If you currently run an eBay store or you are considering starting one, you are probably interested in learning how successful store owners keep up with all their orders — and still have time to do other essential business tasks. The answer is simple: They use online post and shipping services.
The advent of online post and shipping services is part of what makes the eBay store concept so wildly successful. Imagine if you open your store and get five new orders per day. Without online services for postage and shipping, you would have to print off each order, manually type in the customer’s address, pack and seal the box, then wait at the post office while each box is weighed and posted. It would take you hours. Now, you can automate these functions and have more time to actually run your business.
Defining “Direct Integration”
Today’s online postage and shipping services offer what is called “direct integration” with services like Amazon and eBay. What this means is that your eBay store and the online postage and shipping software can directly “talk” to each other. You will need to follow the setup instructions provided by the software to allow the communication. Once you have done this, you can import information about each customer’s order into your online postage and shipment service system to select the proper postage and print the right shipment forms for each shipment.
The eBay Functionality You Need
Beyond direct integration, online post and shipping services also offer additional essential functionality you need to run a successful eBay store. The following are some highlights of what these systems do.
- Direct import of shipping information by customer order. Instead of having to manually re-enter the customer’s shipment information (which can easily lead to errors) you can simply import the customer’s shipping address it as they entered it on eBay.
- Customized shipping label options to brand your postal labels with logos or slogans. You can use your own custom-branded labels to build your brand.
- Automatically calculates available postage and shipping discounts. You can ensure the customer always gets the best shipping rates to their area.
- Ships to all USPS (U.S. Postal Service) postage classes. You can now offer the customer different USPS shipping rates (such as first class or media mail).
- Offers automatic shipment tracking options for you and the eBay customer. Now, both you and your customers can track shipments until they safely arrive.
Third-Party Shipping Solutions
Since most online post and shipping services are not set up to handle huge numbers of daily orders, you may also want to consider these third-party shipping solutions that can give you the ability to print postage and shipping labels in bulk. This can become especially handy if you have certain orders that are renewed regularly.
- ShipWorks. ShipWorks is a software solution with a package designed just for eBay store owners. With ShipWorks, you can print batches of shipping labels at once, download your eBay order history to print postage, create and edit invoices, leave and respond to customer feedback and more. There are two ShipWorks versions: the free version for smaller eBay stores and a fee-based version for larger stores and other fulfilment houses (such as Amazon and PayPal).
- ShipStation. ShipStation is designed for multiple fulfilment houses, including eBay. It supports shipments among different carriers (like USPS and FedEx) and allows seamless, real-time integration for shopping cart and inventory management tools.
- Shiplark by Webgility. Shiplark by Webgility has a customizable online interface that allows you to set up your order management system to your liking. It integrates with many of the large order fulfillment systems, and gives you the option to process and ship orders individually or in bulk batches. Best of all, Shiplark can calculate rates between various carriers and ship to any carrier you specify.
With all of these services available to you, running a successful eBay-based business and expanding your order capacity has never been easier. Save your customers money on shipping, and ensure a safe and timely delivery every time.
About the Author: Andy Marx travels nearly year-round for his consulting business. Rather than have to locate post services in each new city, he brings his post office with him on his laptop.