Royal Mail, the Post Office and eBay have teamed up to offer advice to to support small businesses and budding marketplace sellers as they sell and ship more goods online. The advice includes 10 Coronavirus trading tips to support small businesses and individual sellers as they come to terms with store closures, and social distancing at the same time as consumers shift much of their spending online.
While the nation remains in lockdown, the role of online marketplaces has never been more important for retailers looking to continue to do business. Retailers who cannot currently open their shops have been joined by suppliers who have had to adapt to new markets in expanding their online presence. In a rush to create an online offering, it can be easy to miss the tricks-of-the-trade that that help makes the transition from high-street to online that much easier.
10 Coronavirus trading tips for small businesses selling online for the first time
The 10 Coronavirus trading tips come from responding to customer’s most asked questions, and from the experience of helping make things easier for customers when they’re up and running and find themselves struggling to meet demand.
- Register on an online marketplace to sell your goods – eBay recently waived fees to list or sell for all new businesses registering on its platform until 31 May 2020. Getting set up on eBay is simple; you can register through eBay.co.uk or through the mobile app. Register as a business account and the new seller offer is automatically applied. Then, you’re ready to start listing your items.
- Check whether there any restrictions which may mean that items you want to sell can’t be sent by post, e.g. because they contain prohibited goods or are too large
- Choose how you are going to ship the items to your customers. You can buy postage at your local Post Office, online via the Royal mail App or website and on the eBay website.
- Calculate the postage price based on the weight and size of your items – you can do this on the Post Office website, and via the Royal Mail App – and decide whether you include this in the price you charge to customers.
- Decide whether you’re going to allow your buyer to return items and be sure to check out eBay’s returns policy before you start selling.
- Package your items safely and securely, before you take them to the Post Office to ensure you minimise your time in-branch and protect the safety of yourself and branch staff.
- Please ensure you post items within the timeframe stated in your listings.
- Drop off your shipments at a branch that is convenient for you. Check on the Post Office website or RM App for opening hours.
- Consolidate your visits into a Post Office to make as few trips as possible, consider incorporating your trip into your exercise time, as per social distancing guidelines.
- If frequently posting lots of items, customers should consider using Post Office’s free Drop and Go service. Customers can drop off their items, the Post Office will do the weighing and printing of postage, and the customer minimises their time in the branch.
“The delivery of parcels and letters has become even more crucial as a way of keeping the country together, businesses operating and helping many people who may not have the option to leave their homes. We understand the important role we have to play in helping people to stay connected.
For those who can quickly adapt and grow their e-retail business, there are great opportunities. This handy guide will be invaluable in helping those new to e-retail, or those needing to expand their operation as they experience an increase in demand for their goods.”
– Nick Landon, Managing Director Parcels, Royal Mail
“We recognise just how vital it is for small businesses and online retailers to be able to quickly get parcels and letters out to their clients and customers, while also protecting the safety of both customers and Postmasters. Millions of parcels are processed by us every week, and we’ll continue to play our part, as a partner to small business, by supporting them during this national crisis through our branch network.
We typically see around 75% of all marketplace seller items come through our branches; therefore, by following these steps, you are helping us keep you and our postmaster safe.”
– Mark Siviter, Managing Director of Mails, Post Office
“At eBay, we recognise that the challenges are vast and wide-ranging for SME’s on Britain’s high streets, but while the offline world is on lockdown, a shift to online spending presents a real growth opportunity and a vital lifeline. We hope these tips empower sellers to operate confidently – and most importantly, safely – online, throughout the crisis.
I’d like to personally acknowledge the incredible work of the Royal Mail and Post Office as they help to keep the nation running during this challenging time. With their support, the small businesses that continue to operate on eBay are able to deliver for their customers.”
– Rob Hattrell, Vice President, eBay UK