BAM eBay Buyer Blog

Posts for eBay buyers about buying on eBay

A Look at Amazon Handmade Vs. Etsy

A Look at Amazon Handmade Vs. Etsy



It's been a little while since Amazon launched its handmade section, so I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how far its come along, and compare it to Etsy, the latter which of course has had a huge lead.

To be considered for Amazon's handmade area, you need to receive an invitation. But, you can also request an invitation from their Handmade at Amazon page.

When I looked at the Handmade at Amazon shopping area, I got 215 results. Many of these are artisan jewelry items. There are also some whimsical "Mistaken Lyrics Coasters" and an attractive porcelain red flower mug, along with a matching red flower design bowl.  These cost $38.00 and $36.00, respectively.

In general, prices in the Handmade category are going to skew higher than those in Amazon's regular category; this is to be expected for handmade, quality items. The same can be said of Etsy, where prices tend to be higher for items than those on eBay.

Right now on Amazon Handmade, I saw:

- 145 Jewelry Items

- 70 Home & Kitchen Items

and

- 8 Handbags and Accessories.

(Right now on Etsy alone, there are some 8,339,000 jewelry items).

Jewelry items on Amazon Handmade include funky necklaces such as a cat sculpture pendant and some Chevron-designed disc pendants; there are also several "Druzy," raw gemstone-encrusted looking pieces.

While there are of course tons more items on Etsy, a big reason Etsy sellers may want to look at applying for an invitation is for more customers, and specifically the draw of the "two-day shipping" Prime offers.

If you are a seller of handmade items, check out the invitation request on Amazon. If you are a buyer, don't neglect looking at Amazon handmade as an up-and-coming place to buy unique handmade gifts.

In a subsequent post, we will take a look at the eBay handmade offerings.

What do you think of handmade items on Amazon, and would you buy any of them? Do you look for handmade items when shopping for gifts or yourself? Post a comment here!

How Much Will EBay's Expanded Product Reviews Affect Your Purchases?

How Much Will EBay's Expanded Product Reviews Affect Your Purchases?


I have to admit, although I shop on both eBay and Amazon (and Etsy occasionally), for new items, I go to Amazon more often so I can have the benefit of their many product reviews. This is not to say that the experience of every reviewer will be the same as mine, but when you read a lot of different reviews of one product, you get a pretty good idea of how it will perform.

In an effort to catch up to Amazon in the product reviews category (they have a ways to go, but hey, it's never too late), EBay announced in its Fall 2016 Seller Update that it was expanding seller reviews.

To wit:

"We have improved product reviews for buyers and sellers, leveraging catalog and other data. We have also:

    Expanded reviews to even more products
    Created a cleaner design with easy-to-identify ratings
    Created simplified follow-up emails to buyers requesting product reviews

"These changes will help drive conversion and keep buyers on eBay.

"In addition, starting May 6, product reviews will be available for all eligible listings. eBay sellers who previously opted out of product reviews on My eBay will be opted back into product reviews. If you opted out and want to opt in to take advantage of the benefits of product reviews before May 6, you can do so on My eBay."

Further, if there is no review written yet for a product, "a buyer will be given the opportunity to be the first to write a review and any buyers of reviewable items will receive an email encouraging them to write a review. All eligible products across all categories in general can be reviewed and show reviews."

Can used items have reviews? EBay says, "Research shows that users like to read reviews about both new and used items. We require reviewers to indicate the condition of items they are reviewing to ensure that the most relevant information is provided to buyers. We will continue to evaluate how buyers use the information and will make adjustments when appropriate."

Reviews of used items could be interesting, if not downright entertaining.  I would also like to see reviews of quirky, one-off items. While the item may not be available to another eBayer, it could be interesting to read such reviews, and they could apply to similar items.

How much do product reviews drive your purchases? And what do you think of eBay's changes regarding product reviews? Do you mind that you will be opted back in to product reviews come May? Post a comment here!




My Take on EBay's Fall 2016 Seller Update

My Take on EBay's Fall 2016 Seller Update



In my last post I wrote about the changes in eBay's Fall 2016 Seller Update from a buyer's perspective. Today I want to write about them from a seller's perspective, as I know many buyers are also sellers.

- Structured Data:

"For new or manufacturer refurbished items, eBay will accept non-standard product identifiers. We will make selling even easier by enabling merchants to list using a wider range of product identifiers beginning February 2017, including:
        Amazon standard identification numbers (ASIN)
        Google product identifiers
        Private label product identifiers (seller-generated product identifiers)"

My take is this is a good thing; they are making it easier for sellers to use all kinds of product identifiers, including rival Amazon's.  This should help sellers list items that already have identifiers, and help buyers find things in search.

The only thing that worries me about this is the following part:

"By February 2017, for most categories, newly-created listings will require at least one type of product identifier (e.g. UPC, GTIN, one of the above, etc.). Also, note that the options “Does not Apply” and “NA” will no longer be available for the majority of items."

I hope that for rare and one-off items, sellers will still be able to list these without some sort of product identifier number. EBay did say that "When you provide your product information to eBay through our new catalog-upload feature, we’ll create eBay product identifiers (ePIDs) for you, which help you build your brand on eBay. ePIDs offer sellers of private label and unbranded items access to the benefits and insights branded inventory currently enjoys, including eBay product reviews." So there will be a specialized eBay product identifier; I just hope that those rare and unique items won't have a problem being listed.

