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons   Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons

by: geoffreymason This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 6 19:32:49 2018

I have had an ebay store for years and have never received such a coupon. That is okay, since I'm very happy with the supplies that I do use that make a classy impression.

Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons   Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons

This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Wed Mar 7 01:23:34 2018

I would never send items out with eBay printed on it. That is why I do not use their shipping labels either. I get Endicia with my Auctiva account or I use my discount postage. If eBay had bubble mailers that did not have eBay on it I would use those though.

Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons   Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Mar 7 03:03:30 2018

@geoffreymason

I think it was only the first time or two they issued these coupons that they actually sent out emails notifying each seller that the coupon was available for use.  They don't do that anymore, you just need to access it from your account.

FOR SELLERS THAT DO NOT USE EBAY SELLER HUB

Go to My eBay
Select Manage My Store under Shortcuts in the left navigation
Select subscriber discounts, under Store Design on the left navigation
Click on the eBay Shipping Supplies Coupon [write down the code or cut & paste].
Then, go to the eBay Shipping Supplies store
Enter coupon code at checkout, and you are done

FOR SELLERS THAT USE EBAY SELLER HUB
Go to eBay Seller Hub
Scroll down to Seller tools
Select Manage Store
The rest is the same as I wrote above.

Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons   Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons

by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 7 03:31:54 2018

I am ALL IN on taking FULL ADVANTAGE of the Large Padded Bubble Mailers and 3 sizes of the boxes.  I have exactly NO QUIBBLES with the quality on those items.  The LARGE bubble mailer is my "favorite" as it is large enough for items that I otherwise would need to put in my #5 Kraft-Paper bubble mailers....with the REASONABLE expectation that the MUCH TOUGHER to tear plastic will protect items inside better than the PAPER style.  See next post as to $ value

Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons   Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons

by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 7 03:49:06 2018

Value $$ . Do NOT stop at trying to EXACTLY use up the $50 (premium) coupon with Little of NO overage.  I should have put that in ALL CAPS as it seems to be NEWS to most everyone else here that there is NO NEED to use ONLY the $50 coupon value.
I merrily EXCEED the $50 value and ZOOM PAST it to spend roughly another $100 of my REAL money, too.  
Why?  As in my previous post I am TOTALLY happy with the quality of the ones I've TESTED and APPROVED.  Given that ON TOP of the $discount this supplier that eBay has authorized also provides PROMPT and efficient FREE shipping on ALL their packaging items.  When I started out selling MOSTLY my own COLLECTION of DVDs/BluRays I purchased ALL of my Kraft-Paper bubble mailers from my nearby Sam's Club.  PAID on the spot and DROVE them home so NO shipping cost. This kept my MAILER cost down around $0.20 as the size 0 proved to be entirely TOO PERFECT for DVD mailing.  TOO PERFECT meaning that it is TOO SNUG a fit on standard DVD cases and NO GO on ones that are even a smidge THICKER.  That 20 pennies "upgraded" me to Size 2 which not only fit just about ALL single movies, but also BOXED sets of TV seasons.
The eBay Logo'd LARGE plastic bubble mailer is even LARGER / WIDER and that fits me just fine as I already OWN my own 110vac Impulse sealer.  I forgo even thinking of using the PERFECTLY NICE gummed sealing strips and IMPULSE HEAT SEAL the "open end" of ALL my mail that goes out in this size mailer.  Why?  Because in that fashion the ENTIRE Bag essentially becomes a PILLOW BAG as ALL of the air is trapped inside.  My previous "Love Affair" with Kraft-paper mailers ENDED when I personally got in SEVERAL such on items I bought from other eBay sellers and found them either WET when I got them or obviously having BEEN WET at some point while in transit.  The HEAT SEALED eBay plastic bubble mailer obviates that problem 99 percent of the time.
As cited above I would MUCH RATHER have 200 of these mailers per quarter and PAY $$ for the ones NOT covered in full by the $50 coupon than get only SOME of them and have to "trudge" back to Sam's to SETTLE for Kraft mailers when/if I were to run out of mailers before running out of DAYS.  For anyone else who sells DVDs or the 8 x 6 x 4 BOX is a Godsend.  Quite reasonable price, strong ENOUGH, and SO Lightweight that I often can mail even a 12 oz SEASON in that box and still be under the new 15.9 oz MAX for First Class Package.  Win - Win. ( It is also GREAT for mailing out Hallmark Christmas Ornaments where the buyer is likely every bit as PICKY about the condition of the Hallmark BOX as they are of the Ornament contained.)

Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons   Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons

by: HappyOne This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 7 06:53:06 2018

After raising store price and giving $25 ''free'' shipping supplies I have used every quarterly allotment plus a little more ($1 -2). Best one for me is the 6x4x4; I have used over 100 of them. Only thing is they have shipped more Etsy sales than Ebay sales. No complaints from Etsy buyers about the color tape covering most of the Ebay graphics.  

Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons   Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons

by: JQ This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 7 09:21:26 2018

I use the eBay mailers and tape but only for items I sell on eBay. Maybe it is just me, but I worry that people who buy my items on other sites, especially Etsy or Bonanza, would in cases not appreciate receiving their package in eBay branded mailers. I know many people shop those sites specifically to get away from eBay, and of course I do not want to alienate them.

