The second-hand goods industry has exploded in recent years, with reselling on platforms such as eBay, Poshmark, and Whatnot becoming increasingly popular. The trend has resulted in a thriving community of thrifters, vintage hunters, and bargain seekers, all hoping to make a profit while keeping clothes, electronics, household items etc. out of the landfill.
However, in the midst of this burgeoning resale market, navigating shipping and handling costs can be a real challenge for resellers. Unlike larger companies that can negotiate lower rates with shipping carriers, resellers mostly rely on the published rates that they often have to pay out of pocket.
Managing shipping and handling costs is crucial to ensuring healthy profit margins as a reseller. For platforms like eBay, Poshmark, etc., these costs can be a particularly significant challenge given the number of sales they process daily. However, with a few practical tips, resellers can minimize shipping and handling expenses, build trust with their customers, and maximize profits. Here are some tips for managing shipping and handling costs:
Mastering Cost-Effective Shipping: Choose Wisely Based on Weight and Size!
Did you know that one of the most important factors to consider while sourcing for products is the shipping cost? As a seasoned reseller, it is crucial that you estimate the weight of the item, consider the type of packaging it can fit in, and determine the shipping cost to the furthest distance from you. This vital step can help you avoid surprise expenses and ensure that you make a profit on your resale. With practice, "guess-estimating" the shipping cost can become second nature, saving you time and money in the long run.
Always factor in the cost of shipping materials, such as boxes, bubble wrap, and tape, when choosing a shipping method. As a reseller, it's crucial to keep costs low to maximize profit. One way to do this is by taking advantage of free resources provided by shipping companies. If you consistently sell items weighing more than one pound, grabbing a few FREE USPS Priority Mail packaging options is worth it. These packages are designed specifically for heavier items and can help reduce shipping costs. Plus, if you are a Poshmark reseller, you shouldn't be using your own packaging!
Before You List
As an online seller, it’s crucial to provide accurate information to your customers, especially when it comes to the products you offer. One of the most commonly overlooked details is the weight and dimensions of a product with the packaging on. Sure, it may seem insignificant, but the extra weight and size can easily tip the scales when it comes to shipping costs. This is particularly true if you offer free or calculating shipping costs based on weight and dimensions. Avoid unpleasant surprises and make sure you weigh and measure your products with the packaging on. Not only will this save you money, but it will also ensure a more positive customer experience.
Boost Sales With Minimum Order Value: Unlock Free Shipping Incentives!
Offering free shipping is a great way to boost sales and attract customers. If you're a reseller, the prospect of free shipping may seem intimidating due to the expenses it can incur. However, with the right minimum order value, it can be an effective strategy to increase revenue. Resellers on popular platforms like eBay, Poshmark, Etsy, or Shopify can benefit from this strategy by setting a minimum order value that encourages buyers to make larger purchases. That way, the cost of shipping is offset by the increase in sales, making free shipping a win-win for both the buyer and the reseller. But be wary of setting the minimum too low, as it may not be effective in enticing buyers to make bigger purchases, ultimately leading to lost revenue.
Take Advantage of Marketplace Discounted Shipping
While third-party postage places like Pirateship.com may seem like a convenient option, it's important to consider all your choices. eCommerce platforms like eBay, Mercari, Etsy, and Shopify can often offer better shipping rates, potentially saving you a lot of money in the long run. If you're considering using a third-party postage service (such as Pirateship.com), it's worth taking the time to weigh your package first and do a price comparison. Don't just assume that a third-party postage service will have the best rates – sometimes, other options are more cost-effective.
If you're an avid eBay seller, you probably already know that shipping internationally can be quite the hassle. Customs charges, import fees, and taxes can all add up and quickly turn a profitable sale into a money-losing one. Fortunately, eBay's international shipping program offers a solution that takes care of all these headaches for you. Not only do you avoid these potentially costly charges, but you also have the added peace of mind that if something goes wrong with the delivery, eBay has your back. So, if you want to expand your customer base and reach international buyers, consider using eBay's international shipping program.
USPS Flat-Rate Envelopes
When it comes to shipping packages, there are always new tricks and tips to learn. One such tip is the use of flat-rate envelopes from USPS. While this may sound like it's only applicable to documents or other flat items, it's actually much more versatile than you may think. The term "flat rate" simply means that the cost of shipping is fixed regardless of weight or distance. So, whether you're sending a stack of papers or a pair of jeans, as long as it fits in the envelope without any added modifications, you're good to go! Trust me, I've shipped various items using these envelopes and they have always arrived safely and securely.
USPS Parcel Select, UPS SurePost, and FedEx SmartPost for Heavy Items.
