Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Dilemma of Free Shipping

I mentioned recently how some buyers ask for a shipping discount for multiple items purchased even when shipping is stated as free.  I explained that I have only partially included the shipping in my prices, so buyers have already received a discount on the first item even though they don't know it.  This means that I lose when only one item is purchased.  When two or three items are purchased together, I break even.

I changed to free shipping when I had a buyer leave a low DSR on shipping cost, since she didn't like that the shipping cost was higher than the price of the cheap book.  I couldn't risk additional low DSRs in cases like that.

It was suggested on my recent post that I consider charging a small shipping fee, like $2.00, on each item instead of having free shipping.  That is a good idea.  I have thought about it, but there is still a drawback.

eBay gives my items a boost in the Best Match search due to the free shipping.  When I changed my items over to free shipping, I noticed that my sales immediately increased.  While the increase in sales could be just a coincidence, I tend to think that a link exists.  I don't want to lose that boost in Best Match.

I next thought about having a shipping charge on just some items, which would be the low-priced items where I always take the greatest loss.  That would work, but it can cause a problem.  The last time I had a mixture of items with and without free shipping, I had buyers purchase a mixture of both types.  That meant that I felt compelled to refund at least most of the $3.95 charge for the item that didn't have free shipping.  I try to avoid having to refund overages, especially since eBay and PayPal track how many refunds sellers send, regardless of the reason.

I decided to stick with free shipping on all items on eBay for now.  Sometime soon, I might try charging for shipping again on all items just to see what happens, but I don't feel like messing with it at this point in time.

Remember that I offer books on both eBay and Bonanza.  I do have different books for sale on each site, and lately, I have made it a point to put certain special books on Bonanza instead of on eBay.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

Jennifer's Series Books on Bonanza

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Jennifer's Series Books on Facebook

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