Everyone is trying to sell their items on line these days through a website or ebay. The big guys will always be there but a large percentage of sales are pushed by smaller companies that you compete with on one level or another. Ever wonder why your competitor has higher DSR stars or better feedback ratings than you? Occasionally, a good way to check your own operations or to get a feel for how other companies handle their post sales procedures can teach anyone a few shortcuts or cost savings ideas.
A few interesting points to check are:
- Checkout system – How easy? What processing method? Ease of selecting item specifics etc.
- Communication – What e-mails do you get when you checkout? Do they cross promotions with mailing lists and repeat customer tactics after after the purchase?
- Packing Materials – You may learn a few cost savings techniques in shipping supply reduction or alternatives, invoice information and paper marketing materials.
- Customer Service – Call up after you’ve received your item and even if all is well, test their customer service department with e-mails or phone calls. Test their returns and exchange procedures and length of time etc. Playing the unhappy customer has never been so fun!
Testing a few of these areas can help you find strengths and weaknesses in your own and others post sale transaction. Your routine might be comfortable, but with everything involved after the sale it can be easy to look past an improvement that can make a big difference when multiplied by all of your outgoing shipments.
Sellers might want to adjust many of their automation rules or listing strategies on ebay with the new policy changes. Previously, listing management software based alot of their automation rules around times to list. Now that best match doesn’t take this into consideration, getting a listing up as soon as the previous one ends will increase your exposure time.
Example: Before if product A sold best at 7pm EST on Sundays you set a 7 day auction to start and end at this time. If the product sold out or was bought before then using BIN or Best Offer, your rules would relist the item at a popular time or date that you specify. Sometimes the listing might not relist for a few hours or days depending on how you set that one up. Best match isnt sorting by time ending soonest and is in fact hiding it from the search results. Changes to make automation rules relist as soon as the listing ends or to always keep one listing active will now need to be updated to listings. You could miss out on hours or days of exposure till your old rules relist (which seem to be the norm). I’ve found when you list your product is having less and less to deal with success ratios unless they’re auction style, that I try to submit the listing as soon as i’m done with it. This can also save those that are paying scheduled listing fees 10 cents per listing now as well.
Going back to my roots in college, I had a part time job in a regional ebay consignment chain called ShipOnSite. I was really excited when I got the job, even with the hourly rate of $8/hour. During the early part of this decade, these chains even rated very high in reputable commerce directories for “best franchise opportunities”. Today, much has changed and the business model is suffering big time due to the economy and changes in the marketplace. While some are still successful, it takes a very good manager and the right demographics for one of these chains to succeed these days.
This eBay Franchise Article Received a lot of traffic, comments and questions over the last few years. I’ve moved this blog post over to my new site with many other eBay business articles. Please follow this link to read the rest of this eBay Consignment Store article and other related business posts. Thank you, and let’s make some money!
I was a bit unsure about the differences between Fixed Price 30 and Good Til’ Canceled and how it would effect velocity with your listings so I decided to shoot a call to the powerseller hot-line. In a brief summary, the differences are both obvious but can drastically change velocity and rankings within ebay’s core search results.
There comes a time for all to seriously consider what it would be like if they didn’t sell on Ebay. For some, it would mean the end of business. For others, it might be the best decision you ever made. Ebay’s consistent and “for the better” changes in 2008 have left sellers using lots more resources to try and achieve the same margins as they were used to.
The plain of the fact is that all these rules are geared at long term changes within their marketplace.
- Feedback – I just checked our feedback and the results are black and white. Out of a toolhaus feedback search, 48/56 negative feedbacks have come from users with under 50 feedbacks. Of the 48 who left feedback, half were new users within the last year or so with under 10 feedbacks. That’s 85% of negative feedback is from this trend. The others who left negative feedback were varied (ill call it ebay experience).
This type of ratio shows a real problem where these new buyers have unrealistic expectations in the buying process. Many leave negative feedbacks because the item was lost in the mail (and they declined shipping insurance), failed to read the full item description for something that was spelled out in the clear and have fail to abide by your return policy that they accepted. It just seems those veterans who have have bought or sold in any quantity from the first days realize they can take advantage of a good customer service department without throwing in the towel and neggin someone. — Especially for those company’s who truly pride them selves in customer service and would of made the customer happy.
- For volume sellers or those who make a living on ebay, the changes have hurt their business in one way or another. Weather it’s fees, feedback, search standard etc …the changes have effected a large portion of sellers to some extent. To alot of sellers, spending lots of resources on man-power or new internal processes to implement the new changes can be very time consuming and costly. The big thing is we haven’t seen any REAL changes yet – only suggestions with the promise that a better market place awaits us. This has left many companies frustrated with the lack of an inconsistent marketplace.
Scot wingo, CEO of Channeladvisor had a very good perspective on this fatigue at his blog.
Part of what’s going on with the seller base is, for lack of a better word, eBay fatigue. Sellers feel their businesses have changes so much (DSRs, BestMatch, etc..) for so little/no/decline in sales that eBay is increasingly becoming a lower priority for them and thus they will tend to be reactive vs. proactive as they would have been as recently as 6 months ago. To be honest, most of our larger sellers are spending their time getting their websites and other channels ready for the holidays and eBay just isn’t a priority. Of course this doesn’t bode well for eBay, but it’s the reality of what is going on in the grassroots of e-commerce.
These comments hit home for many sellers who feel they should be able to market their product and the customer will decide on price, reputation, transit-time and customer service. Ebay now feels like a mathematical equation that requires a MBA in Amazonification to sell sell sell when they feel their business is reputable and legit.
Without a doubt, E-bay’s changes have and will change the way we do business on the giant. For now, it seems like a struggle to keep up and myself and other sellers are reluctantly putting our faith in ebay to see things on the upswing in the near future. Hang on for the ride if you so dare!