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.
Skype was bought by ebay nearly 3 years ago but has since then failed to implement a real advantage within ebay’s core. Ebay saw Skype as a daily function for users to manage customer contacts, answering questions and pre and post sale concerns. However, sellers and buyers have failed to take advantage of this feature within their listings.
CEo John Donahue said to the Financial Times
“What we’re testing this year are the synergies,” Mr Donahoe told the Financial Times this week after Ebay reported its latest earnings. “If the synergies are strong, we’ll keep it in our portfolio. If not, we’ll reassess it.” That could lead to the disposal of the business, he indicated.
This news comes after Skype reported strong Q1 revenue up to $162 million dollars, a 61% increase from the previous year. This year it’s expected Skype will generate $500 million and be profitable. This may lead ebay to sell the VoIP company with the hopes of having a money making buyout. Rumor talks point to Google.com, who would more likely be able to find a better use for it’s services if Ebay users do not hop on the waggon in the next 8 months.
We do not comment on market rumor or speculation regarding acquisitions, Generally speaking we are constantly in discussions about potential partnerships in cases that will be mutually beneficial for users, advertisers, and publishers. – Spokesman for Google
The reasons for the service not being a match on ebay are numerous. Sellers contribute that software advances in auto-answering services and advanced platforms to handle customer service management leave little need for the service. Also many larger sellers that previously used the platform have choosen to host toll free phone lines with other VoIP companies. Every buyer or seller has a phone number when they need to get in touch, but not everyone has a Skype account loaded with cash.
I was pretty surprised by this video. I will admit, Ebay Live Chicago 2008 did seem a bit dead this year. I also noticed vendors brought less employees from the past. Networking is usually a great part of Ebay Live but this years attendance numbers were so low this was very hard. Check out this short clip from a top view of how dead the traffic was! I will say, this was taken at the end of the day when things were winding down and when lots of the seminars were being given but the traffic wasn’t much larger during the peak hours.
Ebay Live at Chicago this year was a bit dissapointing. For it being my first time going, I was expecting more and felt like I was at geared towards beginners. One guy showed his frustration at one of the siminars and makes for a great video. Where was security?
Was looking around you tube killing some time and I found a funny ebay video. Aparently two women from Orlando bought two cell phones but were scammed by another woman and her husband for sending two pictures of cell phones. The scammers even admitted to going on a shipping spre with the extra cash. Personally, I think Judge Judy needs to be in charge of the fraud department for ebay and paypal.
- Recent sales of multi-quantity listings
- Reasonable and free shipping – Mainly for the media category.
- Significant Incentives for free shipping – increased visibility, free subtitle and double FAV fee discount. (Changes made October 1st)
- No Money Orders or Checks – Must use paypal or propay for easy checkout experience
- Sellers Must have 4.3 DSR stars to sell on ebay after October 1st
- Moving to successful based pricing – Low insertion fees for those selling “like” items over and over. Really important that they consolidate their listings with multi quantity listings. As people buy, listing will be rewarded with more exposure and savings on fees.
- Now that time ending soonest is not a factor in Best Match, 30 day FP makes sense to keep up for as long as possible.
- A good time to move Ebay Store inventory to FP30 listings
- No changes to auction style fees
- Ebay’s take on Best Practices to improve DSR ratings
- Communication DSR – Communicate post sale with tracking, thank them for the purchase and handle any post sales concerns.
- Leave positive Feedback after you have accepted payment! Not after they’ve left it. Builds communication early and gives a positive tone.
- By October 5th, revise shipping cost to market average or free shipping
- Specify return policy on all templates in ebays format, not just in your listing template.
Questions and Answers:
1) Why did you increase the FAV in media category compared to other categories?
Drastically reduce upfront fees. If you use the catalogue you only pay 5 cents.
2) How is ebay educating buyers on DSR and feedback comments and remarks?
New format for leaving feedback asking buyer if they have tried to resolve and leave accurate feedback.
3) What happens if the shipping calculator shows a higher price than the average cost in my cateogory?
If item is heavier, mult-quantity use flat rate shipping at or below the shipping cap.
4) Why have you required Paypal and electronic payment?
We are offering more options and it gives more visibility when you offer these options. In the future we will integrate 3rd party and other applications in the checkout process as an alternative method. Propay is also an option and is competitive.
5) Will the recent sales carry over when I relist my item?
6) Whats the future of stores if you want me to move my items to FP30?
Still important, you’re able to drive more traffic by offering them on the core results. Stores are still important for internal traffic transfer of similar items and getting customers once in your listing to go to your store. Most traffic to stores comes from clicking within the auctions.
7) Will auctions and BIN rotate in the core results?
Ebay is using “intermingle” as their term. They will be rotated but be specific for trends with DSR, past sales and maximum exposure for increase sales price and turn over percentage.
8) I heard that the Uk is going to get rid of stores. Does that mean it will be gone in the USA as well?
It will not be removed in the Uk and the USA and we think it’s very important in both markets.
9) Some sellers are listing ipods in flower category to avoid FAV fees. What are you doing to address this?
These listings will take advantage of relevancy policies. They will get a negative mark and receive less exposure.
10) When is ebay express closing?
Ebay express will close on September 18th.
11) When you integrate merchant Credit Card options in the checkout, will the credit card information be transferred to the sellers?
12) Will the credit card integration be available to Canadian’s in January.
Probably not, but looking for options.
13) International orders have concerns for DSR stars with shipping and transit times. What steps are you making to set realistic expectations for buyers with Shipping and Handling DSR stars?
We will reinforce longer transit times and buyers should as well. Let the buyers know realistic transit time, leave feedback when checkout is complete and not only let them know how long it will take to ship, but highlight how long it took you to get it out the door and offer to stay in constant contact after the sale.
14) Will setting “Standard Flat Rate Shipping” count as offering a shipping option?
15) Are pre-orders still valid?
Yes up to 30 days. Nothing has changed.
There seemed to be alot more questions on media, feedback DSR abuse by buyers and other questions that revolved around the above. What I took away is sellers need to communicate, specify shipping options and realistic expectations and optimizing listings for the new format. Most of these questions came from the message boards and even after this announcement video the vibe is that even with ebay’s explanations, members are still frustrated with the changes.
You can listing/view this entire macromedia flash session here.