Overcharging on Shipping on Ebay may Harm International Sales

I’m a chronic overcharger of shipping. I weigh the object, and then add two or three ounces for a mailer, and one or two pounds if it’s going in a box.

It’s a psychological weakness: I just don’t like to take a loss on shipping.

That means I make a small profit on shipping. According to my records, I’m making a 15% profit on shipping – that is, I am overcharging by 15% on average.

This isn’t that evil, in the larger scheme of things. I don’t factor in the cost of packaging, which, if I bought it, would be pretty expensive.

This habit, however, may be costing me international sales.

That’s because, unlike me, Ebay takes the entered weight as an accurate weight, when it’s calculating the shipping for the Global Shipping Program. The more your package weighs, the more it costs to ship.

That added pound I tacked onto the weight may be costing the international customer a few more dollars.

That added shipping cost may be deterring some international customers from buying the product.


So, going forward, I need to alter my system a little bit.

  1. I must take many items and pre-package them before listing them. This way, I can calculate the weight accurately.
  2. I must enter the exact weight.
  3. I must pre-order all my shipping supplies ahead of time, so I have them ready to use.
  4. I must add on a handling fee to cover the additional cost of packaging, because it’s no longer going to be absorbed into the cost of postage.


Improving my weight performance also requires a more drastic change to my sourcing, because the up-front costs of listing are greater. I basically can’t afford as many mistakes in sourcing.  I need to make sure things will sell.

Of course, not everything must be pre-packed. Numerous uniform items, like CDs or DVDs, or even books and clothing, use the same mailers, so you can just add the 1 or 2 ounces for the packaging, and know the weight will be accurate.

Items shipped by Media Mail don’t need such precise weighing, because prices increase in increments of 50 cents per pound. There’s a lot of room for error, and the consequences are minimal.

For two-pound non-book items, though, an accurate weight makes a difference.

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