Accurate and Honest – The Bywords for Good Feedback (Feedback 2)

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Feed back is one of the most important things that will propel your eBay business forward.  In fact goodwill, a business’s reputation, can form a significant part of its price when it it up for sale.  You need to protect and promote your feedback.

One sure way of receiving business killing bad feedback is to be less than open and honest about your goods.

Think like a buyer.  What does he need to know? What would he like to know? What should he know?

I sometimes feel that it a waste of my time to write full, long and time consuming descriptions.  Surely the buyer knows that I am a good seller, that I am honest and that all my goods are fantastic?  Sadly, they don’t.  I have to tell them.

Fill out those annoying item specifics, those drop down boxes on the listing page.  We all know that the make of widgets that you sell are the best on the market because the innovative design, the comprehensive guarantee, the rugged build quality, that ‘Which?’ has listed them as a best buy since Adam was a lad.  However, you have to tell your prospective buyer.

In fact, tell them more than once.  In the specifics you say the item is new and measures 20x20x20cm.  In the body of the listing tell them again.  You know that the measurements are important because your widgets are smaller than the competition’s which means that they are neater, fit better (whatever).  But, tell the prospective buyer.

The aim is to turn the prospective buyer into an actual buyer – but more than that into a satisfied, he will buy from you again, save you as a preferred seller, buyer.  Make it easy for the prospect to buy from you.

That is the task.  Make it easy to buy from you.

If there is something your widget can not do tell the prospective buyer.  What you do not want is for feedback to say “I bought this to do so and so, but it doesn’t”.  Not only will the buyer not remove the feedback he will not buy from you again.

List all the positives of your product, emphasise every reason why someone should buy yours, and yours alone.  Remember a description is not a reason to buy by in and of itself.  The size is an attribute, what that means (how, where it can be used) is a reason to buy.

As always think like a buyer, think like a picky, pedantic buyer.

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The Importance of Feedback (1)

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A few months ago I had a disaster.

I received six (yes, 6) negative feedbacks in a period of 2 or 3 weeks!

I had prided myself on 6,000 positives and 0 (zero) negatives so it was a shock, to say the least.

What had gone wrong?  Well, I sell a small item, lots of them, and I had always used the Royal Mail’s normal letter rate.  For 2 days the Royal Mail decided that they should have been sent as ‘large letters’.  They were wrong.  I had letters checked at the local Post Office, they were ‘normal’.

However, the damage had been done.  There was an immediate reduction in sales and it took a couple of months for the position to improve.

How we react to negative feedback is important.  Once the damage has been done, and if the buyer will not withdraw it (2 of mine did) all you can do is to try to minimize the damage.  These are true examples of negative feedback from fellow sellers and how they reacted;

Feedback; Did not say in the item description anywhere the ******* was a minature version

Reaction; Er Nothing.

Another one.

Feedback; No ******** DVD the case was empty!!!! heartbroken, Fraudsters

Reaction; THIS WAS ADDRESSED AT THE TIME. GET A LIFE!

Another;

Feedback; I needed to pay extra postage!

Reaction; Refund given, excess postage came as a surprise, after 4 years without a problem

Which reaction gives you the best impression of the seller? (Hopefully, the last one as it was mine…..)  I happen to know the product in the first case.  There are 2 sizes and the model number in the listing was fopr the normal size. i.e. the seller was selling the wrong product! The second reply is just awful!  At least with mine I showed what I did to rectify the problem (a full, no quibble refund) and tried to explain that it had never happened before (but then it did, 5 times as I said) .

However peed off you feel at the feedback, however unjustified think about what you need to do.  If you can not get the feedback withdrawn with the agreement of the buyer then your aim has to be to reduce the damage to your reputation and reassure potential buyers.

Comments (2)

Lost in The Post!

You know, I sell both on Amazon and eBay.  Apart from the charges they are pretty similar to sell on, however, in my experience there is one glaring difference.

Each month 3 or 4 items sold to someone on eBay is ‘lost in the post’.  In 2 years of selling on Amazon, no one has ever reported something not being delivered.  I use Royal Mail for all my postings.

Why the difference?

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Where to get Stuff to Sell on eBay? (4)

Buying collections to break down and sell as individual items can be a great way of sourcing stuff to sell on eBay.

Years ago before I sold on eBay I used to sell second hand vinyl through the mail, advertising in the Record Collector magazine.  I would routinely travel to see people who were selling their album collections.  Usually I could buy 100 or more albums at a set price per album, usually 50p -£1 each.  There would be some dross, of course but there would almost always be a few gems.

One time sticks in my mind.  I went to an address in Manchester to see this chap who had a 100 or so albums to sell.  They were the usual rock mixture but there were 12 mint copies or 2 different albums by an extinct band called Excalibur. I asked him why he had 24 albums by the same band and he said that his son had had a connection with the band and the albums arrived through that connection.  Fair enough.  I sold one of the albums for £10 each copy (12 x £10).  The copies of the other album fetched £25 each  (12 x £25).  Those 2 albums gave me a return of £420.  I bought the whole lot for £50.  I also sold most of the others for £5 ish.  Not bad for half a day’s work.

The same applies to eBay, but your potential market is greater.

Where do you get collections to break down?  Look on eBay under Job Lots.  There are sometimes some great things there.  Go to local auctions and rummage through the miscellaneous boxes, car boot sales are another source.  I bought 50 DVDs of steam trains last year (not something that interests me) but on Amazon I was able to sell almost half for between £5 and £10 each.  I paid £20 for the lot.

