|Thu Apr 12 2012 22:18:28|
Point, Counterpoint - Does Free Shipping Improve Sales on eBay?
By: Ina Steiner
Does offering free shipping improve sales on eBay? That's a question we posed to readers this week, and the results are in: 83% say no, free shipping does not improve sales on eBay, while 17% say it does improve sales.
I was not surprised to see that many respondents said they tried testing listings with and without free shipping. Small independent sellers are lean and mean and are always looking for ways to improve sales and make more money - and they are always looking for ways to save money as well.
eBay gives sellers plenty of incentives to try offering free shipping, including giving fixed-price listings with free shipping a boost in search results, and awarding sellers automatic 5-star ratings for shipping cost DSRs when buyers chooses free shipping. During the recent holiday season, eBay gave sellers 20% off of their Final Value Fees when they offered free expedited shipping service with 1-day handling.
That helps explains that while 83% say it doesn't improve sales, 37% offer free shipping anyway on the majority of their eBay listings:
"DSR fear has ruined the selling experience."
"I went back to just offering free shipping because it's easier. And who knows, maybe someday it'll actually make a difference in my sales."
"While I would like to say yes to this, the numbers don't prove it. We do it mainly because most of our items fall in the 1-3 ounce range and it makes it simpler for the buyer to see the total price. Oh, and, of course, because eBay says they will boost our visibility if we do so. But that's not showing up in sales either."
As sellers are quick to point out, eBay is not a one-size-fits-all environment. What works for one product or category may not work for another. So while the answers may vary depending on the business model of the individual seller, all sellers must abide by the same eBay policies.
We selected two sellers with differing opinions and asked them to expand on their comments in the survey outlining their experience with offering free shipping. In Friday's newsletter, we run the two articles. In the first ("Point") one seller explains why offering free shipping helps improve sales. In the second article, another seller explains why offering free shipping does NOT help improve sales ("Counterpoint"). Thanks to Craig Clark of PerfectCornersCollectibles.comand and T. Perkins, Jr. of Teliperk Technologies Inc. for participating!
Now have your say - does offering Free Shipping improve sales on eBay?