Ok, let me start this page off by saying....I LOVE Australia Post!
Not only do they offer the best service and prices in Australia, but they are also delivery to every nook and cranny we have here....and that's alot of places. Most of the advise and tips you will find on this page will be based around Australia Post.
Postage in listings -
Always make sure that you clearly display all postage costs in your listing, so buyers can make an informed decision as to whether to purchase from you or not. It is better to loose a sale now, than have the grief of the buyer winning your auction and then refusing to pay because your postage costs in their mind is too high.
There are too ways of sorting your postage (well two main ways) and that is to offer at fixed rate for everyone regardless of where they are situated or to offer different prices for different areas.
Always pack your items in clean secure packaging and if you are charging extra for better packaging due to say selling china or something fragile (for example) and it means your postage might be dearer than other in your category make sure you draw attention to the fact in your listing.
In my experience buyers do not mind paying more for proper packaging, they do however mind (ALOT) paying extra for postage and having the item turn up unsecured.
You have an obligation to your customers to make sure the item gets to them how it left you. It also promotes you as a professional and trustworthy seller.
I find to increase buyer trust in your listings, tell them exact how the item will be posted, say in a satchel, wrapped in bubble wrap and then boxed, etc. Buyers are on a whole frightened of paying over the odds for postage, only to have the item sent in a plain envelope with a $1 stamp on it... alleviate those fears for them.
If you have larger item or you wish to tailor your postage costs as dependant on where the buyers lives, you will have three options.
calculate postage after the auctions or listings end - NOT recommended, as buyer will have to email you to ask for the price for their post code and many people can not be bothered, so you will lose sales. Alternatively they may disagree with your postage price after the sale, which can get ugly, as mentioned above.
Set out a chart in your listing specifying each postage rate you have, this is effective, but obviously time consuming to do for each different item.
Purchase a postage calculator which can be coded easily into your listings.
Which allows your customers to input their post code and if they would like insurance/registration,etc and the calculator will work out the cost of the postage working on on information you have provided.
Not only do these calculators look stylish and professional, they will save many hours of work, putting postage costs into your listings.
I personally recommend the "OZISH POSTAGE CALCULATOR", which is a 100% Australian Product, which excellent customer service to match a great product.
You can find out more about the Ozish Postage Calculator here .
All Ozish calculator sales are done via ebay. Helpmyauction.com does not received any commissions from the sale of this product.
Let's look at some options via Australian Post;
Postage only - we will talk about packaging options later-
Items under 250gms (total including packaging), cost $4.00
Items under 500gms (total including packaging), cost $5.20
Once an item gets over 500 grams, the postage will depend on where in Australia you want to send it. Check for the full list of rates here.
The main thing to remember with parcels is that for weight over 1kg, the postage will be charged on the weight OR the cubic volume whichever is greater. This is the "cubing rule" and you need to watch out for it as it will blow your postage quote right out of the water.
I can tell you now, if you get your postage price incorrect in the listing, very few buyers would agree to pay more. In general in works on a you quote, you deal with it, kind of way.
A great options for items under 3 kgs, that are not overly large, is satchels.
These are prepaid and have two sizes, up to 500gms and up to 3kg.
You can fit as much as will fit into these satchels up to the weight specified and they post Australia Wide. Perfect for giving a flat rate.
3kg - $9.30.
These satchel are perfect for getting around the cubing rule for small but heavy items that you would prefer to house in a box. If it weights over 1kg and is a box shape you will pay the cubic weight, as mentioned above.
If you pop your box into a 3kg satchel, suddenly the price is fixed at $8.80 a huge saving especially if it is going to a remote (thus expensive) area. Remember to secure any objects inside of the satchel. I used clean, empty shopping/plastic bags, or bubble wrap or even newspaper, to make sure there is nothing rattling around in the bag.
I use the pre-paid satchels for posting clothing in and they are just great for providing fixed cost postage right around Australia.
TIP - If you buy the satchel in lots of 10 you will get a 5% discount off of the price. If you buy them in lots of 100, you will save yourself 10%
For really small and/or thin items, you can also post them as a large letter You must ensure you take the appropriate precautions with the packaging, as they will be put through the general letter sorter, which can reek havoc with thin envelopes and thus your item.
I suggest using Australia Post tough bag envelopes, they are thick and study and cheap if bought in bulk. B4 Tough Bags are the PERFECT maximum size for large letters.
I would never suggest using a yellow or white general envelope for posting anything other than letters. I received a book in just a yellow paper envelope once and whilst by some miracle it arrived ok, I was less than impressed and never used that seller again!
The best way to work out what can go for large letter rates is to get a FREE gauge from Australia Post.
If it fits through the large letter slot - 360mm(width) x260mm (height) x 20mm (Depth or thickness), it will go as a large letter, as long as the max weight is 500gms.
The prices vary from;
$1.00 - up to 125g.
$1.45 125g to 250g.
$2.45 250g to 500g.
So for small and light items, it can be very cost effective to send items as a large letter.
Express Post -
You can also get express post pre-paid satchels;
These work just like regular parcel satchel, except for many areas of Australia they will be sent overnight. They also include a tracking number, which, whilst doesn't provide online tracking, it can be used to determine if an item arrived at it's destination. You can ring 131318 and quote the tracking number and the rep will tell you the date and time it was scanned into the local delivery centre and then when it was delivered.