One other issue, no one should call these shipping items "free." When eBay started this program they also rose the monthly fee for stores. For basic stores it went up $5 a month, and came with a $25 coupon for shipping supplies. In my estimation the shipping supplies are worth no more than $15 (similar items without eBay branding can be obtained for that price).

So really what eBay did was force sellers to buy eBay branded shipping supplies by rolling their price into the store subscription fees. Then they branded the mandatory purchases as "free" gifts. I suspect if eBay offered sellers the option of either using their $25 coupons, or turning them in for $15 in store subscription reductions, the overwhelming number would take the reduced store fees.

EBay admitted to all the above by explaining that all their changes on the site had to be "revenue neutral." They could not "give a new benefit" (asked for or not) to sellers without taking away something of equal value. The same thing happened when eBay gave out "free" promoted listings coupons with one hand, and took back half the TRS discount with the other hand. EBay does not give anything free, they just charge sellers for the "gifts" in back handed ways and thus force them to support programs eBay wants to implement.  

Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons   Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Mar 7 14:24:13 2018

@JQ

I'd say you have never had to purchase bubble mailers before.  I don't know where you'd get 100 of them at any size for $15.  

Ebay is not "forcing" anyone to do anything in regards to purchasing their branded supplies.  It was then and is now a choice that sellers can make to use the coupon or not.  There are many that do not choose to participate and that is their right.

I only speak for myself, but I would not give up my coupon for supplies in lieu of a $15 credit on my store fee.

Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons   Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons

by: exdwh This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 7 17:46:54 2018

The last batch of 6x4x4 boxes was terrible. The glued seam is almost random with large gaps and a box that is not square. I have some brown tape that someone gave me. I just cover up the slop. The prices are at least 50% higher than if we sourced elsewhere. It's never worth going over your credit. Isopropyl alcohol will remove the printing from the poly mailers.

Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons   Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons

by: lalaland This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 8 01:04:52 2018

Well, big WHOOP!  eBay has 4 different box sizes.  And they aren't that much different.  I can use them for about 2% of the items I ship.

Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons   Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons

by: Paul W This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 8 01:18:53 2018

Much of what I sell fits in the smallest bubble mailer so that I what I get most of.  One thing the ''Shipping Supplies'' store does not offer is mailing labels of any kind, one of which must go on every bubble mailer I get from them.

Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons   Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons

by: smallstuff This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 8 01:23:32 2018

I would prefer a coupon that I can spend on eBay or a discount on the store.  The box I use the most is an 8'' by 8'' by 8'' cube.  ebay Shipping Supplies eliminated all of the cube sizes and they have nothing else works for me.  I would settle for 7''x7''x7'' and I would be willing to pay extra dollars for either size.  So, I am reduced to using my coupon each quarter on stuff I don't really need or use.  I guess I could get some of the 10''x8''x6'' and cut them up for the cardboard that I might be able to use.  I continue to buy most of my boxes at Staples on line with free delivery and use the free post office boxes.  

Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons   Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons

by: Bird Mad This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 8 01:28:01 2018

BUBBLE MAILERS - Did you know, rubbing alcohol will wipe away the eBay logo and printing!!! Quick easy to erase eBay...

Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons   Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons

by: Bird Mad This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 8 01:31:45 2018

If ecommercebytes could send out a reminder to subscribers to claim shipping supplies, it might help more take advantage of their supply credit.

I'm swamped in bubble mailers now that they canned Half.

Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons   Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons

by: Marzy This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Mar 8 03:20:53 2018

Obviously, those people who say they would never send out something with eBay's name on it are not selling on Amazon!  I use my coupon on envelopes and I am 100% happy with the product and program.  Hey, FeelingFroggy, I would like to buy your envelopes for $10, please. (Thank you)

Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons   Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons

by: Bookseller1234 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 8 03:42:10 2018

We in the UK only got the coupons more recently. The choice is a lot more limited.
eBay changed supplier after a few months as the first one they used really messed up.
What really annoyed a lot of UK sellers was that the introduction of coupons coincided with a rise in store subscriptions.
This made it obvious that the packaging wasn't free at, just a way for for eBay to try to force branded packaging on sellers. The packaging is really expensive in terms of the actual pricing, meaning the coupon value is nothing like its face value.
For sellers who can't use the limited range, it was seen as a cynical store price hike.
To show just how little eBay's advertising dept. knows about selling, their advert showed someone packaging an iPad in nothing more than a flimsy bubble mailer.

Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons   Happy Anniversary to eBay Shipping Supply Coupons

by: kvl1 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 8 07:54:40 2018

I also liked the bubble mailers and poly envelopes.  However, they have discontinued the eBay logo and replaced it with a ridiculous tagline in blue lettering:
''Shop like nobody else.
Because you aren't like anyone else.''
I really don't like it at all, so I ordered other supplies with my coupon instead.
@exdwh  and @Bird Mad: I am so happy to hear that rubbing alcohol will remove the printing.  Thank you!

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