Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Mar 9 2014 21:10:16

Seller Pet Peeves: No Shipping Calculators or Combined Shipping

By: Ina Steiner

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Shoppers are very sensitive to shipping and handling costs when perusing online listings and making purchase decisions. Just ask eBay sellers who are rated on shipping costs via Detailed Seller Ratings. Many found that even if they offered free shipping so the buyer paid zero S&H costs, it was difficult to attain a perfect score!

Given the importance of shipping costs, it is hard for sellers to fathom why a marketplace wouldn't offer calculated shipping. eBay does offer a shipping calculator, but Etsy and others do not.

One seller explained how big a problem this is in a post on the Etsy boards last fall:

"Shipping a lamp to Washington state does NOT cost the same as shipping to New York. So why do I have to pick a shipping cost before I know where the customer lives? If they live close, they get screwed and I make a little extra money, if they live in timbucktoo I get screwed unless I over estimate all my shipping costs, which shoppers don't like."

Etsy is aware of the problem, but the new shipping feature it is testing, Price Your Postage, is not a solution. It simply helps sellers look up postage rates without having to leave the Etsy website and does not allow sellers to use calculated shipping in their shops.

In reacting to last week's news of the new test feature, a seller wrote, "I already know how to estimate Shipping using the USPS web site....what we need is a way to price Priority Mail by USA Zones, similar to the "European Regions" option...so we don't have to refund for overcharges, which is so unprofessional."

Combined shipping is another problem that many online marketplaces have failed to tackle successfully. For example, sellers like giving shoppers a reason to buy more than one item, and wish to offer discounted postage for buying multiple items or multiple quantities of the same item.

It's difficult enough for sellers to try and gain shoppers' trust without adding shipping cost complications and the inevitable refunds that arise thanks to inaccurate charges.

Why are these features that seem so basic on an ecommerce website so difficult for online marketplaces to offer? Where do these shipping challenges fall on your list of selling pet peeves, and how do you deal with them?

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Perminate Link for Seller Pet Peeves: No Shipping Calculators or Combined Shipping   Seller Pet Peeves: No Shipping Calculators or Combined Shipping

by: out-of-the-attic-2u This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 10 14:22:04 2014

Why even bother going there ? They didn't perform for their venders, they continue to do their own thing.
We have been asking for calculated shipping and we get this sort of look-a-like-but-nowhere-near it!. Why don't they listen to reasosn and get on with the program. Unhappy camper.
This is just one reason I am not as active as I use to be.

Perminate Link for Seller Pet Peeves: No Shipping Calculators or Combined Shipping   Seller Pet Peeves: No Shipping Calculators or Combined Shipping

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 10 18:47:45 2014

Go to Amazon and buy a lot of cheap penny books. All come with 3.99 shipping no discount. Buy 10 books, you get billed 39.90 plus 10 cents for the books. Those penny books are really 4.00 each regardless if you buy one or 100.  Amazon does not offer discounts. If the seller reduces or refunds part of the shipping, Amazon DOES NOT refund any fees on shipping. They force you to go the FBA route with those. Otherwise you will lose money with just one book purchase.

Perminate Link for Seller Pet Peeves: No Shipping Calculators or Combined Shipping   Seller Pet Peeves: No Shipping Calculators or Combined Shipping

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 10 18:51:06 2014

I really believe you will have more sales with a shipping calculator, especially for heavy items. Ship in the same state - one price - go across country more like $5.00 or more added cost.
Of course you could put everything in flat rate boxes and then charge  your customers that way.  

Perminate Link for Seller Pet Peeves: No Shipping Calculators or Combined Shipping   Seller Pet Peeves: No Shipping Calculators or Combined Shipping

by: spooky This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 10 20:11:39 2014

My Biggest Issue with Sellers on eBay - Hey New Sellers - take the time to learn about the calculated shipping option. Almost every newer seller to the site has NO IDEA about basing shipping by weight and zip code. And I am sure eBay does very little to explain it to them. I have been selling on eBay for 16 years and list everything with calculated shipping. That way someone who lives close to me does not pay the same as Los Angeles. It is the only fair thing to do. I also buy a lot of items on Ebay and I despise it when a seller lists a heavy item with an expensive flat rate same price for all - and I am not talking about the postal flat rate boxes. Quite often I will see a seller list a big clock or panel glass lamp and they quote $70 shipping for all zip codes - even if I live 1 town away!

Perminate Link for Seller Pet Peeves: No Shipping Calculators or Combined Shipping   Seller Pet Peeves: No Shipping Calculators or Combined Shipping

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 10 22:40:46 2014

@SPOOKY---

YEs some sellers appear to have no clue on shipping-BUT if you ASK them what the shipping to YOU will be they should be able to accomodate you even if you live 3000 miles or 3000 yards away.  

@FREDDY---Thank you for pointing out the stooooopid Amazon penny book sales---and their system is even WORSE than ebay's in my book with the inability to SEE what you are paying for until the very end and even then it is hard to figure out what is and is not "Free"  ship and the rest of the bizarre shipping categories.  

Perminate Link for Seller Pet Peeves: No Shipping Calculators or Combined Shipping   Seller Pet Peeves: No Shipping Calculators or Combined Shipping

by: Lois This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 11 07:15:47 2014

I do not find this the tiniest bit useful. I need a method that allows buyers to be able to clearly see their cost for shipping both one item and/or combined items UPFRONT without intervention from me. The concept of my having to list prices for
each zip code, for each county is absolutely ridiculous.

