From the customers’ point of view, there’s nothing better than an eBay purchase arriving earlier than promised. But in terms of eBay listing optimisation, if you are under-promising and over-delivering on your shipping schedules, you could be unwittingly damaging your visibility on eBay search and losing out to sellers who guarantee delivery in 3 days or less.

It’s easy to understand why eBay sellers often add a little fat to their delivery schedules. In a marketplace where 5-star reviews (or the lack of them) can make or break a business, sellers fear the reputational damage to their seller feedback caused by late delivery.

But how realistic is this fear? And could the negative impact of listing with slower delivery schedules be causing more damage than good?

Fast and free shipping improves visibility

Our research shows that eBay prioritises fast and free shipping in their search algorithm.

In any competitive market, if you are not offering your customers rapid delivery, your visibility is potentially going to fall off a cliff as your competitors offering more immediate shipping push your products out of sight.

Therefore, you must optimise your delivery schedules in your listings to enhance your rankings on eBay search.

A no-risk optimisation strategy

Optimising your delivery schedules shouldn’t present any additional risk to your business if you follow this simple strategy — only promise what you can deliver.

There will be certain items that you cannot promise expedited delivery. These might include drop-shipped items, personalised gifts, made-to-order products, and heavy or oversized orders that require specialist shipping. Don’t worry about these products. Instead, focus on the battles that you can win.

These will include:

  • Easily shipped/Priority items: These are products that are always in stock and can be quickly and easily picked, packed and shipped. You know precisely how long it takes to deliver these items because you send them out every day. Start by updating the shipping times on a small percentage of these listings, and once you are 100% confident that your warehouse team can keep up with demand, roll the strategy out to include more items.
  • Outsourced Fulfilment: When you work with an outsourced fulfilment partner like Huboo, Orange Connex, or Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), there’s minimal risk in promising rapid delivery. These businesses were built on the back of helping online retailers compete in terms of fast and free delivery and typically offer 24 and 48-hour deliveries as standard — still leaving you with some fat in the game if you are promising delivery in three days. So, if you’re using a fulfilment service for some or all of your products and are not promoting expedited delivery, you are wasting a huge opportunity.

Test and optimise

As with all things in business, risk is removed by understanding your business’s threats and a consistent approach to testing and optimising your strategies to overcome these challenges.

Could you improve your visibility by taking a less cautious approach towards promised delivery schedules?

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