How to Combine Shipping on eBay

Combined shipping allows eBay sellers to send multiple purchases from the same buyer in one single package. Not only does this save time for the seller, but it also reduces shipping and packaging costs.

While combined shipping makes life easier for the buyer as well, a discount is usually expected. Read on to find out more about how to offer combined shipping to buyers on eBay.

Combined shipping options on eBay

eBay sellers have three combined shipping options:

  • Provide combined shipping discounts to buyers manually (on request)
  • Allow combined discounts to be applied automatically (upfront)
  • Withhold combined shipping discounts

How to enable the combined shipping setting

While eBay has in-built combined shipping capability, it is not automatically activated. To enable this setting:

  • First navigate to the Manage shipping settings page
  • Find the Combined Payments and Shipping Discounts section
  • Select Edit next to the Allow combined payments and shipping option
  • Choose a time period in which to accept combined payments for purchased items
  • Select Save

Once activated, the seller can offer combined shipping either manually or automatically.

How to automatically offer combined shipping

Some sellers prefer to set up combined shipping rules that will automatically apply when a buyer purchases one or more item.

Not only does this save time and effort, but it also has the potential to increase profits. Buyers who see a discount in the form of combined shipping may be encouraged to buy more items than originally desired, therefore driving additional sales.

To set up combined shipping rules:

  • Navigate to the Manage shipping settings page
  • Find the Combined Payments and Shipping Discounts section

Sellers can then choose between two combined shipping rules:

The first is a ‘flat shipping rule.’ This would set a base rate for the first item purchased, and then a smaller amount for each additional item. This gives the buyer a discount based on the number of items purchased.

The second is a ‘calculated shipping rate.’ Here, sellers have two options:

  • Combine all item weights. This means that the combined shipping rate would be based on the actual weight of the overall package
  • Combine all item weights and subtract an amount. This option is the same as above but allows the seller to offer the buyer a further shipping discount for each additional item

How to manually offer combined shipping

Buyers who purchase more than one option from the same seller have an option to request a revised combined shipping total. Alternatively, they may send a personalized message requesting a shipping discount, either before purchasing the item or shortly afterwards.

If the buyer hasn’t paid

Activating the combined shipping capability, as described above, allows sellers to create invoices for buyers who have already committed to purchase multiple items but have not paid yet.

Combined invoices can be created via My eBay or Seller Hub, after the combined shipping option has been activated (as described above). The process is as follows:

  1. In Seller Hub, select Orders. In My eBay, select Sold
  2. Find at least one item that needs to be part of the combined invoice
  3. Select Send invoice next to the item
  4. The next page displays all items purchased by the same buyer. Ensure that all items to be part of the combined invoice are checked
  5. Add the shipping charge
  6. Enter an optional message to the buyer
  7. Select desired payment method(s)
  8. Select Preview invoice before sending
  9. Select Send invoice

How to upload tracking for combined shipments

Once the buyer has completed payment as per the newly combined invoice, the seller ships the order and uploads the same tracking number for all of the corresponding items.

If the buyer has already paid

Even if the buyer has already paid for the shipping of their items, it is still possible to combine shipping.

The easiest way to do this is to offer a discount via a partial refund. Sellers using managed payments can issue a refund on the individual Order details page (select the ‘Send refund shortcut at the top). There is also the option to add a note for the buyer.

How to withhold combined shipping discounts

eBay sellers have no obligation to offer combined shipping or offer buyers a discount for buying multiple items. On the whole, however, most sellers find it logical and, indeed, often more profitable, to do so.

Sellers who do not offer or approve combined shipping discounts risk having to deal with disgruntled buyers. Many buyers will check whether combined shipping discounts are possible first but, unfortunately, some will not, and may prove difficult to handle.

Experienced sellers, what are your thoughts on combined shipping? Do you have automatic rules or approve requests manually?