Royal Mail, Post Office and eBay offer sales and safety tips during lockdown

Royal Mail, Post Office and eBay offer sales and safety tips during lockdown

Royal Mail, Post Office and eBay have teamed up to offer advice to sellers on how to use their services safely during lockdown, in line with Government guidelines on social distancing, as small businesses come to terms with nationwide restrictions on everyday commercial activities and consumer spending shifts online. 

Here are Royal Mail, Post Office and eBay’s top tips to online sellers: 

Register on an online marketplace to sell goods – eBay recently wavered fees to list or sell for all new businesses registering on its platform until 31 May 2020. Getting set up on eBay is simple with registrations through eBay.co.uk or through the mobile app. Register as a business account and the new seller offer is automatically applied. Then, you’re ready to start listing your items. 

Check whether there any restrictions which may mean that items can’t be sent by post, e.g. because they contain prohibited goods or are too large. 

Choose how to ship the items to customers. Postage can be bought at local Post Office branches, online via the Royal Mail App or website and on the eBay website. 

Calculate the postage price based on the weight and size of the items on the Post Office website, and via the Royal Mail App. Sellers need to decide whether to include this in the price charged to customers. 

Decide whether to allow buyers to return items and be sure to check out eBay’s returns policy before starting to sell. 

Sellers should package items safely and securely, before taking them to the Post Office, to minimise their time in-branch and protect the safety of branch teams and themselves. 

Ensure items are posted within the timeframe stated in listings. 

Drop off shipments at a convenient local branch. Check on the Post Office website or Royal Mail App for opening hours. 

Consolidate visits to a Post Office to make as few trips as possible and consider incorporating trips into 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 branch.

The 10 tips to support small businesses and budding marketplace sellers as they expand their online retail presence come from responding to customer’s most asked questions, and from the experience of helping make things easier for customers when they’re up and running and find themselves struggling to meet demand. 

While the nation remains in lockdown, the role of online marketplaces has never been more important for retailers looking to continue to do business. Retailers who cannot currently open their shops have been joined by suppliers who have had to adapt to new markets in expanding their online presence. In a rush to create an online offering, it can be easy to miss the tricks-of-the-trade that that help makes the transition from high-street to online that much easier. 

Post Office’s Managing Director of Mails, 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% of all market place seller items come through our branches; therefore, by following these steps, you are helping us keep you and our Postmasters safe.” 

Nick Landon, Managing Director Parcels at Royal Mail, said: “The delivery of parcels and letters has become even more crucial as a way of keeping the country together, businesses operating and helping many people who may not have the option to leave their homes. 

“We understand the important role we have to play in helping people to stay connected

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.” 

Rob Hattrell, Vice President of eBay UK, said: “At eBay, 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. 

“I’d like to personally acknowledge the incredible work of the Royal Mail and Post Office as they help to keep the nation running during this challenging time. With their support, the small businesses that continue to operate on eBay are able to deliver for their customers.”