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Offering Free Shipping on eBay Could Kill Your Exposure to Google

December 18th, 2011 by Skip McGrath

I drank the eBay Kool Aid on free shipping a long time ago.  The simple reason is because it works.  I have tested my listings both ways and free shipping does increase conversions on eBay.  It works all years around, but it really works well during the holidays.

One of the major downsides to offering free shipping is that you pay eBay a final value fee on the shipping amount you build into your price –and believe me that adds up.  So you not only have to add the shipping cost into your price but you should also add a little bit for the extra fee also.

But it turns out there is another major disadvantage to offering free shipping.  Most sellers like me put the words “free shipping” right into the listing title to get the buyer’s attention.  It turns out that if you do that, Google will not index your listing.  I learned that just this morning when I read Ina Stenier’s blog: Could Offering Free Shipping on eBay Hurt Your Google SEO?If you are offering free shipping in your eBay listings, I  strongly recommend you read Ina’s post.



Comment from Don
Time December 19, 2011 at 8:32 am

You mention in your post that adding shipping to the price or your item, that you pay ebay fees on the final value. I was under the impression that the new ebay policies, that ebay is now charging their fees on the shipping charges. Could you clarify this?

Comment from Skip McGrath
Time December 19, 2011 at 3:06 pm

No – they only charge final value fees on the final value. But if that FV includes an amount you built in to cover the free shipping then you are paying it there.

Comment from Christy
Time December 29, 2011 at 2:57 pm

From eBay’s own site, they are in fact charging final fees based on price plus shipping, here’s the quote:
“For most categories and selling formats, the final value fee is based on a percentage of the item’s total cost to the buyer. The item’s total cost to the buyer includes the item price and shipping cost plus any other costs to the buyer (less any sales tax). Any shipping discounts are not included in the final value fee calculation.”

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