BAM eBay Buyer Blog

Posts for eBay buyers about buying on eBay

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!



Would You Sell Your Items with eBay Neighbourhood?

Would You Sell Your Items with eBay Neighbourhood?


EBay has launched a peer-to-peer selling program in the U.K., eBay Neighbourhood, according to TameBay. With the program, people who want to unload items they no longer need would be able to use the services of trusted sellers in certain local areas in the U.K.  The selling fee is a flat 40% charged to the buyer, but the seller would also benefit from free insertion and 20% off final value fees, according to TameBay.

EBay will contact users in the areas where the program is being piloted that there are sellers in the area that can help them sell their unwanted stuff.

I find this program interesting because eBay often tests initiatives in the U.K. and other sites before bringing them to the U.S. It could be the latest incarnation of what was the eBay Trading Assistant Program, which was ended in 2013, according to this article in EcommerceBytes from that time.

My take on it is that some kind of program where experienced sellers can help eBay novices -- or just those folks who don't want to bother with creating their own eBay listings -- is a good idea. Apparently with this new pilot program, eBay is only inviting "trusted sellers" to do the consignment listing, so any unmet expectations by the former Trading Assistant program would not be a problem.

Personally, I have sold all kinds of items for others, mostly friends and neighbors, and found it to be a worthwhile endeavor for both sides, though you must be meticulous about recordkeeping. The only downside for me was that I felt a pressure to keep my commission fees low, because these were friends. With eBay Neighbourhood, the set 40% commission eliminates this problem.

What do you think about this pilot program, and would you want it to come to the U.S.? What do you think of the whole idea of having another eBay seller list your goods for you...do you have reservations about it, or does it just sound like a great way to unload your unneeded stuff?  Post a comment here!


Ideas for Back-to-School Bargains and Money-Making on eBay and Amazon

Ideas for Back-to-School Bargains and Money-Making on eBay and Amazon


It may only be mid-August, but that's never too soon for the online marketplaces to start pushing back-to-school merchandise. EBay has an area set up here devoted to back-to-school items, which it touts at up to 70% off.

Your offspring, be they child, tween, or teen, may be picky about the things they wear, but on the other hand, back-to-school can be a great time to both sell your kid's gently used clothing and other school supplies, as well as buy items.

In terms of buying, consider getting bargains on these things:

- backpacks

- musical instruments

- textbooks (these can be found in abundance on Amazon.com as well as eBay).

But consider going through your child's possessions and making extra money by selling items such as these:

- gently-used jeans that have been outgrown

- sports clothing and equipment, such as soccer shin guards and outgrown cleats

- calculators (such as those fancy one needed for calculus; if your kid is going off to college, they may not need it anymore).

- prom dresses that likely got only that one use

- and again, musical instruments! (Did your little darling give up the viola or flute, the way mine eventually did?).

- even Halloween costumes (it's never too early to sell these, and even school theater departments can use some of them).

So consider back-to-school as a time to get bargains online, but also to de-clutter and make extra money as well. What types of items are you most likely to buy online for back-to-school?  Post a comment here!

Are Fancy Item Templates a Turnoff?

Are Fancy Item Templates a Turnoff?


As an eBay buyer, do you find listing templates with all the "bells and whistles" a turnoff, or do you like them? According to some online discussions I have read, that fancy html listing template may not just be annoying, it may keep listings from displaying properly on mobile devices, where more and more people are buying from now.

One user on an eBay Reddit thread wrote, "A large percentage of eBay's traffic is now mobile users and most of those templates do not display correctly on mobile. A simple text description is fine, if not preferable for most buyers. It's similar to all the old-timers putting up walls of text with pseudo-legal / professional sounding language describing return policies and a ton of other nonsense that just clutters up the page. The less stimuli overload, the better chance of someone clicking buy instead of getting overwhelmed or frustrated and clicking back."

Personally, I prefer at least three or so photos, and a simple but detailed item description. It does not need to be "War and Peace," but neither should it be so short as to be practically just a repeat of the title. My pet peeve is listing descriptions that give you no added info on the item, and appear to have been written in a matter of seconds.

Plus, the way eBay listing templates are moving, and have been moving, it is becoming more important for sellers to check all the right item specifics and other policy boxes, so this is more important than having, say a floral design around your listing.

Another commenter added that while many people hate bad photos, they once got a killer deal on shoes due to the photo quality being so bad!

What are your thoughts on fancy listing templates vs. simple, text-based listings? Post a comment here!

eBay CEO Devin Wenig Emphasizes User Growth, Product Reviews, VR and More in Keynote

eBay CEO Devin Wenig Emphasizes User Growth, Product Reviews, VR and More in Keynote

EBay CEO Devin Wenig kicked off the eBay Open 2016 conference in Las Vegas yesterday with a speech that introduced himself to the eBay community in general and laid out a positive, seller-inclusive vision for the future. A few of the key areas he touched on included his desire to grow eBay at least 100,000 new customers, continuing to improve their growing stash of product reviews, and looking to the next platforms of the future; of which two he mentioned are AI and Virtual reality.

