June 3, 2008, 12:00 AM

eBay adds free shipping option to automated Shipping Calculator

EBay Inc. has added a “Free Shipping” function to its automated Shipping Calculator tool for sellers. Previously, sellers could offer “Free Shipping” only with flat rate shipping.

EBay Inc. has added “Free Shipping” functionality to its automated Shipping Calculator tool for sellers. Previously, sellers could offer “Free Shipping” only with flat rate shipping.

To set up the Shipping Calculator for each item, the seller enters the size and weight of the package, handling costs (invoices, postage, shipping labels), insurance, and the shipping service to be used. Sellers also can make multiple shipping options available to buyers. The calculator presents the total shipping cost to each buyer, based on the buyer’s location.

Sellers that don’t want to charge shipping fees click on the “Free Shipping” checkbox when setting up the calculator. Ebay listings offering free shipping will appear with a “Free Shipping” icon. Sellers can still use calculated shipping for up to two other shipping services, eBay says in an announcement from Kristina Klausen, senior director of shipping.

While some sellers might find the addition of the free shipping option to the calculator useful, Jon Kuhlmann, an eBay retailer and owner of Grapevinehill Inc., a discount footwear site, says it has no impact on his operations. “It doesn’t really affect us because we use fixed-rate shipping and historically, the shipping calculator never worked,” Kuhlmann says.

Grapevinehill uses Federal Express to ship items, an option not offered with the Shipping Calculator.

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