LiveAuctioneers Seller Success Optimization (LASSO Program)

Best practices and tips for growing your sales online

4 Revenue-Generating Shipping Strategies for Your Auction Success

When it comes to growing your online auction sales and retaining valuable bidders, creating a positive shipping and delivery experience is key. The LiveAuctioneers data team has found that ease and speed of shipping is ranked one of the most important decision-making factors amongst high-value bidders, and auction houses that rated in the top 10% for shipping satisfaction have a 69% higher sell-through rate than those ranked in the lowest 10%.

Increase bidder activity and grow auction sales with these four shipping strategies from our team of e-commerce and customer support experts:    

  • Encourage Bidding Confidence with a Thorough Shipping Policy

    Bidders frequently have questions about shipping, both before and after placing their bids. A clearly stated shipping policy enables bidders to bid with the confidence of knowing when and how they can expect to receive their items.

    Hear it from our bidders:

    “I could not find any helpful information about shipping before entering my bids, so I ultimately limited my financial exposure by only acquiring a few items, held my breath and waited for the shipper to get in touch with me. “

    Make it easy for bidders to make buying decisions by providing detailed shipping instructions, including but not limited to:

    • Packaging & shipping service availability and associated costs
    • Pick-up deadlines and any storage costs
    • Recommended shippers and their contact information
    • Flat-rate shipping fees (if applicable)

    Shipping Policy

  • Collect Bids Faster with Accurate Measurements and Shipping Estimates

    Looking into the purchasing behaviors of online shoppers, UPS found that providing shipping costs early in the process is important to 64% of consumers and 45% have abandoned a transaction because they wanted to know the total cost of the item, including tax and shipping, before buying.


    Measure and weigh your items in order to provide dimensions and/or shipping estimates in your item description. That way bidders can be aware of the approximate shipping expense before bidding in your auctions. This is especially important for large or heavy items. Set up a page for shipping information on your website and include a list of estimated shipping costs for common items in your auctions. By doing this, you will retain interested bidders, attract higher bids, and accurately set bidders’ expectations.

    See below for an example of providing estimated shipping costs to bidders:

    Item Type Estimated Domestic Shipping Costs*
    Art Glass TBD – contact for information
    Books, Magazines & Papers $7 – $14
    Clothing & Accessories $4 – $7
    Coins, Medals & Paper Money $1 – $3
    Flat Art – Framed $12 – $50
    Flat Art – No Frame $7 – $15
    Furniture TBD – contact for information
    General Antiques $20 – $80
    Jewelry & Watches $6 – $10
    Rugs $30 – $100
    Other (fragile and oversized items, etc.) TBD – contact for information

    *These are estimated shipping costs based on information provided by auction houses on LiveAuctioneers.

  • Manage Bidder Expectations with Timely Shipping Notifications

    Online retailers like Amazon have fundamentally changed consumers’ expectations when it comes to shipping speed and costs. An effective way to manage post-sale expectations is to provide timely updates on the shipping status of bidders’ purchases along with an estimated delivery date and a tracking number.

    According to Comscore, over half of online consumers consider the ability to track a shipment “essential” and nearly everyone believes it is “nice to have.” Whereas 26% of people reported abandoning a purchase due to the lack of an estimated delivery date, most U.S. online shoppers are willing to wait up to an average of 7 days for their items to arrive when delivery notifications are provided.

    Hear it from our bidders:

    “…My main worry is always the arrangements for shipping. [The auction house] is great with organizing this, and that is why I am glad to come back to their auctions.”

    Instill bidder confidence and encourage return customers by communicating shipping updates to bidders, early and often. Once payment is received, let bidders know how to arrange for shipping and when they can expect their item to ship. Notify bidders when their item has shipped or been picked up by a third-party shipper, and provide tracking numbers and/or delivery estimates whenever possible. Finally, be proactive and reach out to buyers if the shipment has to be delayed due to special circumstances.

    Here are Recommended Shipping Notification Emails:

    When: What:
    Bidder Pays Send shipping instructions (or recommended third-party shipper), pick-up deadlines and delivery estimates
    Item Has Shipped Provide bidders with shipping confirmation and/or tracking number
    Shipment Is Delayed                      Notify bidders of any special circumstances (like national holidays or severe weather) that might delay delivery
  • Build Customer Loyalty with Packaging and Shipping Services

    At LiveAuctioneers, auction houses that provide in-house packaging and shipping are three times more likely to have higher customer satisfaction than those that don’t.

    Hear it from our bidders:

    “The shipping process is what will bring me back time and time again! Auction house did shipping ‘in house’ and was extremely reasonable with cost. High shipping costs with third-party shippers are always a problem, so this experience was refreshing.”

    Establishing an internal shipping department does require financial and human-capital investments, but it demonstrates competence and the trustworthiness of your business, gives you greater control over the customer experience, and provides buyers the peace of mind that brings them back to your auctions again and again.

    An alternative to providing in-house shipping is to offer packaging and shipping services by partnering with a trusted local shipper. This allows you to remove your inventory faster, expedites purchasing cycles and reduces complaints and disputes pertaining to the delivery process.

    Hear it from our bidders:

    “I would purchase so much more merchandise if the auction houses would handle all shipping arrangements, but at the buyer’s expense, of course.”

Start optimizing your shipping strategy now to attract and retain valuable bidders, improve your sell-through rate, and set yourself up for long-term sales success.