- Returns

"You told us that you wanted the option to offer buyers a replacement item, or allow them to exchange an item, rather than provide a refund. This capability will be available in October.

We are also updating the Return Preferences in My eBay, so that you can set preferences for automating returns, refunds, and replacements all in one place."

My take is this is also a good thing; having more information for buyers about return preferences in listings should help both sides, and having the option to do an exchange instead of a return should as well.

- Active Content

"Active content no longer allowed on item description pages after June, 2017

"Active content is used by many sellers today to provide interactivity, animation or video via JavaScript, Flash, plug-ins, and form actions in listings. As we mentioned last spring, active content can negatively impact the user experience by inhibiting mobile purchasing, creating longer load times, and increasing security vulnerabilities."

I've written before that I think active content is just a distraction. Some sellers may not be happy if they are using it now, because they will need to change their listings, but I don't think this will be a big problem for most sellers.  And for buyers, it will be a cleaner look.

- Seller tools

"eBay Seller Hub to become the tool for managing your business on eBay

"Free to use, eBay Seller Hub offers the tools, information, and insights you need to build and maintain your business on eBay. As part of our ongoing commitment to providing you with world–class functionality and actionable data, we will be directing future resources toward developing new Seller Hub features that will make it easier to run your business and help you stay competitive in the ever–evolving world of e–commerce."

I think consolidating the tools and information sellers need in one area is a good thing. And the new tools will be available all from that area; "eBay will no longer support older tools, such as Selling Manager and Selling Manager Pro after Spring 2017."

- Seller performance standards

"More insight, more guidance, and more time to get back on track," says eBay.

"When you’re unable to meet eBay’s minimum performance standards, we’re making it easier to understand your status, how you got there, and what you can do to fix the situation.

"As you work to make these improvements, we’ll defer performance-related selling limits or selling restrictions on your accounts for at least three months (other consequences may still apply*). This will give you ample time to focus on selling and getting your status back above standard."

The sellers who wrote about this that I saw all were very happy about this, understandably. Things sometimes happen in any business -- illness, disasters, floods, etc...and this new leniency gives sellers with such situations a chance to salvage their business and time to fix things.

Other than that, there were mainly minor things such as category changes -- additions and consolidations -- and some changes to the User Agreement.

It seems to me that sellers should be pretty happy about this new update, which many agree took seller feedback into account, with CEO Devin Wenig taking his hundreds of conversations with sellers to heart.

What do you think about the eBay 2016 Fall Seller Update from a seller perspective?  Post a comment here!

Changes Coming to EBay with Fall Seller Release 2016

Changes Coming to EBay with Fall Seller Release 2016


EBay is set to release its Fall Seller update today, according to this article in EcommerceBytes. Changes affecting sellers are to include the wider use of product identifiers, such as Amazon standard identification numbers (ASIN) and Google product identifiers.

Reported Changes that will impact buyers include:

- Newly-created listings will require at least one type of product identifier by February 2017, for most categories. So buyers will have more data to search on when looking for items.  However, some categories and item types will continue to be exempt, such as in Coins & Paper Money, Stamps, and Toys & Hobbies.

- Shipping and Returns: it will be easier for sellers to offer replacements and exchanges for sellers who wish to return an item, according to the article. This, of course, could be less costly for the seller than issuing a refund.  But refunds will remain an option.

- Active content in listings: eBay will be phasing out those flashy bells and whistles that may just annoy some buyers; it will begin disallowing Active Content in June 2017. "That includes JavaScript, Flash, plug-ins, and form actions in listings," according to the piece.

- Categories: there will be new categories and revisions to existing categories come October 2016.

I will be reporting more on the changes as they are published. What do you think of the changes as they've been reported so far? Will they make a difference to you as a buyer?  Post a comment here!

Considering Negative Feedback When Buying on eBay

Considering Negative Feedback When Buying on eBay


EBay has changed the way it displayed negative feedback over the years.  In the past, you used to have to scroll down through a member's many transactions to get the details of a negative feedback transaction.  Currently, though, eBay displays the number of negative feedbacks a member received for a six-to-12-month period, and you can easily click on the number and read the comment or comments buyers have left.

I think negative feedback is instructive in what it is, so you can learn the type of questions you should be asking a seller.  For example, for a pair of pants in my size I'm considering buying, one negative comment for that seller complained that some pants "require tailoring" and that they hang below the pant leg.  This is the kind of information you can get if you ask the seller for measurements, and check them against yourself with a tape measure.

It's also helpful to see if a seller replies to negative feedback.  I think a response by a seller is very important, if just to show they are on top of their mail and pay attention to what their buyers say.  Sometimes the response will be the seller defending themselves, such as "measurements were given and I offer returns."

But one seller admitted that the transaction gone wrong was "my bad," as they had been on vacation.  That kind of honesty is a good thing to see in a seller too.

If you want to see a seller's feedback that goes back more than a year ago, consider going to Toolhaus.org and inputting the seller's ID in the "Negative/Neutral Feedback" area.  There are also sections on the site for "30-Day Negs," "Mutual" feedback, and "Blocked-Bidder Check," which lets you search your blocked bidder list for invalid/NARU ("not a registered user") users.

I think the bottom line is to be reasonable when checking a seller's negative feedback.  If they have some 1000 transactions, and only three negative feedbacks, that's not such a bad track record, especially if it's something like a sizing issue and the seller offers returns.

Do you make a point of checking a seller's negative feedbacks before buying?  What kind of negative feedback would keep you from buying something, given how many transactions a seller had?  Post a comment here!