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    Tabletop Empires
    • Total posts: 7

    Hello all, I’m fairly new here and this is my first real question (i have a few more to come ;) ) and i’d appreciate any help i can get. I can only hope one day I’ll have the experience to contribute back.

    I run an online store and sell on ebay on the side. we have been in business now for a few months and I currently use Click & send ( Auspost / Ebay’s pre paid boxes and satchels online system) and occasionaly regular post when an item wont fit in those options.

    Currently i would say that my customers packages end up in the following breakup

    30% small box or satchel ($6.50 No weight limit just Size)
    40% Medium Sized box ($10.50 No weight linit Just size)
    15% Large Box or Sstchel ($13.50 No weight Limit Just size)
    15% Won’t fit these box package size forcing me to be badly stung on postage or charging the customer a fortune.

    I run into problems in the following areas – To make the API work with the website i have to weigh each item individually and measure. I did not know this and initially only set the site up with weights only… I have since gone back to certain items and increased the weight to make sure it matches the cubed size and end up in the right box size… a lesson that was usually learned by being stung on postage as it was discovered.

    It would be a big Job to go back and re adjust entirely – we are talking about several thousand items.

    This had left me with the problem of occasionaly (often enough!) being stung with a postage rate discrepancy most often in the customers favour and with a low margin – it really hurts. or, if the customer buys heavy or bulky Items that do not fit in these boxes and the customer gets charged correctly through the site- The postal cost is simply too high.

    I sell several Heavy / Bulky lines where the item would cost $30 – $60 but the postage ends up $20 or more $$ which is just unrealistic and these lines just currently just don’t sell because of it.

    Add this to the fact i have a couple of lines i sell that are classified as dangerous goods that i currently cant even ship and this has led me to seek an eparcel agreement with Auspost.

    I should say also, that it would take alot of the guesswork and adjustments out of what i am currently doing and make my life a lot easier. Not to metion that once i get beyond a volume that i can self post, it will make my life easier as well.

    Now i have contacted australia post and they have agreed in principal to the dangerous goods situation, and given me a quote on the postage. This is based on the fact that am at the very bottom of the requirements for eparcel volume wise, and have no real negotiating power.

    The Situation is, that it would solve a lot of my problems, but that it works out a worse deal for my customers in almost all cases – except the larger parcels. Not significantly worse, but it could turn some suctomers away i think.

    500g or less parcels move to anywhere between $7 and $8.50 location dependant, and all other parcels end up being between Appoximately $11-$13.50

    So it knocks the top end off and makes those orders viable again.

    It takes care of my dangerous goods dilemma and makes my life a lot easier.

    But most of my customers orders end up being $1 to maybe as high as $3 worse off.

    Which to me sounds like quite a bit although i have friends who say it wouldn’t phase them.
    I worry though that it’s a matter of perception…. $8 can just look a lot more than $6 especially on a cheap item – as can the Difference between $10 and $12.

    What would you rather as a customer? Postage that fluctuates, very cheap rates on small cheap things up to expensive for larger things?

    Or the consistancy of basicall knowing what you’ll be charged regardless of what you order…. I guess the eparcel thing is closer to having 2 flat rates.

    Sorry for the long post and any help opinions or suggestions you can provide would be fantastic.

    Many Thanks,


    • Total posts: 11,464

    Hi Daniel,

    Apologies that your post got held up in our moderation queue for a while there, but it’s here now, and I’m sure people will share their own experiences and opinions with you.

    In the meantime, could you please explain the dangerous goods issue in more detail for us? (e.g. what type of items are you talking about). It might influence the suggestions people make.

    All the best,

    • Total posts: 297

    Hi Daniel,

    I would say as long as you are transparent with your postage pricing that is the main thing – but it all depends on your target market.

    Have you done much in the way of market research? Do you know what your customers would prefer?

    Have you tried to find out why the larger items aren’t selling – is it because of the postage cost or because they just aren’t of interest to the people on your site? Do you know this or are you just assuming/guessing? How do you compare to your competitors? Does anyone else sell similar items – and if so what do they do/charge?

    If, as a result of your research, you find that they would sell well then you should probably look at changing your postage. BUT – if it appears that they still wouldn’t sell then maybe consider dropping them altogether and keeping the existing postage arrangements (for now).

    This is all very general though not knowing what it is that you are actually selling. Good luck with your decision


    • Total posts: 1,815

    re Could you please explain the dangerous goods issue in more detail for us? (e.g. what type of items are you talking about).

    Having looked at the website, I believe Tabletop sells some glues for the hobby items and certain glues come under the dangerous goods act. For my laser etching machine I have a supplier who uses Fastway road transport to transport spray glues and other glues that can’t go by air.It doesn’t matter if they are small items – anything that could possibly explode cannot be transported by air – hence the dangerous goods declaration and why it takes longer to deliver, especially if crossing the country.

    Tabletop Empires
    • Total posts: 7

    Hi Guys, thanks for your help so far.

    The dangerous goods are aerosol cans, Acrylic based class 3 dangerous goods. I already have the stock so i would really like to be able to sell it obviously but they are a good selling item so it makes sense to commit to a contract to sell them. A few of my better competitors carry them so i don’t want it to be a point of differentiation.

    In regards to the larger items…

    I have done a little customer research – everyone tends to lean towards whatever their buying pattern would be. I guess its not so much the issue as what is a reasonable threshold people would start to baulk at….. am i hitting it at $11-$13?

    I am getting some abandoned carts and i am pretty sure this is it… The Items created a fair bit of buzz when i got them in and i get a fair few questions around them. They just don’t sell. I probably wouldn’t pay the current postage price on them either.

    They are a line that’s exclusive to me though and it’s a point of differentiation in a market where everyone sells the same things. I have faith they will sell as long as i can get it to my customers at a reasonable price.

    Josh Walker
    • Total posts: 11

    Hi There,

    There are a few other options still available to you as i have just started an Eparcel account with aus post for eparcel and they are;
    keep also using click and send or buy 500gm satchels from aus post under your contract as they will still count to making your quota and i think you can get a decent price on them then from memory in amounts of 100 (10 packs of 10).

    My eparcel account charges $6.63 per 500gm item anywhere in aus with local ones being only $5.88 per 500gm item.
    Another good option im not sure your familiar with eparcel is that items under 500gm do not go on cubic size only weight which could save you money on some items, i figured if i was selling a good amount of an item and have then been able to lower my postage cost, i havent but simply left it where it was to have a better profit margin and with ebay they dont take any profit on youyr shipping costs which is an added bonus..

    I also have an account with TNT Express for large items and international freight. They are very good when you have to send over 22Kg as with aus post you need to pay a base ffe every time you san another carton to the same address. Whereas with tnt it is one consignment with no limit on quantity of boxes.

    I did use fastway which was very cheap with their national satchels but i found them to be very bad service. I.E items were getting lost for weeks then showing up and items getting broken quite often that shouldnt break to start with.

    Hope this gives you some ideas.

    I have now just hit new problems with seo and book keeping which is just a nightmare. I can never keep it upto date.

    Anyways i might start a few forums on these topics.



    • Total posts: 5

    Hi Daniel

    Have you looked at Temando or Jedcart to help with your shipping needs. Particularly with larger bulky items these companies provide competitive rates.


    • Total posts: 3,184

    i would prefer the cost of the postage to be absorbed into the cost of your items.

    Not sure if this is feasible in your niche, but it would solve a huge amount of headaches!

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