How to Print Labels on Ebay

You should totally be buying and printing your shipping labels from Ebay. Here’s why:

  • It’s cheaper than the post office in-store price.
  • Your carrier can pick up the labeled package from your home.
  • You don’t have to make a trip to the post office.
  • Tracking information automatically updates so your buyer can view the status of their order
  • When validated by the shipping carrier within 1 business day of received payment, the tracking info with fulfill the Top Rated Seller requirement.

You can use regular printer paper and tape it to the package or you can purchase adhesive labels that will fit in your printer. You will need a food scale that is precise up to 0.25 ounce (usually available from Amazon, Ebay, Walmart and lots of other places for under $25). Even if you don’t already have a food scale, it will quickly pay for itself with postage savings.

Take 2:47 minutes and watch this step by step video on using the label printing tool.

 

26 Items for $39 Thrift Haul Update

My $39 thrift haul
My $39 thrift haul

Last week I posted my $39 thrift haul that included 26 different items I bought at a Goodwill outlet. Then I followed up with how much money I would make selling those clothes on Ebay. The items from this haul have been listed for 2 weeks now, and here’s what I’ve sold so far.

s-l1600 (15)
Stuart Weitzman heels, $57.98
s-l1600 (18)
Women’s denim vest, $34
s-l1600 (19)
Maxi dress, $16.98
s-l1600 (20)
VENUS bikini, $18.98
s-l1600 (21)
Ann Taylor LOFT skirt, $12.98
s-l1600 (22)
Women’s plus size top, $16.98
s-l1600 (23)
Ann Taylor LOFT skirt, $12.98
s-l1600 (24)
Land’s End tankini top, $19.98
s-l1600 (25)
Talbots shirt, $16.98
s-l1600 (26)
Jones New York suit, $28.98
s-l1600 (27)
Lauren Ralph Lauren sheath dress, $26.98

Total gross: $263.80

Shipping cost: $71.05

Fees: $26.38

Inventory (average $1.50 per item): $16.50

TOTAL PROFIT: $149.87

I haven’t sold everything yet. I have $298 in listed value for the remaining items. It may take a few months to sell everything, but this is a great start for the first 2 weeks.

Have you posted about a thrift haul lately? Put the link in the comments below!

 

5 Tips That Will Get You Selling On Ebay TODAY

 

 

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We’ve all used Ebay at some point or another, but sometimes all the options available can be overwhelming. What if it sells too low? What if I pay too much for shipping? Never fear!  I made 5 super quick steps to getting started selling your stuff on Ebay TODAY.

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1. Use Ebay’s label printing service and print labels from your computer. Don’t have a scale to weigh your own items? Use flat rate option and the free USPS boxes–you’ll save money over going to the post office to buy your postage. If you sell a few items, definitely get a food scale precise up to 0.25 ounce so that you can use USPS First Class shipping and FedEx Smart Post, the cheapest options available for per pound shipments.

2. Don’t offer free shipping. Use calculated shipping. If you’re shipping something fragile, don’t forget to add in 1-2 pounds for extra packing materials to your estimated weight. Once again, if you don’t have a scale, use flat rate options. You can ship jeans, tops, dresses, and even jackets in a flat rate envelop. You can get quite a bit in medium flat rate boxes, even shoes and boots. For more information, here’s my blog posts about shipping.

Rubber boots from The Simple Little Wardrobe
Natural light photos of rubber boots from The Simple Little Wardrobe

3. Take photos in natural light and make sure your item fills up the frame. Use a plain background, like the floor or a blank wall, and get 4-5 different angles. Take a picture of the tag or serial number. Don’t skimp on your photos! Crappy pictures will result in poor sales. Here’s How to Photograph Clothes for Resell Ebay. Here’s another post if you want to see how NOT to photograph clothes..

4. Use descriptive, searchable terms in your title. Size, color, brand, type of thing, gender if applicable, style, etc. Whatever word a buyer might search for that fits your item, squeeze it into the title. Your title is what directs search bots to bring up your listing in the search results from buyers. Poorly written titles will get pushed to the bottom of the search results and nobody will ever find your listing.

5. List your items at 7 day auction, starting at a reasonable price. NEVER start an auction at $0.99, even with a reserve. Reserves turn off buyers. On the other hand, starting a $0.99 without a reserve can lose you money big time. It doesn’t attract serious buyers, it attracts yardsalers looking for a dirt cheap bargain. So start your item at a price you can live with. If your item doesn’t sell at the first auction, list it again as a buy-it-now for 3o days at or a little below your original auction start price.

Have an Ebay listing question? Fire away in the comments below!