Comments (5)

Where to get Stuff to Sell on eBay? (3)

This is a great source of products to sell on eBay, from eBay itself!

Have you noticed the daily deals on the home page?  These are items for sale at well below the RRP.  50% and even 75% reductions including postage are not unusual.  So how can we benefit?

An example.  A few weeks ago I saw a box set of the ‘Carry on’ films being sold for £30, RRP £75.  I checked the other listings on eBay and saw that sellers were listing them at £65 including postage.  If I could do that I would show a profit of £35 (less postage, listing fees and PayPal a net profit of £28).

One thing that might concern you is that if loads of the items in the daily deal are sold will there be a market for them in the future?  The answer is yes.  It may be a week or 2 until the market starts again but there will be.  Other eBayers may have the same idea and so for a little while longer the market may be distorted but patience is a virtue.

Once I bought the box set I had a couple of options list them on eBay and wait or list it in another market.  I listed it on Amazon.  I listed it for £70 and it sold inside 3 days!  Another option that I did not think until later was to list them both on Amazon and eBay, see which listing produced a sale and then cancelling the other. (listing on Amazon is free)

I have done the same with other DVDs from the Daily sales and have just bought a couple of watches at 75% off………………..

However, before you rush in do your research.  Are these items being listed by others on eBay?  What prices are the ‘normal’ eBayers charging.  Are they actually selling at those prices?  If it all checks out you are onto a winner!

Comments (6)

Where to get Stuff to Sell on eBay? (2)

One of the eternal questions (along with the meaning of life, the universe and everything – mind you, that one has been answered and the answer is 42).  Just how do you get stock to build a business on eBay, especially if you have no money?  Well, here is what I did.

I started selling my own stuff as we all do.  However, I wanted to have a regular extra income and selling what I already owned was not going to be sustainable.  What did I do?  I decided what I wanted to sell.  It had to be small, collectable, easy to post.  There are a lot of options, postcards, stamps, Wade Whimsies.  Oh yes, for me it had to be something I liked.  (selling acne cream is tremendously profitable but I could not do it, it holds no interest for me.  I have to like what I do)

My next step was to look on eBay under ‘wholesale’.  There I found a job lot of 4 of the things I wanted to sell.  The cost was a smidgen under 40% of the RRP.  I was amazed that they were so cheap (I was very naive then).  Anyway I worked out that with listing fees, PayPal fees I could list and sell them and then have enough money to buy 6.  I bought them and sold them.  I had enough to buy 6 more, but they were being sold in 4s.  I bought 4 sold them then had enough to but 8.  And so it went on.

Now, my original cost? £20.  My net (after all costs) profit in February 2010? £1,236.54.  I think that that is quite a good return on £10.  The downside? It took 4 years to build to that.  The upside is that I never risked any of my own money (apart from the original £20).  I was able to learn about selling on eBay without fear (if I lost that £20, so what?).  I learnt the importance of dong the maths.  Did you notice how much I made in February?  I did not say about £1,000 or in the region of £1,400 I new exactly, because I keep good records. When I started I needed to keep good records, it is a vital habit to get into.

Finally, I am able to take profit from the business, not much as I am always reinvesting.  I have 3 main lines now 2 different wholesalers (never be dependent on just one if you can avoid it) and am looking to expand my range of products into another 2 areas by the end of 2010.

My point?  Not having a lot of money is no bar to building a sustainable business on eBay.  Having more money reduces the time it takes to build a business.  If the money available is reduced hen the time taken to build the business is increased, that’s all.

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Where to get Stuff to Sell on eBay? (1)

When I started selling on eBay like everyone else I started selling things that I owned but no longer wanted.  However, that is not the way to build a sustainable business.

I often read people saying buy on eBay to sell on eBay.  It seemed like strange advice but it is true eBay itself is a great source of products to sell, on eBay!

As with most things in life building a business on eBay  is easier if you have some money to start with but it is not impossible without.  Here is an idea for finding stock on ebay if you have money to start with;

Let’s assume that you want to sell books on eBay.  Why not, there is a good established market.  Books are easy to wrap and post.  Everyone who uses eBay will have bought a book at sometime or other and so your potential market is almost unlimited.  Here is a good way to go about getting stock.

Go to the ‘Books, comics, magazines’ category via the buy option at the top of the eBay screen.  Do not enter any search terms (you want all items under books to come up).  Search.  There will be thousands of results (actually there were 7,896,853 when I just did it!)  all sorted by ‘best match’ (whatever that means but that another topic….)  Now go to the ‘sort by’ menu box and select Highest First.  What you will find are some extremely rare and expensive books and wholesale offers.  It is the wholesale offers that should interest you.

These offers give you the opportunity to buy hundreds or thousands of books at pennies each.  Now, be aware some may not be re-saleable.  Some might be damaged, there may be more than a few of the same title.  Read the descriptions very, very carefully.  Also, how long the seller has been using eBay? Look at his feedback.  Do everything you would do if you were spending £10 on eBay but very thoroughly, remember you may be spending more than 100 times that amount.  Be very careful.

Some other things to consider;  600 books, all different sounds good but that is 600 separate listings, time consuming and expensive.  If you are buying a pallet of books how will it be delivered?  Will the seller expect you to have a fork lift truck in your garage to unload the pallet?  (If you do have a fork lift in your garage, why?).  Where are you going to store 600 books?  Plan the storage because no only do you need the space you need a system.  If the books are in one great heap how are you going to feel if the first books you sell is at the bottom of the heap. How do you know where a book is unless you have them sorted and cataloguesd?

You get the idea.

Later I will talk about how to start your business with no money (well very, very little).

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