I am now a reasonably experienced seller on Ebay and have come up with a few service standards and rules that I employ in my business which may provide useful guidance for others, especially those starting out as sellers on Ebay.
only charge what it costs you to post an item, or round it off to a dollar figure that's very close to the actual postage price. Nothing annoys buyers more than being charged too much for postage. Work out what it costs to post an item prior to the sale (Australia Post and Ebay have some very useful online postage calculation tools and Australia Post employees can also be very helpful where advice is needed). Be sure to include costs such as masking tape, padded bags or any other packaging costs you need to absorb. If you do happen to make a mistake with your calculations, then it's up to you to absorb any extra costs (unless there has been a genuine and inadvertent typo in your listing or some major error of that nature)! It's only ethical that what has been listed should be sold at the price that has been advertised.
EFFECTIVE SELLING AND MARKETING
Be sure there is a market for an item you want to sell. Price the item you want to sell before you stock it, and if you can't match a larger operation's price (most likely, because they buy in bulk at a far reduced price) then don't compete where you can't be competitive. When you search for an item, if you select completed listings from the left hand panel once the matches appear, this lists recent previous sales. Using this tool ensures you have an understanding of recent market prices plus can also see where titles consistently have not sold. My advice would be to do your sums and research prior or you won't be successful!
Consider opening an Ebay store, as this enables you to list items for 30 days and can also assist with stock control. Ebay stores also provide sellers with a number of useful marketing tools such as producing newsletters, creating a store logo, having a store webpage and the like. If you want to add a professional touch and plan on doing a lot of selling then I would strongly recommend opening an Ebay store
Find a niche market, because that might result in repeat purchases from buyers where they have an interest in many of the mutually relevant items you are selling
Sometimes it's good to stock the unique and rare or even just go on a hunch where you think there is a market for something no-one else is selling. Where items are not readily available, this can result in great prices at auction for sellers! ALWAYS however first test and analyse the market before buying a huge quantity of stock that may not sell, otherwise your outlay will open up the success of your business to significant risk
CREATE RELEVANT DESCRIPTIONS AND TITLES FOR YOUR LISTINGS
- Ensure your descriptions are clear so buyers understand the features and condition of the item being sold (if necessary, take extra photos to clearly identify any defects).
- Ensure that your title is relevant and can be searched on in order to maximise traffic to your item. If you want more traffic to your item, consider paying more for subtitles, bold, extra gallery pictures and the like. In the end the extra outlay for advertising may well result in a much higher final sale price for the item that will more than repay the initial outlay
COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY AND PROMPTLY WITH YOUR BUYERS
- Keep buyers informed at every step of the process. Always send an invoice as soon as possible after an auction ends. If a buyer sends an email letting you know they have made a payment, or will shortly be making a payment, then acknowledge their message and thank them for letting you know. That way buyers don't feel like they are in limbo and can be sure that you have received their message and know their payment is on the way. Once payment has been received, let the buyer know this, and also confirm that the item has been posted, or specify when it will be posted.
- Answer any questions about items you are selling in an efficient and informative manner. This creates a good impression regarding your knowledge of your products and also shows that your operation is highly professional in nature. Ensure you understand the products you are selling before you stock and sell them!
POSTING YOUR ITEM
- Don't EVER post an item before payment clears in. Unfortunately, even if someone says that they need an item quickly (i.e. as a present), I have come unstuck on a few occasions where I have posted an item in good faith. Instant payment is readily available to buyers via Paypal, and it's the buyer's responsibility to be organised prior to a sale if they require the item quickly. Sadly, buyers don't always pay after having received an item, so don't get sucked in and make exceptions or post before payment is received in ANY circumstances!
- Don't leave feedback until feedback has been left by the buyer. If you receive negative feedback and you have already left positive feedback, then it's much harder to address an issue where you feel feedback is unjust or undeserved
- If a payment is not received, give buyers every possible chance to communicate in case something has gone wrong and they are not in a position to pay. There may be a reason for non payment, such as technological failure (the hard drive of a computer blowing up), illness in the family, hospitalisation, pressures at work or even temporary loss of income. Try to be flexible, because where this occurs, it's a win-win outcome for both the buyer and seller. I've actually had a few buyers I helped by being flexible come back to my store for repeat purchases.
- Don't raise an unpaid item dispute if your terms and requirements as a seller are not met immediately. Only open an unpaid item dispute where all previous efforts to communicate have proven unsuccessful. If you do need to open up a dispute then read up on the timelines, for instance, for closing a dispute so your listing fees are paid back
LASTLY, ENSURE YOUR BUYERS ARE HAPPY!!
- Where an item has not been received, if at all within your power, offer to replace the item or provide a refund. (This will of course depend on the price of the item and whether or not you still have an item to replace the one that has gone missing). Some sellers don't do this and will only do so if the buyer has paid for postal insurance, which is fair enough. I am in a fortunate position where I sell items that I feel I can replace gratis, and without my business suffering to a huge extent, and hence I try to do this where at all possible. I have only had to replace four dvds in the past year and although it's not my fault when items go missing in the post, it's not the buyer's fault either and it's a business cost I choose to absorb. It creates good will and can sometimes even lead to future business for sellers!
- Thank buyers for their purchase and payment, be customer service focused, and always offer incentives for multiple purchases. Happy and satisfied buyers will hopefully come back ... again ... and again ... and hopefully, again!
HAPPY SELLING, AND THANKS FOR READING MY GUIDE!!
PLEASE DON'T FORGET TO RATE THIS GUIDE, IF YOU FOUND IT USEFUL!