 

The Cheapest Way to Ship Clothing #3: Heavy Items

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Sometimes those heavy items can mean big piles of dollars: men’s work boots, winter coats, and multiple orders. They also mean you need something bigger and sturdier than a polyvinyl or Flat Rate envelop. Here are your choices:

  • USPS Priority Rate
  • USPS Parcel Select
  • FedEx Smart Post
  • FedEx Home Delivery
  • UPS

The Ebay label printing service drop down menu “Compare Services” is the quickest way to find the best shipment for your package. And when you look at the list of services and the prices, you’ll ask:

“But what about media rate? It’s super cheap!”

Yes it is. And it is exclusively for MEDIA–books, CDs, videos, DVDs. Clothes do not qualify. If you try to use Media Rate service, the PO will figure it out and and send your package back to you, and you’ll have to buy another label. You cheater, you.

FedEx and Priority Rate can be similarly priced if the shipping distance isn’t far. FedEx SmartPost is usually a little cheaper than Priority, but it can take up to 2 weeks to ship since it is an economy service. One major caveat is that you cannot ship to or from a PO Box–you must have physical addresses. You also need to use your own packaging.

If your buyer needs an item quickly, don’t use FedEx Smart Post. Go with Priority. The great thing about Priority is that the USPS offers a wide variety of boxes with the cost of the service, available through the USPS website. Your credit card information is not required and delivery is free, so if I use Priority rate, I save money on packaging by using USPS Priority Boxes. Go ahead and order a few boxes now because delivery can take up to 2 weeks. I recommend ordering 5 shoeboxes and 5 large mailing boxes.

As for USPS Parcel Select, I’ve never used it. It is an economy service, so the delivery estimates are longer than Priority and it’s still more expensive than FedEx SmartPost.

FedEx Home Delivery and UPS services are only for really big, heavy shipments. I don’t believe I’ve ever needed to use them for a clothing shipment, although I had used them to ship china, several strollers, and large electronic equipment. If you need to ship bulk lots, you may need to use these services. The good news is they are both very reliable and usually pretty quick, with an average delivery time of 3-4 business days.

Questions about shipping lightweight items? Try The Cheapest Way to Ship Clothing #1: Polyvinyl Envelops and The Cheapest Way to Ship Clothing #2: USPS Flat Rate Priority.

 

The Cheapest Way to Ship Clothing #2: USPS Flat Rate Priority

In my previous post, The Cheapest Way to Ship Clothing: Polyvinyl Envelops, I talked about lightweight, plastic envelops and the USPS First Class shipping service. But what about clothing that is fragile, heavy, or rigid? That’s where the USPS Flat Rate Envelop, Regional Rate, and Medium Flat rate boxes come in handy.

 

The USPS includes these envelops and boxes as part of the cost of Priority Flat Rate shipping services. This means they are not “free”, they are included in the price of the service. If you use them without buying the priority service they were meant for, you’re stealing and that’s illegal, people. You’d be amazed what you can cram into a Flat Rate or Legal Flat Rate envelop! As long as you can close the original adhesive seal (which, by the way, you can reinforce with tape), and it weighs under 70 pounds, the PO will ship it for $6.45 (even less if you print your labels from Ebay!).

The Regional Rate Box A & A2 (same rate boxes, different shapes) has variable cost scale based on the distance of shipping, or “zone”. For zone 1, it’s about $6, and it goes all the way up to zone 9, at $15. These boxes can be the cheapest method to ship if your item is heavy and doesn’t fit in a Flat Rate Envelop.

Although your local Post Office will carry some of these priority boxes and envelops, they won’t carry all of them. It’s easier to go to the USPS website and order what you need. Delivery is free and your credit card information is not required to make an order.

Here’s my recommended Ebay Fashion Reseller USPS Shipping Starter Kit:

  • 10 Flat Rate Envelops
  • 10 Legal Flat Rate Envelops
  • 5 Regional Rate A boxes
  • 5 Regional Rate A2 boxes
  • 5 Medium Flat Rate Boxes

The PO can take up to 2 weeks to get everything to you, so don’t wait until a customer places an order to get your boxes–order in advance.

But what about all those other services? Priority, media rate, FedEx SmartPost, Parcel Select– read The Cheapest Way to Ship Clothing #3: Heavy Items. For info on shipping lightweight items, read my previous post The Cheapest Way to Ship Clothing #1: Polyvinyl Envelops.

The Cheapest Way to Ship Clothing: Polyvinyl Envelops

One of the reasons I focus on reselling fashion in my ebay store is because it is so inexpensive and easy to ship. It’s not heavy or fragile. Me and thousands of other ebay resellers use the same tried and true tool to ship clothing: the polyvinyl envelop.

