As an eBay seller, your business is dependent on top-notch seller ratings. One of the best ways to get positive customer feedback on eBay (and most other ecommerce platforms) is fast and accurate shipping. Handling fulfillment smoothly is key to running your eBay business profitably and leaving your customers happy.
When you started out on eBay, you probably shipped all your orders yourself. As you eBay business has expanded, it may be time to use a fulfillment warehouse to pack and ship orders for you. Here are some of the things you need to know to handle your eBay fulfillment like a pro as your business grows.
Choose the Best Fulfillment Tool for You
If you sell used auto parts on eBay, you never know what new treasure you will find at the wrecking yard. Your product assortment and stock will vary from week to week. To connect your eBay customers with just the parts they need and keep your prices low, you will probably need to handle your own fulfillment. Resale of used products is a terrific way to make money on eBay, but this business model doesn’t lend itself to standardized shipping boxes and restockable SKUs.
On the other hand, if you sell new auto parts on eBay, you might find that a fulfillment center or 3PL provider is a huge asset to your business. Outsourcing your fulfillment can free up your time to source your products at better prices or find suppliers for hard-to-find replacement parts.
When you evaluate whether to outsource your fulfillment, there are several factors to consider. The fees charged by the fulfillment warehouse are an extra cost. You won’t have to rent your own storage and that is a cost saving. Since the fulfillment center rents a much larger space, the storage rate you pay for their space will likely be less per square foot that what you were paying. If you store your products in a shed in your back yard, the cost is low but a fulfillment warehouse can save your merchandise from nesting mice and leaky roofs.
You can also find savings in shipping costs: your fulfillment center, as a very large shipper, can get favorable rates and pass the savings on to you. While you may not pay yourself by the hour, you should also factor in the costs savings of your time. Outsourcing your fulfillment can allow you to grow your business without a lot of extra overhead.
Timely Fulfillment Can Boost Your Seller Rating
One easy way for eBay sellers to get negative feedback from buyers is slow shipping. Samantha in San Diego is breathlessly waiting for her new iPhone cover. If it arrives late, she will be very irritated with you. She may even be cranky enough to give you a negative rating.
In an ideal world, you would turn around and ship each item you sell on eBay as soon as the sale is complete. In the real world, the baby needed to go to the doctor, your water heater broke or your pipes froze, or you got hit with the latest virus and you just couldn’t drag yourself out of bed. When you use a fulfillment center to ship your eBay orders, you eliminate the unexpected delays when life gets in the way.
Communicating with buyers about shipping times is a great way to manage their expectations and keep them updated on any unexpected delays. It’s even better if their order arrives quickly with no extra hassles. A fulfillment warehouse can make that happen.
The employees at 3PL providers pick and pack shipments all day, every day. With systems in place for accurate orders, your customer’s order can go out within a day of when your 3PL provider receives it (and many times the same day).
Use Your Fulfillment to Lower Return Rates
In 2016, eBay added return rate statistics to seller dashboards. While eBay initially contended that the metric was there for information only, there are reports of sellers being removed from eBay or losing their TRS status for return rates that would be considered low in other industries.
Statistics on ecommerce return rates vary widely. One survey showed an overall return rate of 30 percent for ecommerce sales, versus 8.89 percent in brick and mortar retail. Another study showed that web-only retailers averaged a return rate of less than 4 percent.
On eBay, a return rate of 5 percent or less is crucial. Sellers can accomplish this with clear product descriptions (so buyers know exactly what they are purchasing) and accurate fulfillment.
Now that returns have become an important metric for eBay sellers, the value of expert fulfillment is greater than ever. An order that is properly packed is less likely to arrive damaged. Fulfillment professionals can help insure that every buyer gets exactly the product they ordered.
At Red Stag, we understand the value of getting every single order right. Your eBay rating can’t afford the 4 percent mispick rate that’s the average for fulfillment centers. Our error rate is so small (0.0001 percent), we need extra decimal points to get it to show up at all.
Customer Service and Fulfillment for eBay Sellers
The eBay platform is all about communication. Sellers and buyers can talk to each other throughout the purchasing and shipping process. This may cause some eBay sellers to hesitate to outsource their fulfillment. When you have your hands on your stock, you can let your customers know exactly what’s happening with each order.
As your eBay business grows, however, self-fulfillment can become more of a liability than an asset. It’s easy to miss someone when you’re juggling customer emails with one hand and sealing packages with the other. The time you spend communicating with your customers is the key to keeping your seller rating high. And a high rating is money in your pocket.
When it comes time to choosing a fulfillment warehouse for your eBay business, make sure you pick one that will stay in touch with you so you can tell your customers when to expect their orders and keep on top of any shipping glitches. Red Stag lets you see the status of every order, so you can answer buyer questions quickly.
The right fulfillment warehouse can be a great partner for eBay seller success. Use your resources to grow and promote your product line on eBay while your fulfillment warehouse ships those sales out the door. Your 3PL provider will make sure your orders get into your customers’ hands quickly and accurately.