When I went to the Post Office today, an assistant informed me that on 31 March, postage prices are rising again.
Postage rises, are a real threat to most online business: sometimes the line between profit and loss is so thin.
Gone are the days when I made profit on the Amazon postage credit, selling practically any book as a merchant seller.
Sales have been reduced because I have adapted to only selling niche non-fiction, which sell for over £8 on my merchant account.
This generally ensures I make a worthwhile profit… But, of course, every time Royal Mail increase charges, it chops away at any profit made.
It’s not as though it’s possible to increase customer postage charges on Amazon: they take an automated amount of £2.80 for books from customers, but there is little or mostly no profit in actual postage credits nowadays.
Amazon just tells you to ensure the postage cost is reflected in the book price, but this is not always possible – and not at all possible for regular-sized low-value books.
I guess one of the biggest gripes I have about selling products online is the postage systems… It doesn’t seem to matter which service is used, at some point I will be informed a book has not arrived.
To be fair, 99% of all stuff I send out arrives safely, so I should not complain too much.
It’s not all down to Royal Mail either. On occasion, I use a tracking service and customers still say their item has not arrived, despite couriers claiming to have posted to the house.
Postage is such an expensive commodity: a mistake made by a postage company can wipe out any overall profit on many products, and it’s very frustrating.
What can you do if your item has been lost in the post?
Usually an item has to be undelivered for over 15 days to be considered lost. You can ask the Post Office for a claim form, or download a form online.
Complete the form, and attach your proof of posting: you should also put a copy for the order sent, which gives the value of the item lost.
Royal Mail will send a refund for the item and postage cost, up to 10 times the value of the actual postage service used, e.g. first class post.
If you are reading this because you own my new product Copy Paste Profit, it is gratifying that you don’t have to worry about actual postage costs, but of course, as far as your customer is concerned, the buck stops with you if it’s claimed an item has not arrived.
Luckily, this is covered, so you should never be out of pocket.
If you are wondering what I am talking about, Copy Paste Profit is my new programme, which is an online selling venture, working completely from home: no stock to store and buy upfront, no going to the Post Office, and best of all, no worrying about postage costs!
To ensure you always remain in profit, ensure you weigh books before pricing: either have a Royal Mail pricing leaflet by your side, or go to royalmail.com to get a price.
Don’t try and second guess a postage price if your profit margins are slim to start with.
I use a plastic template, purchased from eBay for a few pounds, to check whether a book is a large letter.
I also have the measurements for small and medium packets: the price difference between sizes is quite severe so it pays to be informed.