Last updated: July 2nd, 2016
New Seller Tutorial
Here is a tutorial to give some valuable information to users that are just starting out as sellers.
Always make sure that at the top/bottom of your sales posts, you include a set of rules for your buyers to be aware of. The draft of rules you made for your sales application should suffice, but here are a few pointers in case you want to redo your rules.
You must include your feedback link, when you got sales permission, and which moderator granted you sales permission. Other items that you should consider including are:
-Where you ship your items from (your country/state)
-If you have any pets (don't forget that people might have allergies!)
-How long it takes you to ship an item (must be within the comm's 35 day rule!)
-If the prices you list do/do not include shipping or PayPal fees
-Methods of accepted payment
-If you accept haggling
-Whether or not you accept trades (if you do, list items you want or include a link to your wants list)
-If you offer payment plans
-Whether you give priority to commitments or quotes first. If you do not include this in your rules, the community's rule is that commitments get priority over quotes.
-Other general guidelines that you feel a buyer should know before making a purchase
There are a few things you should be aware of before you start accepting payments from users:
-What are the methods of payment?
This depends on the seller. You can accept concealed cash, e-checks, PayPal: it's all about what you feel comfortable accepting. If you use concealed cash or checks through the mail, remember that packages do get ripped, damaged, or lost by the postal service. You may want to consider tracking on the cash/check a requirement for buyers. It will also take longer to receive payment in the mail than through PayPal. However, PayPal charges a percentage (2.9% plus $0.30 if domestic, 3.9% + $0.30 for Cross-Border if you live in the US) for each payment sent to you. If you accept PayPal, make sure your account is verified, or else you will not be able to accept any payment.
-What is an e-Check?
An e-Check is similar to a check through PayPal. If PayPal says that you have been paid via e-Check, it means the money has not yet cleared into your account. Usually this happens when the buyer has the funds in the bank account, but not in their PayPal balance, and PayPal needs at least a day to withdraw money from their bank account (typically 3-5 days is the norm for Paypal to process an e-Check). You should wait and make sure the payment clears before shipping items.
-How do I calculate how much a buyer owes?
Generally, a final total is the Item Price + Shipping + Material Costs + PayPal fees.
-Shipping depends on the weight of the package. You could go to the post office every time you have a package and get a quote from them for the shipping price, or you can make things a lot easier for yourself by buying a small scale, weighing the package, and then going on USPS' website and calculating the cost for yourself.
-Material Costs is how much the box/bubble mailer/etc. is to package the order. Some people get materials very cheaply, so they do not charge a material fee at all to the buyer. You may want to consider finding a place that sells materials in bulk for cheaper than you would buy them at a post office. If you tend to buy a lot of packages, you can save the materials and reuse them for your buyers, at no cost to them. You should always let a buyer know before reusing materials, but many buyers prefer reusing because they do not get charged material fees.
must be calculated after everything else is added up. You can use a website like salecalc.com/Paypal
to calculate how much PayPal will take, and how much the final total will be.
If you are accepting payment through PayPal, remember to give the buyer the email address to send the money to. Some sellers will also ask buyers to include their username and/or the items they bought in the memo section so that a seller knows what package goes to what address. Always have a buyer send a PayPal payment as a "Goods" payment. Some buyers/sellers try to send payments as "Gifts" to get around the PayPal fees. If you receive too many "Gift" payments and PayPal gets suspicious, there is a possibility that PayPal will freeze your account. There is also no insurance for a buyer if they send payment as a Gift, so if they never receive their package, they cannot file a claim with PayPal to try to get a refund.
If you are accepting cash/checks/etc, you will need to message the buyer with your address to send payment to. Have a buyer ship the money in a way that cannot be seen (inside of a greeting card, folding it inside of a letter, etc.). It is more likely that an envelope will be opened and stolen from if the money is visible.
-How Do Payment Plans Work?
Payment plans are usually used for a big order or a rather pricey item. The buyer has already committed to purchase, and the seller and buyer then decide on a schedule for the buyer to send a portion of the owed amount until the entire cost is paid. Some things you should keep in mind are:
-There is a 35 day policy on PKMNCollectors. If the item will not be shipped out within 35 days of the first payment, you will want to make sure the buyer is 100% aware of this before agreeing.
-If you are doing payment plans via PayPal, remember that PayPal will charge you on every payment. You will either want to charge PayPal fees for each payment (make sure the buyer is aware of this), or the seller can pay via Gift option. If they do pay via Gift option, they will not be able to receive a refund. Make sure they are aware of this as well.
-You should not ship a package until all of the payment plans have been completed. There are some people out there that will do anything to rip you off of an expensive item. Just because they have made one or two payments on time, doesn't necessarily mean they will pay every single one if they receive the item first.
So you have received payment, and now you have to ship those goodies out! Here are some pointers for the shipping process:
-How do I ship an International package?
