Category Archives: expense control

FBA Shipping Charges

We’ve been traveling in our RV for the past month with another month to go. Amazon FBA has steadily been putting cash into our bank account with little intervention required on our part.

We did check up, of course, because it just didn’t seem possible that we could leave home, and still have business results. It’s true! Business kept sailing along every day.

That’s the best. Continue reading FBA Shipping Charges

Saving Money on Postage

Our online business ships physical products to our customers around the world. We spend plenty on postage.

If we simply took our packages to the Post Office, we’d get adequate service, and would pay full retail for all postage services.

We don’t do that.

Neither do we subscribe to a postage service that charges a monthly fee.

We ship using the eBay Shipping service for our eBay sales, and  the PayPal service for our other postage. Now and then, we also use the USPS.com Click n Ship program.

Why?

Because we save money, getting our postage for Wholesale.

For example, we get a small discount on every “stamp”. We also get free Delivery Confirmation for every Priority package, and only $0.17 along with other services. The regular price for DC is $0.85.V

We also use as many of the USPS Priority shipping packaging as we can.

These cagey savings lowers our potential shipping charges by 10%. We can pass that on, and routinely do. Or we can actually make a penney or two on our really competitive products.

How do you save money on postage?

Save Money on Your eBay Listing Fees

We have been selling stuff on eBay for a few years, now. It’s how we  generate most of our online revenue.

eBay Inc.
Image via Wikipedia

I had a lightbulb “doh!” moment a few days ago. I’d like to share so maybe you won’t hurt yourself slapping your own forehead.

eBay’s Changing Environment

eBay, in its own efforts to attract more high-volume Sellers and to settle the fears of new Buyers, has been re-working various fees and listing policies. Most notoriously, they have removed the option for a Buyer to use personal checks or Money orders as a method of payment, and forced most Sellers to accept PayPal as their only means of payment.

But, eBay has also raised the Final Value Fees on items sold from a Store, lowered the fees to List a Fixed Price item, and the fees for any Book or CD/DVD.

This is all wonderful and confusing and maddening and generating “who-knows-what-this-will-do-to-MY-business” howls from Sellers of every business level.

One change we have taken advantage of is the new Fixed Price Listing fee structure. They are now just a Flat Fee. For a single price of $0.35, we can create a Fixed Price Listing offering unlimited number of the item. It used to be based on the Total represented by the cost times the quantity. Now – Flat Fee for any quantity/price offering.

Yay!

The Gold Among Dross Secret

But, buried in these changes was a simple concept that I had overlooked or dismissed as not important.

Was I ever wrong.

It was a simple change to a previously forbidden or very restrictive policy. This is found in their “Circumventing Fees” examples.

Choice Listings – A listing where a seller allows buyers to choose from a selection of completely different items.  In general, sellers are permitted to offer a choice of sizes, colors and configurations of a particular item within a listing,  However, a listing may not offer buyers a choice of completely different items.

This is the final piece:

Listing a single item but offering additional identical items for sale in the item description is not permitted.

Exception: Multiple quantities may be sold in one listing through the following formats:

  • Dutch auction-type listing
  • Fixed Price listing
  • Lot listing

So What?

As it turns out, we sell primarily Brand New items. We do a good buying job, and then offer them on eBay and our other online store, www.bobbibopstuff.com.

We sell 8 different designs of the same Locking Diary for teens. We sell a dozen different designs of Blank Book Journals. We sell several items that are identical except for design or color.

All Righty Then!

My lightbulb is that I now only need to create a single listing for Teen Diaries, show all the design choices, and ask the Buyer to indicate how many of each design they want.

I can then keep track of how many are left. As we run out of a particular design (which happens far more often that I generally keep track of) I can modify the hosted photo of that design to say “Sold Out” and then any and all my listings with that design are current as to availability.Ordinarily, I will have 3 or 4 listings of a design, sell out, and then have to find and cancel the remaining ones – wasting the listing fees in the process.

WooHoo! I cut my listings to only a fraction of my previous number and I keep track of inventory all in one swell foop.

Conclusion

What did I learn from this? Sure – I learned a technique for saving eBay fees.

Mostly, I learned to look a bit more slowly at the fine print, and to think more seriously about always finding ways to improve my business. Saving a dime is a dime more of profit. Save enough dimes, and the Profit dollars begin to add up.

What did you learn?

John L

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