BAM eBay Buyer Blog

Posts for eBay buyers about buying on eBay

Have Shipping Costs for Some Items Reached a Tipping Point?

Have Shipping Costs for Some Items Reached a Tipping Point?


After choosing to buy a winter coat at a retail store (well, a discount retail store), I considered its heft and wondered if this item would be worth buying online, or if the weight of this type of thing now made it too costly to get a really good deal on a site like eBay. I weighed it in a box to see how much it would cost me to ship if I were a seller, and it came to $25.25 for Priority Mail. 

(If it could have fit in a flat-rate box, it would have been, say, $18.75 for a 2-day Large Flat Rate Box, $13.45 for a Medium Flat-Rate Box, or $6.80 for a Small Flat-Rate Box. (Regional Rate boxes were not applicable in this scenario, according to the USPS. com web site).

You have to figure that even if an online price from a seller on, say, eBay was less than the $25.25, it had been factored into the item's price. Given that I only paid $48.00 for this coat on clearance from the store, and I was able to try it on, I wondered if the appeal of shopping on eBay for a bargain of a winter coat made sense anymore.

Then there are the expectations of shoppers today. Many of them will go for free shipping, especially as it is offered more and more places these days, such as of course, on Amazon Prime items. According to a study by JDA Software Group, Inc., free shipping remains such a high priority for consumers that 69 percent of respondents have spent more than they planned, just to reach the minimum threshold to receive free shipping. "This trend is particularly prevalent during the holiday season, with 80 percent of respondents who shopped primarily online during Black Friday/Cyber Monday last year claiming that they spent more than they intended in order to meet a free shipping threshold," says the JDA press release.

However, when I do a search on women's winter coats, there are lo and behold actually plenty of items that are low-priced and offer free shipping. In fact, the first page of results -- and beyond -- show items offering almost nothing but free shipping, with a few auction items with shipping thrown in. The choices on the first page range from $19.99 for a "Women Ladies Winter Puffer Padded Quilted Zip Up Jacket Coat" and $23.56 for a "Women Long Sleeve Hoodie wool Winter Warm jacket coat trenck parka outwear," up to $199.99 for a name-brand BURBERRY LONDON Parka Women's Down Puffer Winter Coat.

As you drill further down into the listings, you can find other recognizable brand coats that do actually charge shipping, such as a "J CREW Large Wool Cashmere Charcoal Gray Lined Women's Winter Coat - L" for $49.95 plus $12.95 shipping. I also saw a heavier Abercrombie & Fitch fur-lined coat selling with $14.50 in shipping, but in auction format with a starting bid of $10.

So it seems at least with the top pages on eBay, there are few to no shipping prices over about $14.00.  This, however, doesn't mean you won't find them built into the item's price, especially with the name-brand items like the Burberry London one.

What do you think? Is there a line in the sand you won't go over for a shipping price, when it comes to certain heavier items? Do you find that those "free shipping" no-name-brand items such as winter coats from China meet your needs? Or are you wiling to pay more for shipping to get just the right item, such as a certain brand?

And with selling items, are you hesitant to put the real shipping price of a heavier item in, and do you just build it in to the price of the item? Or do you avoid selling heavy items? Post a comment here!


EBay Tips on How Buyers Can Benefit This Holiday Season

EBay Tips on How Buyers Can Benefit This Holiday Season



In eBay's Holiday Selling Hub for sellers, buyers can read through the lines to get tips on how to benefit themselves this holiday season. Sellers are being prompted to offer great deals and selection, and other incentives. Here are a few ways you can benefit when doing your holiday shopping this season:

- Ask for a Better Price and Look for Markdowns.

EBay is encouraging sellers to create markdowns on prices and special promotions: "Research shows it's the items that include a promotional offer that tend to get the sale, so consider adding compelling offers to your listings via eBay Stores tools like Promotions Manager."  If you don't see a markdown, and the item has Best Offer, go ahead and make a fair offer.

- Free Shipping
Another thing eBay is pushing is free shipping. You should be able to find many items available with free shipping, though bear in mind sellers will often build that in to their base price.

- Expedited Shipping

Need it faster, especially as it gets close to Christmas? Go ahead and ask the seller if they offer expedited shipping. Depending on the item and its weight, you may be able to get it for little extra cost.

- Shop Early

Worried those holiday items won't be listed yet? EBay is pushing sellers to get all that holiday merchandise up now. Here are some interesting stats:

- 20% of U.S. internet users started their holiday shopping during the summer
- 40% of consumers planned to shop on Thanksgiving Day
So go ahead and buy those Christmas ornament gifts early and check those off your shopping list!

- Selection

EBay is also encouraging sellers to offer a wide selection. Don't see something in the color you want, or style? Try asking the seller if they can offer it...some sellers do custom orders. (Custom orders are also something Etsy is known for, so consider looking at that site for some unique gift ideas).

- Gift Wrap

Many sellers are willing to gift wrap an item. Don't see the option on the listing? You can still ask the seller if they are willing to gift wrap or a least include a special little bag or box for the item, such as jewelry.

So be sure and leverage all that sellers are being encouraged to offer this season.