Original column by Wendy Masorti, APS Director of Sales, republished from The American Philatelist, February 2018
New sellers will often contact the American Philatelic Society with the question, â€śShould I sell on eBay or StampStore?â€ť Both services provide a way to sell online and charge minimal fees and commissions. Therefore, in order to answer the question, it is important to understand how StampStore differs from eBay.
With emerging technology in the late 1990s, the APS realized the importance of branching out our mail sales program to offer members a way to sell their philatelic material online. Specifically, we wanted to tailor a program to provide members with a hassle-free selling experience. After researching other online services and knowing our clientele, in September of 2000, we launched StampStore with a specific goal in mind â€“ to offer an easy, affordable way for members to sell online without needing internet experience or special equipment.
On eBay, a seller is responsible to upload each listing with a description and has an option to add images (practically a must for philatelic material), which the seller must provide. The seller can choose methods of payment, which can include everything from checks to the electronic PayPal system. The seller must handle all shipping and returns. Sellers on eBay can set their own fees for shipping, which range from free to several dollars per item.
StampStore, on the other hand, does much of the work for you. You complete a submission sheet for each item (mounting the item along with description, prices, etc.) and mail them to the APS. We take care of scanning images and uploading item descriptions to the online store, as well as advertising, answering buyer questions, payment processing, shipping, and handling returns/refunds. All communication with the buyer is handled by the APS; the seller remains anonymous and is identified only through a seller ID number. Sellers can view reports, change prices, and receive monthly payments for items that sell.
Also, unlike eBay where the seller or a representative must have online access, many StampStore sellers do not even own a computer; they rely on our sales staff to help them change prices or check on statuses of items.
StampStore can provide one-package shipping from several sellers to a single buyer. Since all items are housed at our facility, a buyer can purchase from multiple sellers when placing an order and receive all items in one package. Standard shipping for an order less than $100 is $2.95 plus 2 percent of the sales cost for handling and insurance. If an order is more than $100, the shipping is free of charge. We also offer a 30-day money back guarantee on all items.
We are not saying that you should not sell on eBay, but rather that you ask yourself these questions:
â€śHow involved do you want to be with the actual sale? Do you have the equipment and knowledge necessary to upload and maintain the listings? Do you have the time to package and ship sold items promptly? Are you prepared to handle unhappy customers and process returns?â€ť
Considering that many of our sellers mail in hundreds of submissions to StampStore at a time, you can only imagine the potential volume of questions and shipments they could be dealing with. Also, buyers who purchase multiple items from several different sellers would receive multiple shipments and shipping charges.
It is also important to point out that all members selling on StampStore are APS members and abide by our Code of Ethics. While the APS provides this selling/buying service, the APS does not own the material being sold and does not guarantee the accuracy of membersâ€™ content in the listings. While members price and describe their material, they may unknowingly misdescribe the quality or authenticity of the items being sold. Therefore, we offer a 30-day money-back guarantee and sellers may be charged fines for their misdescriptions. Seller privileges may be revoked for repeat offenders.
So, only you can answer the question, â€śeBay or StampStore?â€ť If you are interested in selling with us, request a free seller packet or visit www.stamps.org/How-to-Sell-Online.