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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.

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Selling Books on Amazon

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Sell successfully online

Do you want to start a business that is almost guaranteed to make you money? Thought you might.

Selling books on Amazon is simplicity itself.Look through you book shelves are there any books that you could live without?  Sure there are, next the big question.  What sort of condition are they in?  Ideally, you want to be listing books that are in ‘As new’ or better (i.e. new) condition.

Once you have selected a couple of books sashy over to Amazon.  enter the title or the ISBN (the 10 or 13 digit number usually inside the book with the rest of the publisher’s information).  When Amazon brings up the listing you will see that there is a ‘sell yours here’ option, take it.

Be honest about the condition, note any marks so that the buyer knows exactly what he or she is buying. Look at the price of the other listings and price yours accordingly.  To begin with chose the ship to whichever country to you live in option.  (If you live in the UK also chose the Europe option as well – ‘cos the shipping is cheap to europe from the UK).  If you do not have a sellers’ account then you will be prompted to register next, but don’t worry it is very easy.

That’s it! Now just wait for thew order to come. What will happen is that you will have an email that says  “Sold, Dispatch Now”.  That will tell you which of your books have sold and that you need to post.

rather than just sitting back, go down to your local charity (thrift) shop and buy  some books to sell.  Remember, you need to buy good quality, good condition books.  I tend to go for non-fiction books, some people sell fiction, it is up to you.  My rule of thumb is that if I could find the book interesting so will someone else.

You can make £40 -50 per week profit quite easily.  Making a replacement income will be more difficult and involve regular charity shop visits, attending car boot sales and auctions but that can come in time. By visiting one regular car boot sale each week I clear £100 per week net profit (that is, after all expenses).

Above all, buying books to sell on Amazon is FUN.

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Avoid TIM WOOD – At all costs!

Tim Wood is a dreadful chap.  We should all avoid him at all costs, for the sake of your sanity and bank balance.

Tim, of course, is not a real person, it is an acronym for the 7 wastes as identified in the Lean Manufacturing philosophy.  Although LM is directed at manufacturing, obviously, we can all learn from it, even selling.  These are the wastes.

T is for Transport.

When selling it is obvious that you need to reduce your transportation costs.  Use the cheapest reliable delivery method you can.

I is for Inventory.

If you sell 10 widgets a week and your wholesaler supplies with a 2 week lead time then why ever hold more than 30 widgets?  Holding lots of inventory is bad for your cash flow.  Businesses fail through not understanding cash flow, understand yours and hold the correct inventory levels.

M is for Motion.

Hold everything you need to complete the sale close together.  If you are working from home then you need your stock, postage labels, wrapping paper, envelopes close together to avoid wasting time and motion.  Make completing sales a chore and it will not be long before you stop selling.

W is for Waiting.

In selling terms this is close to Inventory waste.  Understand your suppliers’ lead timescales so that you are not waiting for inventory to complete sales (a sure way to get bad feedback – and bad feedback kills on eBay).

O is for Over Production.

There is an option when using Paypal to create postage labels to print 2 sheets (the label and certificate) or just the label.  Unless you need a certificate of posting don’t bother.  Do not add anything to your product that does not add value, in the eyes of the customer.  You may like the special packaging, but does it add anything for the customer?

O is also for Over Processing.

What records do you need?  I rely on PayPal and eBay records for order details.  I do not need another ledger full of old orders.  I do need a stock list that is updated asI make sales.  That is because I need an easy way of seeing what my stock levels are, and when I have to reorder stock.

D is for Defects.

Obvious but bears saying again.  Defects are deadly, especially if you offer free replacements as I do (and I would recommend you to).  The offer of a free replacement should a product be faulty is good for business, unless you do not keep an eye on the quality of your stock.

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Hoisted On My Own Petard

A couple of weeks ago I received a nice email from Tony. He called into question my grammar in the free ebook that appears on this page. In particular he questioned the sentence ‘Powersellers think like shops’.  He was entirely right, of course, what I meant was that powersellers think like shop owners.

You may be surprised that I was happy to receive his email, however, my view is that firstly he actually read the ebook and secondly I can now correct the mistake.  He also attached an ebook concerning grammar and there is a link to it here. grammarbible

I was a bit put out to be honest because I wrote a post a little while ago complaining about someone else’s sales page.  It also has to be said that I am a bit of a pedant and enjoyed Lynne Truss’ book ‘Eats Shoots and Leaves’ (you decide where the comma should go).

If like me you are interested in words, their derivation and usage then I would recommend that you visit World Wide Words an excellent site full of interesting and arcane words.

(memo to self, I must run this through the spell checker before posting it…..)

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Selling on eBay – Why Bother Being a PowerSeller?

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Sell successfully online

What is the point of being a PowerSeller?  Of itself being a PowerSeller does not mean much.  You can sell 100 small widgets a month making no profit and be a PowerSeller, what does it prove?

The point is that buyers trust PowerSellers.  Being a PowerSeller, coupled with a fantastic feedback record  improves your reputation and encourages people to buy from you.

That is the only point to striving to be a powerseller.

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Selling on eBay – A Cautionary Tale (2)

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Sell successfully online

For the background to this follow this link.

I saw the man who offered me his stock and showed him what I had discovered.  To say that he was surprised would be an understatement.  He did say, however, that he knew the manufacturer of some of the items the company in question sold and knew for certain that they were not counterfeit.

So, the position is that while some of the goods from this wholesaler are legitimate they were prosecuted for selling non-licensed, counterfeit items.  Do I buy the goods that I know to be legit?  The answer is no for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, if they have a record for this sort of activity in the past how much can I trust them in the future?  Also, even if the goods I buy from them are legit if they are caught selling other counterfeit goods my account with eBay could be suspended until I am cleared.

It is just not worth the risk.

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