Shipping is the biggest hassle for most eBay sellers, especially now that the Late Delivery metric has come into full effect. And with Amazon now offering SAME DAY delivery to select areas in the UK & USA, it’s really no longer a question of whether or not you need to offer fast and preferably free shipping to your customers as that’s no longer going above and beyond but simply the expected level of service.
That’s just the way the market moves and customer expectations when it comes to delivery times are at the highest level ever.
But it seems not all eBay sellers are following the trend, as I discovered from a recent email:
I want to gain some feedback from an expert.
I am selling on eBay and basically I currently offer a lead time of 3-5 days for shipping. This is due to my current warehouse capacity and meeting customer expectations.
But having taken a closer look at my competitors it appears that some are offering an express 24 hour courier service for larger/heavier or expensive items and on the low value items they offer a 48 hour or 2-3 day service.
Obviously their postage offering is a lot faster than mine and it also appears they are selling a lot more even though they’re well priced, i.e. more expensive than me.
I am considering moving to a bigger warehouse in order to be able to increase my stock holding, which will allow me to offer the same level of service as my competitors.
My question to you is if I increased service levels & got my items posted out in the above timeframe, will eBay give me more visibility and sales? Basically are listings that offer a better service promoted?
I just want your input as a bigger warehouse would mean increased costs and I want to be sure it’s worthwhile.
Really what I’m more worried about is maintaining my current level of sales, rather than growing it, as one of my competitors who offers a higher level of service has seen a significant uplift in sales recently and I feel this will obviously affect me in the long run.
Please let me know your thoughts. I greatly appreciate any help.
Thanks for your email.
The quick answer is – YES! 3 days may not be that bad but a 5 day delivery timeframe really is too long if you want to be competitive in today’s marketplace, especially when you’re competing directly with sellers who offer 1-2 day delivery.
There are 2 major problems if you stick with this 3-5 day delivery time:
- Lower rankings for your listings in search on eBay.
- Lower conversion rates, which even further lowers your listings’ search positions.
The first problem is obvious – Best Match algorithm (which is basically the system behind eBay’s search engine) takes into account whether you offer eBay’s Premium Service (free & fast delivery) to your buyers. If you don’t, this instantly acts as a disadvantage to you against your competitors.
The second problem with such long delivery times is that the people who do actually find your listing are going to be put off from purchasing from you for this very reason! They are simply used to much faster delivery times and many of them will purchase from your competitors as a result. IN essence, your conversion rate (sales to views ratio) goes down AND this number also affects your listing’s search position.
So I would really recommend you re-think your strategy and start offering quicker delivery services and ideally qualify for eBay’s Premium Service badge (if you’re a Top Rated seller), which means offering:
- 24h dispatch time
- ONE free shipping method
- ONE express shipping method (next day delivery)
Please note – these two methods can be different services. For example, you can offer Royal Mail 2nd class as your free option AND charge extra for RM 1st class, to satisfy the next day delivery requirement.
It’s hard for me to say how exactly this change will affect your margins as I obviously don’t have access to your figures and warehousing costs. Also, be prepared for the fact that you won’t see results as soon as you start offering quicker shipping as it may take weeks before eBay gives you a boost in search.
In fact, as you have established listings with a presumably lower conversion rate than your competitors, it will take some time for that number to increase and even out, so while I highly recommend that you do switch to faster shipping methods, don’t expect a huge increase in sales overnight.
But you shouldn’t be worried about a decline in sales, no! There’s no way that by offering a BETTER service to your customers you’ll get less sales. So don’t worry about that! It can only get better once you switch. Of course if you stay stagnant and don’t upgrade your levels of service, then your sales will naturally deteriorate over time…
Also, I’m not sure how exactly the warehouse size affects your shipping time? I mean – if you have items in stock for immediate dispatch, simply send them! Dispatch orders ASAP! Maybe you can do some optimisation within your warehouse/fulfilment process so that you can offer quicker delivery times using your current premises? Personally that’s what I would start with, before investing more money in a bigger warehouse.
Okay, that’s it for today. If you want your question to be featured in a future Reader’s Question post, then get in touch with me via my Helpdesk here. I will personally answer ALL inquiries and the best ones will be selected for our future Friday posts!
Have a great weekend everyone!