Are you as excited as we are over eBay’s standard envelope initiative? When we started collecting sports cards, most of us didn’t imagine ourselves getting hyped over envelopes. But here we are.
More and more cards are being shipped every day, and the shipping price has been steadily rising. This combination can quickly and decisively eat away at sellers’ profit margins.
Many collectors are rolling the dice with the plain white envelope (PWE) approach on lower-end cards, but a lot can go wrong with this method. Therefore, using a plain white envelope is a risky proposition. After all, sending damaged cards is a quick way to upset buyers in the sports card industry.
Until recently, if you wanted to ship a low-end card and avoid the risk of using a PWE, there was only one other reasonably-priced option: a small envelope shipped via USPS. Depending on the shipping service and packing method, this shipping and handling cost plus fees would come out to $5 or more—and that’s a significant expense for a $10 or $15 sale.
That said, thanks to a recent innovation from eBay and a partnership with USPS, there’s a better way.
We’re pleased to present… The Standard Envelope!
In recent years sports cards have been an essential factor in propelling eBay’s significant profits. They also face potential competitors for their status as the top market for card acquisitions.
Therefore, eBay has proved attentive to collectors’ complaints. It reached an agreement with USPS to present a better alternative for shipping cards.
The Post Office introduced the standard envelope in 2021 as a low-cost alternative for shipping sports cards. While the new shipping method does not support bubble mailers, it supports any envelopes within the dimensions of eBays shipping deal, and the service comes with tracking.
The prices are as follows:
In short, you can now ship any cards that meet the requirements for less than a dollar! The service includes tracking and shipping protection.
According to eBay, this is a chance to “save up to 70% with our cost-effective shipping service with integrated tracking.” Indeed, these are game-changing prices.
The process is a straightforward one. List a card (or cards) on eBay, and if they sell for $20 or less, excluding tax, the sale is eligible for the eBay Standard Envelope shipping service. If your sale qualifies, you can print the necessary label through eBay.
That said, there are some requirements for both the envelope and cards to make the cut. Therefore, make sure your envelope meets the requirements:
There are a few more rules, too, so be sure to check out the page for the complete list, but these are the most important ones to keep an eye on.
As far as the requirements for the card or cards themselves, we have that too:
Sellers are big winners of this initiative. Not only do they enjoy significant savings on small sales, but they do not need to make any substantial changes to current selling and shipping practices. Just get a qualifying envelope
What it does change is the calculus on lower price sales. Before the standard envelope, it was hardly worthwhile to sell low-end cards because shipping and fees took such a chunk out of the profits. Take a new look at your cards valued under $20 and reevaluate your strategy. They can now play a more prominent role in your sales as they have a new life on eBay.
We don’t know if sellers will pass on the savings to buyers. However, there is no doubt that the change will help buyers as well since it will make cheaper cards more readily available on the platform.
If nothing else, we learn a valuable lesson from this update. If collectors continue being good to eBay and funding a significant portion of its growth, eBay will reward collectors. The standard envelope launch is a bold, collectors-first move that will resonate well with the hobbyist and lead to lower-end sports cards’ greater availability.