One of the down sides of buying on-line rather than on the high street is the need to pay delivery costs. This downside is often compounded by e-tailers who try to make a lot of additional profit by adding a substantial 'handling fee' to the delivery costs. In fact, there's nothing that makes an eshopper more angry then deciding to purchase an item and finding out that the delivery and handling charges have removed any savings they thought they were getting. Here are some tips for handling delivery that can increase your sales as well as boosting customer confidence in you as a seller.

Be clear

State your delivery policies in your description. Don't make people guess about how your delivery policies work.

Use an easy-to-understand calculation method, if possible

If you sell products that are relatively uniform in weight or size, you can create a chart that tells people what to expect, e.g.:

1-5 jewelry items 3.50
6-10 jewelry items 6.50

This type of chart actually gives buyers an incentive to buy more because they will pay the same delivery for one or five items. (You will need to set your prices so that you recoup your extra delivery costs.)

You can make a similar chart by weight, if your items tend to have different weights. (Remember to list the weight in your description so your buyer can easily determine the fee.)

However you choose to handle delivery charges, be sure that your delivery cost is clear. Today, most Internet buyers have an option to sort search results by price + shipping. An item with a blank or unspecified delivery cost field will rank lower in this buyer optional sort.

Shipping Calculator

You can add a postage calculator to your description so that the user can accurately predict the delivery charge. Your programmer can easily create a custom script that easily calculates postage and packaging charges based on number of units, weight or a combination of both.

Encourage combined shipping

Unless you are a seller who makes a good profit on delivery charges and handling, you should encourage combined shipping to save buyers money on the delivery charges. This method is also an excellent way to create urgency by encouraging buyers to purchase more products today so they can save on the delivery costs.

NOTE: One of the underlying assumptions of combined shipping is that you have a wide enough variety of products available to provide buyers the opportunity for multiple purchases.

If you are an eBay seller and tend to list a certain number of items each week in order to spread out the listing burden over the month, you may want to consider listing in larger batches so that your customers have more to choose from at any given point in time.

Try shipping promotions

The more ways you can diminish the burden of delivery, the better. If you can afford it, try a 'free delivery this week' promotion to move excess product in your inventory. Or, 'spend 100 and delivery is free'. Encourage additional purchases with an offer of, 'buy 5 or more and shipping is free'.

Finally, the more ways that you can show your customers that you are 'on their side' when it comes to saving money on shipping, the more trust you will build, and with trust come purchases.