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!


New USPS First-Class Rates in Effect in August

New USPS First-Class Rates in Effect in August

According to an eBay Announcement, The United States Postal Service has proposed a rate increase on First-Class Mail Parcels (FCMP) weighing between 1-3 ounces. "These new rates have been approved, and will go into effect on August 28, 2016," says the announcement.

The new USPS rates are:


1-3 oz First Class Mail Parcel Retail:

Currently $2.45

Proposed $2.62


1-3 oz First Class Package Service via eBay labels:

Currently $2.45

Proposed $2.60


Do such small increases affect your eBay buying? One thing I have been wondering, as a seller, if the overall increase of USPS rates, more on heavy items that need to be shipped Priority Mail, have affected buyers' habits.  For one reason, heavier items such as serving platters can sometimes cost as much in postage as they do in their purchase price. 

One seller on an eBay discussion board wrote, "I'm losing ton of money on shipping!?! HELP!!"

"So I put a bunch of stuff on sale, using the 'Ebay' calculator for shipping. I ended up paying around $2-5 more for nearly reach item. One item I sold for$.99 and I paid $2 more than buyer paid to ship. So basically I paid someone to take my item! So next time around, I said everything weighed am extra pound trying to see if that would work...nope!!

"When I did this before you could add things for handling costs to cover anything like that, and packing materials. I get that Ebay was losing out when people would put $19.99 for shipping and sell item for a penny, but I just want to add $2 handling fee for things like shipping cost error and tape and such.

"I was also on receiving end of issue. The seller printed the label ebay said was right, and when package got here, mailman made me pay another $3.54 that had been under paid by seller. Seller said there had been issues with ebay postage calculator. Even my post office said they rarely get ebay stuff anymore since the change went into effect. Come on ebay fix this please!!

Other sellers counseled that he add shipping costs into his item price, doing research on sold items to make sure his shipping price wasn't out of line with other items in the same category.

Another said he used eBay's shipping calculator with no problem.

What about you? Have you decided against buying an item ever because the shipping price was too high? What do you think of the new USPS first-class rates, or will they not make a difference to you in your buying? Post a comment here!