eBay Packaging and Shipping Tips for Sellers

ebay packaging boxes


ebay packaging boxes

Sturdy boxes are very important for ensuring safe arrival of fragile items shipped to customers. Don’t use lightweight, crumpled boxes!eBay packaging and shipping are very important parts of your internet selling business, yet many sellers alienate buyers by failing to package and ship valuable items with care, which leads to damaged products and negative buyer feedback.In this post, we will discuss methods for building customer loyalty and business efficiency by establishing smart packaging practices.


eBay Packaging and Shipping Tips and Etsy Packaging Tips

1.  Your brand and feedback rating both depend directly on your customers receiving quality items!  You cannot eliminate all breakage by shipping companies, but there should be very few packages that you send that end up having broken contents. DO NOT SKIMP ON PADDING! Do not try to save a couple of cents by only using a single layer of bubble wrap if you are shipping a breakable item.

2. The more professional your Etsy and eBay packages look, the better. Many home business owners ship in salvaged packaging (See #1 in Saving Money), and that is OK. As your business grows, look into including your packaging into your branding. The better your packages look, the more return customers you will have. I also think that UPS and USPS damage fewer packages that look professional.

3.  Use boxes that fit the item that you are shipping. DO NOT SHIP IN BOXES THAT ARE TOO SMALL. It’s tempting to use that box that is just a tad small – just stretch it a bit, and tape it shut – right? Wrong! Items shipped in boxes that are too small are much more likely to get damaged during shipping. Tape comes loose, edges get ripped and any contact with the sides of the box can break fragile items.

4.  Veteran sellers think about packaging issues BEFORE they buy an item to resell. Bulky or odd shaped items are a pain in the butt to package. They take more time to package, you sometimes have to locate over-sized boxes to ship in, and it costs extra money for padding. Your customers will also have to pay more than usual for shipping fees. Make sure that the item is worth the extra hassle.

5.  Items SHOULD NOT MOVE AROUND INSIDE THE BOX. Even if the item is not likely to break, you should still put padding between the item and the box. For non-fragile items, you can use free padding like crumpled newspaper or grocery bags. For glass items, use bubble wrap or Styrofoam. Items that slide around inside the box can bump against the sides causing punctures or ripping open the flaps.

6.  Heavy items require heavy-duty boxes and strapping tape. Heavy boxes are more likely to get damaged. Use strapping tape to keep the box from coming open.

7. Consider selling items that are easy to package and ship.  Media items, for instance, have defined shapes. CDs, DVDs, vinyl records, trade paperback books, and video games are all basically the same shape. In other words, you can order boxes that are designed to ship these items in. You can get free Priority Mail boxes through the USPS to ship these items in, although you will also have to buy boxes to ship these items in, as they can be shipped using USPS Media Mail at a discount to your buyers. Even though you have to spend money for eBay boxes, you will make up part of that expense in time saved while packaging, and by spending less on padding and tape because the items fit the boxes better.

8. Keep a supply of free USPS Priority Mail boxes on hand. They can in a variety of sizes, including Flat Rate boxes and envelopes. Always offer your customers Priority Mail shipping in your auctions and Expedited shipping through Amazon. It’s much cheaper and faster to package items into the free pack-and-seal Priority Mail boxes. If you are shipping media items, you will have to offer Media Mail shipping.

For all other packages, you may elect to offer free shipping. That way, you set the start price high enough to allow for your packaging in the free Priority Mail boxes. eBay also currently charges sellers closing costs on their shipping fees.

9. Use good tape. We use only the 3″ packaging tape that has an easy-to-use dispenser that allows you to quickly tape boxes shut. You can save yourself endless hours of frustration by using a dispenser that works well. I HATE it when the tape comes free from the end of the dispenser and sticks to the tape roll. Then, you can;t find the loose end of the tape, and then the tape rips in half …Grrr!

10. Set up an eBay Packaging Center. If the area is used ONLY for business, you can claim that portion of your home as a deduction on your income taxes in the US. Your packaging center will also allow you to save time, as you develop a system for packaging items. This also allows you to keep your packaging supplies organized.


Saving Money on eBay Packaging and Shipping Supplies

bubble wrap photo

Bubble wrap is a must for shipping most products, including collectible books and media items. Fragile items need multiple layers on bubble wrap or air-filled pads.

  • Start saving those boxes! Also save padding. While you’re at it, have your friends and neighbors save packaging materials for you. As long as the boxes are sturdy enough to use for shipping, keep them. You can save room by breaking down the boxes and stacking them in your storage area. You can also use crumpled newspapers or grocery bags to ship items that are not fragile.
  • Buy in BULK. You can save a lot of overhead money by buying several months’ worth of packaging materials at one time. Rotate your purchases, and buy when you have a Paypal balance from eBay sales. Buy padding one month, boxes the next month, and tape several times a year. See the product boxes below. We use Value Mailers eBay Store for buying most of our eBay packaging materials in bulk. We did a lot of price checking to arrive at that decision.
  • Don’t WASTE eBay packaging supplies. Don’t skimp on padding, as we talked about in the tips, but don’t throw money away, either. Packaging overhead adds up over time. Use the correct amount of tape, for instance. Use free Priority boxes when you can. Use the correct sizes of boxes, so you don;t have to use excess bubble wrap.
  • Check out our eBay Shipping and Amazon Shipping web pages for information on how to use internet postage sites and free USPS pick-ups to augment your savings and streamline your business.
  • Pick certain days of the week to do all of your packaging. Time is money, and as you develop a routine, you will become faster at packaging and save yourself time and money. Not to mention, packaging is boring work. Don’t burn yourself out by packaging 5 or 6 days a week.
  • Writing anything on boxes takes a lot more time than you would think. One box is not a big deal, but stretch that into hundreds of boxes, and it is a huge time and money saver to avoid hand-writing on boxes.Buy a stamper.
  • Print out shipping labels using internet postage or eBay shipping labels. These labels also have your return address printed on them. You will also want to buy a ‘FRAGILE’ rubber stamp set. You will use it often, and it is well worth the affordable cost for the eBay packaging tool.


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