Sunday, March 11, 2018

High International Shipping Costs and Free Domestic Shipping

Chinese sellers are able to list items on Amazon, eBay, and other sites for as little as U.S. $0.99, shipping included.  The Chinese receive subsidized postage rates, and the rest of the world is paying their postage for them.  Read the following article for more information.

As U.S. Postage Rates Continue To Rise, The USPS Gives The Chinese A 'Free Ride'

I still offer to ship books internationally, but most of my prospective international buyers think I am ripping them off.  They think I am choosing to use the most expensive shipping method instead of using a less expensive method.  The United States Postal Service no longer offers surface mail.  It does not exist.  We are only allowed to use the expensive method.

As I mentioned in a recent post, I do not offer to ship internationally for heavy bulk lots.  This is because it takes time to weigh the lots and figure out exactly what the postage will be.  It's not worth my time to do that when I know that no international buyers will be willing to pay the high cost.

I recently learned that deselecting international shipping on eBay was not enough to block international buyers from purchasing the bulk lots.  An international buyer purchased one of my bulk listings recently, which both surprised and dismayed me.  I was surprised since I thought I had blocked them.  I was dismayed because I knew that the buyer would back out.

I sent the requested invoice with the postage of $82.00 along with an apologetic message stating that I did not have a cheaper method to use.  The buyer immediately stated that she could not pay that much and asked for the transaction to be canceled.  That's why I don't offer international shipping on heavy bulk lots.  The transactions are always canceled.

After investigating, I learned that I must also select "exclude shipping locations" and select all continents in order to prevent international buyers from purchasing the heavy lots.  Each time an international buyer expresses interest in a heavy lot, they always back out, since the shipping is very high.  I understand completely, and I prefer to save trouble by not allowing them to initiate the purchase.


Some buyers really get hung up on free shipping and whether it helps or hurts them.  Many think that I have $3.95 fully built into the price of each book on eBay and think they are being ripped off when they purchase two items together that have free shipping.  These days, I don't think about the shipping when I price my items, except when I price bulk lots where I may be selling the books at or below cost.

Let's say that I have a book priced at $19.99 on eBay with free shipping.  This same book would have still been priced at $19.99 without free shipping, but then $3.95 would have been added to the base price of $19.99.  This means that my shipping is really free on eBay, so don't overthink it.

Others think that free shipping is always better and worry when they purchase like items that don't have free shipping.  I received an order on Etsy for six books.  On Etsy, postage is set at $3.95 for the first book and $0.50 for each additional book.  The buyer realized right after submitting the order that I have an eBay store which offers free shipping.  She told me, "Oh no you have an ebay store and it offers free shipping ... :'( I should have shopped there instead."

I had a feeling it didn't matter, but out of curiosity, I decided to see how much difference it would have made.  I found the same books in my eBay store and figured out how much she would have paid.  I sent her the following explanation of what I discovered.
I thought I'd compare my prices on eBay to what you paid here, just because I wanted to see if it did matter.  First, the books are different copies that are offered on the two sites.  Four of the titles are on eBay.  For the books that are there, with the eBay 10% discount and free shipping, the total for those books would have been about $58.

The four books that you purchased here with the 10% discount and paying for shipping ended up being around $58.  The difference looks to be just about $0.35, so it really didn't make a difference since some of the books on eBay are priced higher.  I try to price my items in a fashion so that it doesn't make a difference where you purchase the books.
I price many of my books cheaper on Etsy than what I do on eBay, which causes the shipping cost on Etsy not to matter.

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