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|Sun Mar 9 2014 21:10:16|
Seller Pet Peeves: No Shipping Calculators or Combined Shipping
By: Ina Steiner
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?