Perminate Link for Seller Pet Peeves: No Shipping Calculators or Combined Shipping   Seller Pet Peeves: No Shipping Calculators or Combined Shipping

by: songe-d-automne This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 11 16:54:47 2014

To me, Etsy's biggest drawback is the shipping feature.

I find myself leaning toward selling things that I can ship via cheap padded flat rate envelopes,

I'd like to expand, but the shipping problems make it difficult. I agree that having to make a refund seems unprofessional and the shipping costs will vary quite a bit across the country.

I am in Mass. It's almost double the cost to ship a 1-2 pound box to California/Washington than to ship to, say, NY/NJ/New England.  

Perminate Link for Seller Pet Peeves: No Shipping Calculators or Combined Shipping   Seller Pet Peeves: No Shipping Calculators or Combined Shipping

by: sickandtired This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 13 09:16:44 2014

The 2  reasons I left Etsy after trying it for over 2 years were lack of sales (didn't have time to participate in the social cliques there which seems to be the only way to get noticed) and NO SHIPPING CALCULATOR.

My items absolutely require that. I list on ebay.ca now instead of .com where I started because of the postage  issue. The Canada Post calculator on my ebay listings works perfectly for single items (multiple item purchases in ebay checkout are totally screwed up, but that is a different conversation).

Any ebay user who is signed in, when looking at my listings sees the postage to his address. Doesn't matter if he is in Canada, US or overseas.  As long as I put in the correct weight and box size and what service type is offered when I create the listing, I'm good.  I could not sell otherwise.

I have been contacting Esty regularly - both while I was on the site and since I left asking when they are going to add a shipping calculator......constant answer is they  have no plans to do so at this point.

I would move off ebay and onto Etsy if they would just wake up and grab the opportunity to attract a huge number of successful, motivated and experienced sellers by making their platform convenient for our needs.

I just about choked when I saw that they are advertising on the Toronto subway system. Potential users seeing the ads will be disappointed if they want to use the site because of the lack of the option of calculated shipping.

If you are a seller of items that are all roughly the same size and weight and can mail small stuff that costs the same to ship regardless of destination you might be ok with setting flat rate postage......that does not apply to sellers of antiques, collectables, glass/china/pottery, etc.  

If ebay where the simplest coding gets screwed up, constantly has glitches or issues that never get really fixed can have a postal calculator that works- at least for single items, then there is no reason Etsy can't do the same.

Perminate Link for Seller Pet Peeves: No Shipping Calculators or Combined Shipping   Seller Pet Peeves: No Shipping Calculators or Combined Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles

Mon Mar 17 09:38:09 2014

About the shipping calculators in eCrater.

As buyer, I saw it works fine for single items.

As seller, I agree that the shipping system in eCrater is complicate and not easy to deal with it. It needs some updates and extra features. But like other members said. If you technically sell the same items. You need to spend some serious minutes with it and with some personal tweaks. It can work.

Perminate Link for Seller Pet Peeves: No Shipping Calculators or Combined Shipping   Seller Pet Peeves: No Shipping Calculators or Combined Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: baconsdozen

Tue Mar 18 07:16:58 2014

I gave up on ecrater because of their hopeless shipping calculator,made much worse as I'm based in the UK.
As ebay rip me off 10% on post and packaging I no longer offer any shipping discounts. Customers for tools who instead purchase from my own web site can and do get a discount even though they are already paying less for the item and the shipping than they would do buying from ebay.

Perminate Link for Seller Pet Peeves: No Shipping Calculators or Combined Shipping   Seller Pet Peeves: No Shipping Calculators or Combined Shipping

by: Abundibiga This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 28 08:10:22 2014

I have only been selling on ebay since last year, but I had been part of an ebay company beforehand and I bought many items through eBay in the past. Although I had a couple of issues right off the bat, once I got a scale and ruler I was fine. I have maybe lost money a handful of times and that was only because of the free shipping setup. I don't recommend it at all. Customers are not as stupid as we make them out to be on these foruma. 95% of them can figure out their own shipping with the calculator, a few still ask for the invoice even with this feature.

If you're not adding a handling fee to all of your packages, you're doing it wrong. We don't work for free, our time is an expense and I have no qualms about charging customers for this and neither should you. It helps alleviate the stress of taking the time to ship adequately and it helps pad the coffers.

Don't use flat rate, free shipping, or any of the other gimmicks. Just get your systems in place and you'll be fine.  

Perminate Link for Seller Pet Peeves: No Shipping Calculators or Combined Shipping   Seller Pet Peeves: No Shipping Calculators or Combined Shipping

by: roxana_valdes This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 3 06:12:59 2014

I have to say, I hate selling on Etsy as of right now. It's kind of a nightmare. Not only do I have to come up with the weight of the item, but I have to guess where it's going and the size of the box it's going to be going in. I've been selling on eBay for about a year and I find the whole listing/ calculating shipping process very user friendly and straightforward. I buy a lot of things on Etsy however, I find it a lot easier to navigate for buyers than sellers.  Etsy is like the hipster counterpart that doesn't have it's stuff together. It's too focused on what it's wearing and not the important things. However much I'd like to have a store on Etsy I think I'm going to stick to eBay.  

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