eBay accidentally published information about a new shipping option it will roll out called eBay Standard Envelope that is suitable for ephemera.
It's a solution sellers have been seeking when shipping lightweight items such as stamps and postcards, though eBay will restrict the categories for which it can be used (it will start with trading cards with a total value of under $20).
At 75 cents, it's more expensive than mailing an item with a First Class 55-cent stamp, but it offers tracking, which is required by eBay in order for sellers to receive certain protections when claims arise.
eBay described the option as "the lower cost way to ship small, lightweight items with tracking included."
"eBay standard envelope is more affordable than using USPS First Class Package Service. Plus, with integrated tracking and shipping protection it’s more secure than shipping with a stamp and can help improve your Seller Ratings."
eBay removed the page describing the new postal option on Wednesday afternoon after sellers inquired about it during the company's weekly chat session. A member of eBay's shipping team said it had inadvertently published that page too early in its excitement to get the refresh of the shipping section in Seller Center live.
"Standard envelope is not quite ready yet," she wrote
, "but we'll certainly be letting sellers know when it is! In the meantime, I apologize for my mistake and pull back on that spoiler alert."
The forthcoming eBay Standard Envelope service has quite a few restrictions. Once it rolls out, it will only be available to sellers shipping raw trading cards with a total value under $20, and sellers must purchase postage through eBay Labels. It also has restrictions around weight and envelope size and thickness:
- No smaller than 3.5” x 5”
- No larger than 6.125” x 11.5”
- No thicker than .25”
- Weighs up to 3 oz.
- Total trading card value less than $20
- Ship no more than 4 raw trading cards per envelope (or 2 trading cards with top loaders)
- No graded trading cards
Sellers will be able to drop off Standard Envelopes at regular USPS locations.* The eBay employee didn't say when the new option would become available to sellers, nor did she give any indication of a timeline for expanding eligible categories.
It's possible the USPS is planning to make the Standard Envelope option more widely available, though it could be testing it on eBay first. Let us know what you think.
*A USPS spokesperson told us on November 9th, "The eBay Standard Envelope is not a USPS product."