Express post does not provide a signature from the receiver, so whilst it is good for piece of mind and to calm most buyers down if a parcel goes AWOL, it will not be considered proof of delivery for most credit card payment providers in the event of a dispute.
Prices for the express satchels;
500g - $7.40
3kg - $10.50
You can also send larger parcels express post, you will pay the relevant express post rate which is normally just a little dearer than regular parcel post. Your local post office will give you a stick to put on the parcel to show it is express post.
The discount structure for these satchels work the same as for the regular satchels.
TIP - If you order more than $50 worth of postage supplies from Australia Post by fax or over the phone, they will delivery them the next day for FREE!
Platinum Post satchel work in the same way as express satchel with the exceptions, that it provides online tracking and a signature from the receiver. You can track the parcel online and it is guaranteed to arrive overnight before 12pm for most capitol cities. This sort of "proof of postage" will be accepted by the majority of credit card facility providers as proof of delivery, though you need to check with your provider before making a decision.
Platinum post satchels cost;
500g - $11.90
3kg - $15.90
Great for piece of mind and speedy delivery. You can check with the Australia Post website for the areas included in the express post and platinum post overnight networks.
Registered Post -
Any parcel or large letter can be registered for your piece of mind. All registrations include up to $100 insurance against loss or damage.
Please note satchels can not be registered!
Registration of parcels or large letters cost $2.70 (including the first $100 of insurance). Additional insurance can be purchased at the cost of $1.20 for each additional $100 or there part of.
You are required to fill in a form when lodging registered mail, which acts as your receipt should you need to make a claim against the insurance offered. If you are going to be sending alot of items via registered post, you can ask at your local postage office, for a multiple lodgment form, which means that all registered items for that day can go into one form, cutting down time spent filling them out.
Registered mail needs a signature from the receiver, so it is a secure form of postage that most credit card processors will accept as proof of delivery.
TIP - You can buy pre-paid registered postage stickers in packs of 50 for the cost of $102.50, this works out to only $2.05 per sticker. A big saving over $2.60 if bought singularly.
Australia Post offer a great range of envelopes, tough bags, padded bags and boxes, plus loads of assorted goodies.
You will find on packaging that if you are to buy things in lots of 10 you will receive a 10% discount, so unless you know for a fact you can't use all 10 of whatever it is your after, then make sure you always purchase in lots of 10.
If your budget can stretch that far, try buying in lots of 100, as they discounts really start to make a difference then. The discounts will vary on each product.
For an example the B4 Tough bags, if purchased in lots of 100, will get you a 60% discount....that's right less than half retail price. The b4's retail for $1.10 each, but if bought in lots of 100, they come down to a tiny $0.44c each.
If you are posting out alot of item, these can either work out as big savings you can pass onto your buyer and make you more competitive with your postage quotes. Alternatively, you could charge your buyer full rate, it's is what they would pay if you didn't get the discount and keep the rest as a handling fee, or even as a buffer against postage mishaps.
Postage Mishaps, I can hear you crying out, what are those. Being human, you will eventually find yourself in the position where you have sent the wrong item to the customer. I have done it and eventually, if you start selling online regularly, you will too. Obviously you couldn't ask the poor buyer to pay the postage costs to return the item to you, so you will need to reimburse them for the costs they incur.
If you have a postage buffer, you can afford this type of incident...every now and again, that is. It is also handy if you wish to give a complimentary postage upgrade, say buyer pays for regular post but you send it registered for them. That sort of thing. There is also the dreaded postage miscalculation, where you have quoted one price, only to get to the post office and find out it's going to cost waaaaayyyy more...oops.
One last topic for the postage page....handling fees...hmmmm...very controversial!
It is up the the seller, if they wish to charge more than what it costs you to post the item. I'm not talking about pocketing the savings you get from any discounts. You are entitled to those savings as you either have to pay interest on the costs (if you paid via credit card), or you are losing interest from not having that money in savings.
Charging for packaging is NOT handling costs, postbags do not grow on trees, so you shouldn't be expected to give them away for nothing.
It is acceptable to charge a little extra than cost for postage/packaging. This could cover things like, bubble wrap, printing, labels and even your own time packaging the item.
Remember though when deciding on whether to charge any handling, that buyers DO look at postage costs and they do like the best deal, so it is good to be competitive in this area.
What handling shouldn't cover is ebay fees, paypal fees, your coffee on the way to the post office, your profit or anything else not associated with parceling up the item.
In reality if you are charging a handling fee you can spend it on what you like, but if you ever tell a buyer when questioned about the breakdown of postage costs, that it covers your profit or your ebay fees, you can be reported to ebay or to whatever other site your using.
If you will allow me to get on the soap box for just a moment, remember to give buyers what they pay for. If you have charged $6.00 regular post for a top, for example, please use proper packing or a satchel to ensure the item gets there in perfect condition. There is nothing worse as a buyer than paying good money for postage $5, $8, $10, $15 or more and the item rocks up, in a thin yellow paper envelope with a $1 stamp on it....people will get cross at you and rightly so.
If your handling fee is on the large side....like I said, it's up to you...you should at least tell the buyer in your listing HOW you will be posting the item, so there is no confusion as to what they are paying for.
Enjoy your posting and don't forget the staff at Australia post are always willing to help you select the right packaging, so don't be scared to ask for help....especially at a business centre, they are fully trained in ways to save you money.
Resource: Help Me Auction
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