If you are located in the United States and are shipping an international package, you will need to fill out a customs form. A customs form will ask what you are shipping and the cost. If the cost is over a certain amount, the recipient might have to pay customs fees. Some people will ask a seller to mark a package as a gift to get around customs fees. If you are caught doing this, you can get in serious trouble. On the PKMNCollectors Rules and Guidelines page (which you should re-read once you gain sales permission!) has some info on what you should do when shipping internationally:
"A Note about Sending Packages Overseas:
When shipping to the United Kingdom, or anywhere in Europe, the buyer will be subject to an import tax. This only takes effect when the product being delivered is over a certain value. When shipping to the Europe, we recommend that people label the customs form with the following:
Contents: 2nd hand toy
Value: (less than) 25$"***
***PLEASE NOTE: The limit for packages into Europe before getting customs fees is €20, so check the current exchange rate before filling out the customs form with a USD value.
If you want to insure the package, then you will have to put the amount that the buyer paid for the item on the customs form. You can only insure an item for how much was paid for it, not the value. If an issue does come up, the post office will ask for proof of payment for the item to insure that amount.
-What are the different shipping options? (for U.S. sellers)
There are certain shipping options via USPS. First Class or Parcel Post are usually the cheapest option. If you need the package to get there quickly, you can upgrade to Priority, Overnight, Same Day Delivery, etc. Each has an increase in price. Tracking and/or insurance can usually be added on to the shipping method for an additional fee. Some International packages will not be able to have Tracking or Insurance unless they are upgraded to Priority, which can sometimes be very expensive.
To compare how much each shipping option will be, make sure to have the weight
of the package, the dimensions
of the package, and the zip/postal codes
for yourself and the buyer. You can then go to USPS.com
and click on "Calculate a Price" under the Mail & Ship category. Once you click on that and fill out the necessary information, USPS will generate how much each shipping method would cost, and delivery timeframes for each method.
When you get tracking, there will be a tracking number. You can enter the tracking number on USPS' website to see the status of your package at any time in transit. This number is usually found on your receipt.
This is probably the most stressful part for some sellers. When packaging something, think worst-case scenario. The post office isn't as careful as they should be sometimes. Here are the most common ways of packaging certain items:
Trading Cards/other flat items:
If you are shipping a few inexpensive trading cards/stickers/other flats, you can fit them inside of a normal envelope and just pay for a stamp to ship it. If the envelope is 1/4 inch thickness or more, the post office will count it as a package. This is usually about 20 cards, depending on how you protect them in the envelope. It is recommended that you don't ship over 20 cards in an envelope, and instead use a bubble mailer. When shipping cards or other flats, you always want to have some kind of protection for them. Some options include:
-Using toploaders or cardboard to make the package rigid so the cards will not be bent in transit. If you are only shipping a card or two, you can stick them inside of a greeting card. You can also write "Please do not bend" on the envelope itself, but don't use writing as the only means of protection.
-Putting flats inside of a ziploc bag. Moisture is not a card's friend, and a Ziploc bag will help prevent any water damage if it's raning or if the letter gets dropped in a puddle.
-Taping the envelope closed or having one envelope inside of another, in case one of the sorting machine rips the envelope open.
You will want the same kind of precautions when shipping in a bubble mailer. Packages can get ripped up or bent just like envelopes!
When you are shipping plush, think about what would happen if the package was ripped/stepped on/squished, etc.
-If your plush has a hang tag, you will want to make sure it doesn't get bent. You should consider putting it between two pieces of cardboard, or if the tag is small enough, put it into a toploader. Some times the hang tags get ripped off if the package gets ripped open, so you many want to either secure the hang tag to the plush itself (possibly tying it) or putting the plush inside something like a plastic bag or bubble wrap inside of the package.
-Fitting a plush in some kind of Ziploc bag or a plastic plastic bag that is taped closed. Same as the TCG/flats above, this will help protect from moisture.
-If you are shipping a lot of plush, make sure they're not too packed and run the risk of the package bursting or being ripped open. If they all have hang tags, make sure they don't get caught on each other. You can separate them by wrapping each separately in its own bubble wrap or plastic bag.
When it comes to figurines, think bubble wrap! You won't want them getting chipped or broken apart.
-If it has a lot of small pieces such as a zukan set, you will want to put each piece in its own plastic bag, and then wrap that in bubble wrap.
-If you have a figurine that is still boxed, you might want to secure the backing to cardboard or put it inside of its own tiny box.
-Always write fragile on the package. Even if the figurine is MIB, your buyer probably doesn't want to receive a dented box.
So, you have your package shipped out! But wait- there are just a few more things that you should remember to do:
-Do not throw away that receipt just yet! It is recommended that you keep any receipts/tracking labels as proof of shipment. If there was delivery confirmation/tracking number on the package, you will want to give that number to the buyer.
-Let your buyer know that you have shipped the item. This is required under the comm's rules, and now the buyer can get excited about getting their package in the mail!
-Remember to leave feedback for the transaction on feedback.pkmncollectors.net after you have shipped out the item. Some sellers do not leave feedback until after the buyer has received the item. It does not really matter when you leave feedback, as long as you do it eventually!
-Ask the buyer for feedback in return if you'd like. Remember that buyers will not leave feedback until after they receive an item, so do not expect to see new feedback within 24 hours.
If you have any questions, always feel free to ask fellow community members, a moderator, or even myself!
Thank you for reading!