// Royal Mail, Post Office & eBay team up to offer 10 top tips for online sellers during lockdown
// Advice comes as small businesses & individual sellers come to terms with store closures and a surge in online shopping
// The three firms outline how to use their services easily, safely, in line with government guidelines on social distancing
Royal Mail, Post Office and eBay have teamed up to publish guidance to help small retailers and online marketplace sellers navigate the surge in consumers turning to online shopping.
The three firms have compiled a list of 10 tips that respond to frequently asked questions from consumers, with the aim of making things easier for businesses when they find themselves struggling to meet demand.
Royal Mail, Post Office and eBay said that in a rush to create an online offering during the ongoing lockdown, it can be easy for small retailers to miss the “tricks-of-the-trade” that help make the transition from high street to online a successful one.
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The top 10 tips are:
- Register on an online marketplace to sell goods – eBay recently waived fees to list and sell for all new businesses registering on its platform until May 31. Getting set up on eBay is simple and can be done via the website or mobile app. Register as a business account and the new seller offer is automatically applied.
- Check whether there are any restrictions which may mean that items you want to sell can’t be sent by post. E.g. they contain prohibited goods or are too large.
- Choose how you are going to ship the items to your customers. You can buy postage at your local Post Office, online via the Royal Mail App or website and on the eBay website.
- Calculate the postage price based on the weight and size of your items – you can do this on the Post Office website, and via the Royal Mail App – and decide whether you include this in the price you charge to customers.
- Decide whether you’re going to allow your buyer to return items and be sure to check out eBay’s returns policy before you start selling.
- Package your items safely and securely, before you take them to the Post Office to help you minimise your time in-branch and protect the safety of yourself and branch staff.
- Ensure you post items within the timeframe stated in your listings.
- Drop off your shipments at a branch that is convenient for you. Check on the Post Office website or Royal Mail app for opening hours.
- Consolidate visits into a Post Office to make as few trips as possible, consider incorporating your trip into your exercise time, as per social distancing guidelines.
- If frequently posting lots of items, customers should consider using Post Office’s free Drop and Go service. Customers can drop off their items, the Post Office will do the weighing and printing of postage, and the customer minimises their time in the branch.
“The delivery of parcels and letters has become even more crucial as a way of keeping the country connected, businesses operating and making sure that people who can’t leave their homes have access to the things they and their families need to thrive,” Royal Mail parcels managing director Nick Landon said.
“For those who can quickly adapt and grow their e-retail business, there are great opportunities.
“This handy guide will be invaluable in helping those new to e-retail, or those needing to expand their operation as they experience an increase in demand for their goods.”
Post Office mails managing director Mark Siviter said: “We recognise just how vital it is for small businesses and online retailers to be able to quickly get parcels and letters out to their clients and customers, while also protecting the safety of both customers and Postmasters.
“Millions of parcels are processed by us every week, and we’ll continue to play our part, as a partner to small business, by supporting them during this national crisis through our branch network.
“We typically see around 75 per cent of all marketplace seller items come through our branches; therefore, by following these steps, you are helping us keep you and our postmasters safe.”
Rob Hattrell, vice president of eBay UK, said: “We recognise that the challenges are vast and wide-ranging for SMEs on Britain’s high streets, but while the offline world is on lockdown, a shift to online spending presents a real growth opportunity and a vital lifeline.
“We hope these tips empower sellers to operate confidently – and most importantly, safely – online, throughout the crisis.”