 

It’s a thin but sturdy plastic envelop with an adhesive strip. Simply fold your clothing, slide it in the envelop, and slap the label on. It’s ready to go. And since it only weighs 0.25 ounces on average, it adds negligible weight. They cost $0.03-$0.07 a piece, cheaper if you go with good old gray, and more expensive if you buy in smaller lots and other colors. These are much, much cheaper than bubble wrap envelops and lighter than cardboard envelops.

I’ve ordered from ValueMailers for several years now. They ship fast and provide a consistent, high quality product (and I’m saying this because I believe it, not because I’ve been buttered up with some kind of sponsorship).

As long as an item weighs 16 ounces or less, I will use USPS First Class shipping service with these envelops. I also use them with international shipments and FedEx SmartPost. I’ll even ship shoes in these bad boys if their weight qualifies. Of course, if something is fragile, brittle, or easily bent, I use a stiff envelop or a box.

When an item weighs over 16 ounces, it no longer qualifies for the USPS cheapest shipping method–First Class. I’ll talk about heavier items in my next post: The Cheapest Way to Ship Clothing #2: USPS Flat Rate Priority and finally, The Cheapest Way to Ship Clothing #3: Heavy Items.

 

Ebay Question: Should I Offer International Shipping?

 

YES!

YES! YES! YES!

Now, don’t go reading any forums about ebay and international shipping because you’ll find hundreds of disgruntled people who sent iPhones to some war torn country and then found out their package got “lost” and had to refund $600 to the buyer and never saw their phones again. But that ain’t you. You’re shipping clothes, and those rarely get stolen.  (That’s what my blog is all about, reselling fashion and accessories. If you’re trying to ship gold bars or something, you should ask somebody who’s done that. That someone is not me.)

I’ve shipped nearly 100 items internationally and never had anything go missing. I’m guessing that “women’s sweater” listed on the customs form isn’t real enticing to those mustache twirling bad guys sorting the mail. In almost every case, my international packages have ended up exactly where they were supposed to be.

“Aren’t customs forms complicated?” you ask.

The answer is, nope, absolutely not, unless you ask a Postal worker about them. Please don’t do this, you’ll just get confused. Use the Ebay label printing service. All you have to do is type in what’s in the package (like “women’s pants” or “men’s shirt” or whatever broad category your item falls into). Then print your label, write the date, and sign your name. Your postal carrier can pick up your international packages just like any other package.

I’ve seen many ebay sellers insist on using USPS Priority International because it is slightly faster, includes insurance, and offers more precise tracking info. Unfortunately, it is prohibitively expensive. The cheapest priority rate offering by the USPS (without ebay label discount) is $33. The same package sent First Class International would cost $11. I think for the additional $22, you can afford to self-insure and there is still some basic tracking provided through ebay. You’ll also get more international business by offering more affordable shipping services. It’s a win-win.

“What about that Global Shipping Program Ebay offers?”

I looked into it and decided it was not for me. It was  going to add transit time to my packages since it involves sending orders to an Ebay sorting facility here in the states, and then letting them ship your package internationally. It’s already so easy to ship internationally anyhow, why would I get Ebay to do it? My advice is to do your own international shipping with USPS First Class International and relax. After you’ve completed a few international shipments, you’ll wonder what you were so worried about.

Do you have questions about reselling clothing on ebay? Ask in the comments below!

Ebay Question: Should I Offer Free Shipping?

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This is a beleaguered point within the eCommerce community. There are supporters of both sides. But here’s my point of view, offered specifically for you guys and gals who are focusing on reselling fashion on a small scale.

Don’t do it.

If you’re a small business, one or two person show, with a low operating budget, you don’t have the resources to absorb the cost of “free shipping” and believe me, it will cost you. The simple fact that you are buying at thrift stores and liquidation, and offering your items at rock bottom prices, doesn’t leave you much financial room for marketing strategies like “Free Shipping.” There is no such thing as free shipping, just disguised shipping, and somebody is paying for it.

Here’s the only advantage:

PRO:

  • It may bump up your listings in the Ebay search results.

Notice that I say it “MAY” as in, it also may not. Those search algorithms change and there are a lot of other factors playing into the search bot’s calculations.

CONS:

  • Your price appears higher than your calculated shipping competition, even  if it’s really not.
  • You have to charge more for shipping than may be necessary to account for shipping an item farther. This is especially true for heavy or awkwardly shaped items (like boots or coats).
  • Your buyer doesn’t know how much they are spending on the item and how much is the shipping costs.
  • If the item is returned, Ebay’s return management system does not give you the option of deducting actual original shipping costs. You just have to eat it.

The most compelling reason I have for using calculated shipping is that Ebay does not require sellers to offer free shipping to qualify for Top Rated status. So with that in mind, all those CONs staring me in the face, I offer calculated or flat shipping rates.

Do you agree? Do you have a pressing Ebay fashion resale question? Comment below!