eBay estimate I’ll get this item delivered for free by Tuesday or Wednesday. Alternatively I can pay £9.99 extra to have it delivered on Tuesday. I’m not going to pay almost a tenner for “faster” delivery!
I’m a firm believer that eBay have struggled to get postage options right. For years they’ve pushed Free Postage, even going so far as to give a boost in search for items shipped with Free post.
The problem with Free Post
The problem with free postage is that it usually means the slowest possible service. Whilst buyers might downgrade to a cheaper service to save money it’s much rarer that they upgrade and choose to pay more for a faster service. Not only that but offering budget delivery services lowers standards across the eBay. It’s tough enough to offer the cheapest delivery service for free let alone the most expensive premium delivery choices.
eBay tried to counter this with their “Fast & Free” program but all that means is that if a more expensive free post option is included then there’s no way to offer a slower cheaper service for buyers who aren’t in a hurry to receive their item but would rather save money – You can’t discount free.
Why Amazon is better than eBay for postage options
I don’t like to compare eBay with their rival Amazon, but in the case I have to – Amazon have it right! On Amazon you get offered a standard postage option – a service which will be delivered in a reasonable time scale. If you want to you can pay more to upgrade to a next day delivery service (or access it through a paid Amazon Prime membership). If you’re not in a particular hurry then you can downgrade to free supersaver delivery (which Tamebay reader Maciej has spotted appears to have been upgraded from a 3-5 day service to a 2-4 day service, nice one Amazon!).
What happens on eBay if you try to offer delivery options? The biggest complaint I hear from sellers is that there is no point because buyers never or rarely upgrade to a paid faster service. I’m not really surprised as eBay don’t give buyers a reason to and that’s becoming worse.
Why buyers rarely pay for upgraded delivery
Take the two examples above, in one I can have Royal Mail 1st Class postage for free, or I can pay £5.99 to have the item delivered by Special Delivery and arrive on the same day. What’s even worse is that 1st Class might arrive “on or before Tuesday” but Special Delivery is displayed only as “estimated by Tuesday”. Surely Royal Mail Special Delivery is a guaranteed premium service?
In the second example I can have Fast & Free Parcelforce 48 delivery or I can pay £9.99 to have it arrive on the same day via Parcelforce 24. These are real live listings on eBay today, but why would I pay for an upgraded service?
The situation has been exacerbated by eBay lowering the delivery estimates for 1st and 2nd Class mail. There’s little point offering a next day 1st Class postage option alongside Special Delivery, Parcelforce 24 or any other next day courier service. They’ll both be displayed as arriving tomorrow with the only difference being price.
How to choose delivery options for your eBay listings
Next time you revise your delivery options make sure you choose alternatives that give buyers a real choice. For instance offer a 24 hour courier (charged), 2nd class post (charged) and perhaps a budget 5 day delivery option (free). That way your delivery options will give buyers a real choice – fast delivery, normal delivery or a budget free delivery option.
If your delivery options show a real difference in the speed that items may arrive then buyers might be willing to pay for an enhanced service. All the time eBay display products scheduled to arrive the same day, there’s no way that buyers will pay an extra tenner for what appears to look like the same service.