I recently realized that some lazy behavior on my part was costing me money and probably some sales. I call my behavior 'lazy shipping'. Below I describe the different types.
1. When creating a listing instead of actually weighing the item with some packing material you guesstimate based on your past experience. For example I know most mugs fall between 1 to 2 pounds. So I choose the range instead of weighing to get a more exact weight.
2. When the item is sold you print up the shipping when you're still in bed without having packed the item. Later you pack the item and see you could have saved a little cash by putting in the corrected weight.
3. When setting up a new listing if you aren't sure you choose priority instead of priority flat rate so that you don't have to check if the item will fit in the flat rate envelope.
So I had a light bulb moment this week and realized these behaviors were costing me and my customers money and they were also probably costing me sales. Why is that?
When you use the 1-2 pounds instead of a more exact weight the post office rounds up to 2 pounds. So you are charged for 2 pounds when the item is 1.1 pounds. This doesn't matter for your american customers as shipping for 1.1 pounds is the same cost as 2 pounds. But this does make a difference for your international customers. International postage is charged by the ounce. So 1.1 vs 2 pounds can cost your customer a few bucks and may make them look for another item with lower shipping.
When I'm not sure if an item will fit in a priority flat rate mailer I'd play it safe and not offer the flat rate. I didn't think it really mattered thinking it was just a few cents difference. What I wasn't realizing was that it matters for some customers and not others based on distance and weight. If it it a light weight item there probably isn't much difference between priority and priority flat rate but if it is a heavy item it can mean a few dollars if it is going all the way across the country. I wasn't considering this and probably lost some sales this way. Likewise sometimes I would offer just priority and not parcel select. I didn't realize that although they looked like they cost about the same in my area for a buyer in California (the furthest from me) there was a significant difference especially with a heavy item. A buyer's question about shipping charges alerted me to this.
Guesstimating can hurt you in a couple of ways. Under estimate and you can end having to eat some shipping. This can cost you pennies or tens of dollars. Especially be careful of the size of your package! If your package ends up "oversized" this can add a lot of money to the cost of shipping. I've lost a few bucks this way. Over estimate and you risk scaring people away by a shipping price that sounds too high.
So I'm learning to spend a few more minutes on the front end. I'm weighing my item with a box and some paper to get a better idea of the final weight. I'm checking to see if it will fit in the priority flat rate envelope so that I can offer that more often.
Elsewhere since I signed up for Direct Checkout on Etsy my sales have increased. Almost all of my most recent sales have been through Direct Checkout. Make sure you have this turned on if you sell on etsy. Here is an explanation of Direct Checkout.
Sales continue to be pretty slow on ebay.
Below are some of my recent ebay and etsy sales.
A Corduroy UNO trucker hat. I bought this in a bag sale so I paid about a quarter. Sold for $19.99 plus shipping.
Vintage plastic wall rosary. I paid $5 for this and took an offer of $24.99 plus shipping. I'd hoped to get more for this because it was really cool but alas I needed the money so I took the offer.
Vintage Wool Varsity Jacket. I paid $1.75 for this and sold it for $50 plus shipping.
A Ladish belt buckle. Paid 50 cents and sold for $24.99 plus shipping.