Wenig was received warmly by the sellers in the crowd, at one point with someone yelling out "I love you Devin!"  He said he'd been at the company by now a few years, and "I had seen the good, the bad, and the ugly, and I love this company. And I care deeply that eBay is going to be set up for huge future success.  And I care deeply that we win."

But he emphasized that "You can't run the company in 90-day, or even one-year increments; we are playing a game that is a long-term game."

He said that sometimes "I think a valid criticism of the business historically is that we may have been trying to be like other people, adding, "I don't want to be like anybody else.  I think our company is awesome the way it is. And actually, I want it to be more awesome."

A graphic came up behind him and he said he was showing you something every employee in eBay sees. "Our ambition is to have the world shop first on eBay.  Not second, not last resort, not when I can't find it somewhere else...But go to eBay because it is the world's greatest store."

He mentioned the new branding, which he said was "this idea that everyone gets their version of perfect."  Not everybody wants the same thing.  Some people want a brand new item in season that's shipped quickly, and some people don't.  Some people want last year's.  And some people want a white label, and some people want a manufacturer refurb.   And some people want a used version.  "And there's some of us here that sell everything I just said," he said. "And that's great, because that's somebody's version of perfect.

He went on to emphasize eBay's adding of many product reviews in the last year, and said it began with adding/ structuring product data.

"We ask you to go on this journey with us to structure our data.  The reality is that asking in 2016, asking a billion people who should be shopping on ebay, to sort through 100,000 separate iPhones to find the one that they want is a bit rough. We should do better than that," he said.  We've got to understand the products being sold, so we asked you to give us that data and we went on that journey, he added.

"People asked, people like product reviews, how come we don't have product reviews? And my answer was we don't have product reviews because we don't understand products.  And that's not an answer anybody wanted to hear, but that was the truth," he said.

"We had listings, not products.  And now, 12 months later, there are 12 million product reviews on eBay.  "And by the way, you haven't seen anything yet on product reviews; wait 'til you see what's coming."

Addressing sellers' concerns and sense of fairness with policies, Wenig said, "And I actually think we got way out of balance. And I listened to sellers who said you know, you're jamming policies down our throats that we cannot live with. We cannot  rely on those policies." So he said we've got to adjust this.  "We have to have policies, because buyers' standards matter. But if it's not fair to you as a seller, we lose our greatest advantage."  [And here someone called out "thank you" or such.]

Addressing his desire for new users, Wenig said, "I want 100 million new customers.   I've got 164 million active customers. What I think about is there are 4 billion people on the Internet.  Facebook has a billion." They show pictures, they don't open their wallets, I get that; he added.

But, he said, "The market is moving towards us, and  100,000 new customers "ought to be a layup"   As we move from building and emphasize acceleration, you will see us launch some new categories.

He said eBay had already launched the new category of Wine in the US. "That's pretty cool. I like to drink wine...Apparently I did drink some wine last night," he quipped.

He emphasized that eBay was going to  launch other new categories; "they are going to come really soon."

There's new, there's unique...it's the bringing together of those things..around the world, said Wenig, adding, "We are going to build the world's best comparison shopping experience.  This ability to show choice, spectrum...to simplify the billion items that are now for sale on eBay and make it consumable by the next 100 million is something I'm really excited about."

He did say you will see product reviews "evolve quickly to something you won't see anywhere else on any other ecommerce site. Stay tuned for that."

He said you will see eBay tell more stories about unique items, and "by the way, I want you to tell more stories."

Wenig also touched on eBay's plans for social media and its Seller Hub.

"We're the most aggressive commerce company pushing out into social," he said. "I want to meet them there. I want your inventory and eBay's inventory to be showing up in these places.

[A graphic showed "eBay everywhere," with the logos for Facebook, Snapchat, Pihterest and Instagram. ]

"We have big plans for Seller Hub.  This should be the way you really get insight into your business and manage your inventory.

Lastly, he touched on the future and the next big technology platforms eBay was looking into.  "There are a couple more platforms that are going to be really important," he said.  AI [artificial intelligence] is coming, it's going to be important.  The ability to take big data sets and create a highly personal experience is going to be the future of commerce. We're going to make big bets on it," he said.

So is the Internet of Everywhere, he said.  There are going to be a trillion devices connected in the cloud. Those two are going to be commerce touchmarks. "eBay should be everywhere, and be in those connected places."

And finally, virtual and assisted reality.   "I sat down with StubHub and built a virtual reality view from your seat," he said.  Ninety days later, 20% of all tickets sold use that app --  one out of every 5 tickets, he said.  People strapped on headgear "to get that inside view before they bought tickets."

Wenig assured the crowd that eBay will be there, eBay will be a leader, and "we will be your partner in taking you into that new order."