eBay Post And Packaging – Why Being FAST & FREE Matters
eBay’s FAST & FREE shipping green van logo is set to be an emerald beacon of prestige on your product listing. As the world of online shopping becomes increasingly competitive, offering this postage service on your listings is a sure way to attract buyers and boost your sales.
As Christmas approaches and the online present rush begins, offering FAST & FREE shipping is essential to making your product stand out this festive season.
As the landscape of online shopping has evolved, many consumers have come to expect fast shipping as the mark of a quality online service. eBay have responded to this consumer trend by rewarding sellers that provide a fast dispatch and delivery turnaround. Sellers offering this service are rewarded with a green van FAST & FREE logo that accompanies their listing, as well as improved visibility in ‘Best Match’ searches and a contribution towards the achievement of top rated seller status.
“Offering a FAST & FREE service has been shown to increase sales by as much as 11%”
Why is FAST & FREE a service sellers should want to provide?
The hectic pace of modern life means many people no longer have the time and patience to shop the high street or plan for occasions and events weeks or months in advance. And Christmas is no exception. Shoppers are increasingly reliant, dependant even, on conducting their searches online and receiving their purchases as soon as possible at their doorstep or local post office for collection.
With that in mind, the FAST & FREE logo has a psychological effect on shoppers. Firstly, the badge is a sign of authenticity and trustworthiness in the eBay community, so instantly makes those products stand out from the crowd of competitors. Looking at the offer in more detail also reveals more practical benefits to shoppers. Free shipping means shoppers do not feel like they have to pay a premium for delivery to their doorstep - shipping has already been factored into the final price. Advertising the fact you are offering free shipping also eliminates buyers’ scepticism about hidden costs that appear further down the buying process.
These are all factors that lower users’ threshold to purchasing your items and is part of the reason eBay will help elevate you in the Best Match search ranking putting you in front of more customers. And, as we know, visibility is often the key to sales success. In fact, offering a FAST & FREE service has been shown to increase sales by as much as 11%. Factored into that figure is the fact it also helps qualify you for eBay’s Top Rated Seller status, which again makes you a preferred listing in eBay’s eyes and helps your search ranking.
What are the criteria needed for an item to be listed as FAST & FREE by eBay?
In order to qualify for the eBay FAST & FREE logo, you have to meet a few conditions. Here is how you can become a FAST & FREE seller:
- Postage and Packaging Listing
When listing your item you must ensure the primary postage service offered is ‘Free Postage and Packaging’ and that you do not offer ‘Collection in Person’. Generally items with free standard or express postage will qualify for eBay FAST & FREE.
Of course, you will still have to pay for the post and packaging, but building this extra cost into your item value will still ensure you have maximum visibility without losing money. For example, if your item previously cost £7.99 + £2.99 post and packaging then your new fast and free listing now costs £10.98. Your customer is still paying the same amount of money, but psychologically this appears to be better value with the mention of “Free Postage and Packaging”.
It’s worth comparing postage prices using sites like Parcel2Go, which gets you the best deals due to their volume orders. And that’s another point, if operating on a larger volume, make sure to negotiate beneficial rates with couriers yourself.
- Dispatch Time
The turnaround time from processing your order to sending the package should be as efficient as possible in order to qualify for eBay’s FAST & FREE service.
- With standard shipping, you need to be able to process and dispatch your items within one day of the order.
- With express shipping, you need to be able to process and dispatch your items within two days of the order.
Although these are just guidelines to help maximise your profits, be aware that you may be relying on a postage system that is out of your control. You should therefore process your orders as quickly as possible and use a reliable and fast shipping service so that fast really does mean FAST.
Using an order processing programme may ease your workflow if printing or writing orders manually is taking too long. There are many programmes offered on the web that record your orders and print invoices and postage labels all in one swift function. They can also help collate your orders if your items are shipping from more than one platform.
- Delivery Time
Making sure your package has enough time to reach its destination is essential to be considered for the eBay FAST & FREE service. Estimated delivery time of the item must be three working days or less after you have received payment. This estimation of delivery time is based on the postage service you have specified and how rapidly you dispatch your items. eBay also looks at your seller history to determine how consistently you dispatch your items quickly and how frequently they arrive on time.
The destination or original location of your parcel may be a help or a hindrance to this measure. Using a reliable and fast shipping service is essential to consumer satisfaction and FAST & FREE status.
We advise always using express shipping options and 1-day dispatch to ensure the 3-day barrier is never actually crossed. This is often a risk when following the official eBay requirements that may not take into account all the independent factors of item location, reliability and speed of your chosen courier service and delivery site.
As we mentioned earlier, if operating on high volume, it is a good idea to carefully choose the most reliable courier for your area and negotiate a good rate with them for your average monthly volume. This can help you build a relationship and track record of good service with your shipper. This is something many eBayers feel is left at their peril and puts more control into your hands over the process.
- Location of Item and Buyer
Even if you are shipping from Lands End to John O’Groats, you can still meet the FAST & FREE requirements, but be wary and mindful of where you are selling to and from. Both the item and the buyer must be located within the United Kingdom. Sadly, if you are selling from or delivering to the Hebrides, Shetland and Scilly Islands, you will not be able to qualify for the FAST & FREE service.
‘Tis the season...to offer FAST & FREE. People want their Christmas presents and they want them NOW. They want them fast. This pressure for rapid, fuss free delivery will only grow as we get closer to Christmas day itself. The added stress of Christmas can be (at least slightly) relieved by offering a FAST &FREE service, ensuring your customers have their presents under the tree on time this year.
If you wanted to go the extra mile, and really put the cherry on top of the Christmas pudding, you may want to indicate in your description that you can offer even faster shipping than eBay display. If you work with a courier, offering next day deliveries can further your reputation as the fastest eBay seller around. Who knows, you may even knock Santa out of the park and I hear he’s got his deliveries nailed this year!
Updated: 24th November 2016
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