When it comes to shipping heavy items, the last thing anyone wants is to pay exorbitant shipping fees. That's where USPS Parcel Select, UPS SurePost, and FedEx SmartPost come in handy. Not only do these services offer competitive pricing, but they also provide reliable delivery times and tracking options. With each of these services, your package will first be transported by truck by the carrier (USPS, UPS, or FedEx) to its local destination, where it will then be handed off to USPS for final delivery. Please note that the shipping timeframe is longer than that of regular mail, which is why this is an affordable option. It's highly recommended to reflect the extended shipping timeframes in your listing to avoid any confusion or disappointment.
Save Money, Order Shipping Supplies in Bulk
As a reseller, it's essential to always have enough supplies on hand to avoid any delays in fulfilling orders. Ordering in bulk is an excellent way to make sure that you never run out of shipping essentials like boxes, tape, and bubble wrap. When you purchase in bulk, you could save money, as buying small quantities of these supplies can quickly add up. Not only will you save money, but you can also help reduce your carbon footprint by repurposing your friends, family, or even your community's empty Amazon packages.
Here are some tips on how to find deals on shipping supplies:
If you hold an eBay basic store subscription, every quarter, you'll receive a $25 coupon that can be spent at eBay's shipping supply store.
If you're not interested in fancy-designed poly mailers, I recommend ordering shipping supplies in bulk from Uline. Keep an eye out for closeout prices on shipping supplies at Staples as well, as they sometimes offer significant savings.
Connect with your local brick-and-mortar stores that receive frequent small shipments, as they are likely to accumulate boxes and bubble wrap that they then discard. Consider reaching out to stores such as auto shops, spas and wellness centers, and plumbing supply stores to inquire about their surplus shipping supplies.
If you're interested in fancy-designed poly mailers, consider purchasing seasonal designs after the season has ended. For instance, after Christmas, Amazon sellers may heavily discount Christmas-themed poly mailers. This can be a convenient and cost-effective way to add some personality to your shipping materials without breaking the bank.
When it comes to shopping for shipping supplies, there are a few key factors to consider, and one of them is the cost of ink and paper. While it may not seem like a big deal initially, the cost of regularly restocking your printer's ink and paper can really add up over time. That's why it's worth considering investing in a thermal printer instead. While the upfront cost may be more expensive, a thermal printer doesn't require ink, which means you'll save money in the long run. Plus, you won't have to worry about constantly monitoring your ink levels or running out at the worst possible moment.
Consider Local Pick-Up
Working from home can come with many benefits, such as setting your own schedule and working in your pajamas. However, if you sell items online, the prospect of meeting up with potential buyers in person may be daunting. But don't let that fear hold you back from making local sales. Meeting at a public place can put both you and the buyer at ease and ensure a smooth transaction. However, if you still don't feel comfortable meeting in person, there are alternatives. Mercari offers a local pick-up option, where a third-party courier can deliver the item to your buyer. With these options available, it's worth considering the benefits of local sales.
As a high-volume reseller living up on the East or West coast, shipping costs can add up significantly if most of your customers are on the opposite end from you. One way to reduce shipping costs is by working with a third-party logistics (3PL) company. By working with a 3PL, they can store your items and have them shipped for you, freeing up valuable time and resources. And to further reduce your shipping costs, you may want to consider working with a 3PL located in the midwest - such as Kansas - or on the opposite coast. Positioning yourself strategically allows you to streamline your shipping process and optimize your bottom line.
This is not a sponsored post. eBliss is a trusted 3PL service provider among the reseller community. The owners, Dave and Laurie, are veteran eBay sellers who understand the common struggles that resellers face, such as storage and shipping issues. Their warehouse's strategic location in Colorado makes it an ideal state for reducing shipping costs.
However, another alternative that may not have crossed your mind is having a trusted family member or friend help with the shipping process. If you have someone you know and trust living in the middle of the US or on the opposite coast, they could be your go-to shipping person.
Managing an online business requires constant adaptation. One thing that cannot be compromised is tracking and recording expenses. Understanding the costs of goods, shipping, and storage fees will give you an accurate depiction of your profits for every item. It's crucial to recognize that prices for goods and shipping will continue to increase over time. Therefore, what worked for you in the past may not be profitable in the future. As an online seller, it's essential to remain agile and adjust your strategies to maintain profitability. Tracking and recording expenses are just one part of an ever-evolving business model that requires ongoing attention and innovation.
Ultimately, as a thrifting community, we can help each other navigate the challenges of shipping and handling costs. By sharing our experiences and insights, we can build a supportive community where everyone can learn and thrive.
You might also be interested in A Reseller's Guide to Shipping
Share your own tips and tricks in the comments section below, and let's help each other keep our bottom lines healthy while positively impacting the environment!