With the online holiday shopping season in full swing, post offices and parcel services will be deluged with packages, envelopes and other precious bundles that must be sorted, processed, transported and delivered to their destinations, all before Santa Claus officially loads up his sleigh.
Amid the jostling and hullabaloo, something is bound to get lost or brokenor worse, stolen. That's why at this time of year, more than any other, it's wise to be extra diligent in your packing and shipping methodsincluding purchasing shipping insurance for every package.
According to one long-time eBay PowerSeller, shipping insurance is a small investment that can bring lasting returns.
"It's just good common sense during the holidays to insure packages, even if the buyer chooses not to add it when they checkout," says Rebecca Miller, an Auctiva product analyst who goes by bertthedog on eBay. "The small price you pay for the insurance is well worth the peace of mind you get in return. And the buyer will thank you for your forethought if something does happen to their package en route."
Auctiva, eBay's largest certified third-party developer, makes it both easy and inexpensive for sellers to insure packages. Auctiva Insurance can be purchased for any item sold on eBay, including those destined for international addresseseven after the transaction is completed. And because Auctiva receives a bulk discount on the policies it buys, the company passes the savings along to its users. For example, insurance on an item up to $50 costs $1.45 through Auctiva vs. $1.70 through the U.S. Postal Service. Visit Auctiva's online Help center for additional information.
5 shipping tips
Here are a few more suggestions from Miller to help buyers and sellers avoid the delivery mix-ups and mishaps that are more common during the hectic holiday season:
- When sending cards or small packages, deposit them in a secure drop box, not in your mailbox. Thieves know that holiday greeting cards often contain gift cards or money, and will pillage mailboxes until they find what they're looking for.
- If you're expecting a package, pre-arrange a delivery plan in case you aren't home when it arrives. Tell your mail carrier to hold all packages at the post office rather than leaving them at your door. The same goes for UPS/FedEx packages: Give carriers an alternative "drop spot" that is hidden from view.
- Likewise if you have packages to be picked up. Try to arrange a pick-up time when you will be at home, or have a good hiding place for parcels that only your carrier knows.
- When sending packages through USPS, always add delivery confirmation and/or signature confirmation. It's not a 100 percent guarantee, but it seems to help mail carriers get packages to the right recipients.
- Add extra packing materials when boxing items for shipping. Even if all you have for padding is crumpled newspaper, it will help keep the contents from bouncing around in the box during the bumps and jolts along the way to the recipient.
Being extra diligent in your packaging and shipping methods at holiday time can help keep the season merry.
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Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.