BAM eBay Buyer Blog

Posts for eBay buyers about buying on eBay

Is China One of Your Top Global Shopping Destinations?

Is China One of Your Top Global Shopping Destinations?



In a recent release from PayPal, it revealed that China now beats the U.S. as a top global shopping destination. "For the first time in the survey's three-year history, China is the most popular cross-border online shopping destination for global online shoppers (21 percent of all online shoppers interviewed claimed to have shopped cross-border from Chinese websites in the past 12 months), followed by the U.S. (17 percent) and U.K. (13 percent)."

Also according to the release, the search for a good deal is what is driving the current cross-border shoppers. "Seventy-six percent of global consumers polled who shop cross-border cited better prices as a reason for shopping in another country instead of the country where they live." Another reason for having made purchases internationally.was "gaining access to items not available in their own country" (selected by 65 percent) 

But free shipping (selected by 46 percent of global online shoppers) and a secure way to pay (44 percent) are the top factors that could drive more cross-border shopping in terms of what would make online shoppers more likely to buy from a website in another country.

The release makes the point that the distinction between these insights is what is important for merchants - "to retain a current cross-border shopper, better pricing is key." But "to motivate a shopper who may have never shopped cross-border before, free shipping and a secure way to pay are paramount in converting them."

Do you find your buying habits following this pattern? In the past, some buyers were hesitant to purchase items from China, wary of the quality, or, in the case of luxury goods, if the items were authentic. In my recent shopping on eBay looking for winter coats, I noticed a lot of the coats were listed from China, and had very desirable prices including free shipping.

What about the other countries in the survey results? Do you stick to the U.S. for the most part in buying on sites such as eBay, and do you find yourself shopping more from the U.K., which was third in the survey results?

Toolhaus Feedback Tool Suppressed Under Current eBay System

Toolhaus Feedback Tool Suppressed Under Current eBay System




Toolhaus.org has long provided a useful tool for looking at feedback of eBay members -- such as Negative/Neutral feedback left by users, a 30-Day Negs tool, to weed out where the negative feedbacks are; and an Item FB tool, which shows you user's recent feedback with the item's title, and groups feedback from Dutch Auctions into a single entry. (You can even search the item titles for specific terms). But now, according to its founder, Win Bent, on this EcommerceBytes blog entry, eBay is not allowing the tool to work with eBay's system.

In a letter to a donor, Bent says in part:

"...Then there's the "small" issue of eBay blocking Toolhaus. We're an independent site, long ago we turned down the chance to be an Authorized eBay Developer and work within their system. We'd rather do our analysis based on what anyone can see, not just people with access to inside information. But the result was that they could shut us down for any reason, and over the years they've done exactly that in big and small ways.

"A few years back, they started blocking us, but we figured out a good way to avoid the blocks, to keep eBay happy. Currently, their blocks have gotten quite big - big enough to make Toolhaus nearly useless."

One commenter on the post had this to say: "Toolhaus use to be a very desirable source of information.  But once we moved past being able to leave negative or neutral FB for buyers, it just didn't have as much importance to me.  Again, I do firmly believe Toolhaus proved a very good service back in the day, but not so much anymore with the changes in FB rules.

"Looking up a buyer just didn't always tell you the real story whether on Ebay or Toolhaus," they said.

"I'm with Rexford, looking up a buyer's FB just doesn't tell you much anymore," they continued. "However I do still look up the FB LEFT by a buyer.  Now that can still be very informative."

And one eBayer commented: "As a buyer I still use Toolhaus.org. I look for patterns in the feedback such as sellers who pack items poorly or claim an item is an original when in fact it is a cheap reproduction. There is a group on Facebook where sellers post the buyers they block and why. Recently I wanted to buy a very rare item but passed because the seller had a ton of negative feedback. I do agree ebay should bring back negative buyer feedback so sellers can block the scam artists."

What about you? Do you still use Toolhaus for vetting feedback, and has it not worked for you when you tried? Should eBay allow the Toolhaus tool to work with its system? And do you look up feedback left by buyers, and not just a buyer's feedback, when researching them? Given that sellers have for a long time not been able to leave negative feedback for buyers, what feedback tools would you like to see on eBay? Post a comment here!


EBay Shares What Buyers Want for the Holidays

EBay Shares What Buyers Want for the Holidays




In an email to sellers, eBay is sharing what holiday buyers are on the hunt for now. Here are some of the highlights:

Electronics

In Electronics, some of the key trends are:

- The new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air launched on October 27. The new form factor and feature sets are expected to reinvigorate the sales of MacBooks.

-    Phone sales continue to outperform expectations with no signs of slowdown in older generation models.

-    Hot holiday items are expected to see sales increase early this year. Key items are VR, cell phones, 4K TVs, drones, laptops, and gaming consoles.

Some of the individual items under electronics included an Apple iPod Nano 16Gb 7th generation for $93.13; an unlocked Samsung Galaxy Note 5 for $574.26; and an Apple 27 inch iMac with Retina 5K Display for $1860.61.

Fashion & Beauty

In Fashion & Beauty, these types of items are hot:

-    Beauty gift sets in Fragrance, Skincare, and Makeup are trending as a value play for the holiday gifting season.
-    Shearling and faux-shearling boots and slippers are a big focus this holiday, especially with the new UGG Classic II release.
-    The athleisure trend continues to be the biggest driver in the men’s and women’s athletic apparel category.

Leggings seemed to be also particularly in demand, with three pairs listed in the trending items, including a pair of LuLaRoe leggings for $26.78.

Toys

In the ever-popular Toys category, eBay gives these tips:

-    With the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story quickly approaching on December 16, searches are on the rise for all things Star Wars.
-    Toys with tech are taking play to the next level this season by integrating tech and learning with fun: Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar, Love2Learn Elmo, Bloxels, and more.
-    Demand for LEGO on eBay is on the rise for the holiday season, including Technic, Star Wars, Friends, City, and Super Heroes.

One high-priced action figure listed is a Batman vs. Superman:DAWN of Justice armored 12" figure for $344.01. American Girl dolls often command high figures, and an American Girl Grace Opening Night Dress Pink Outfit GOTY Sandals Headband Tulle is commanding $133.60.

Meanwhile, what about holiday items? In the Home & Garden category, these tips are broken out:

Home & Garden

- This month, holiday is in full effect with the top 5 searched terms: Christmas, Christmas tree, star shower, Christmas lights, and ornaments.
-    Stocking stuffers continue to trend, especially decorative jar candles, oil diffuser gift sets, and Fitbit Charge 2.
-    This month is also all about cold-weather and winter readiness. In Home Improvement, space heaters, chainsaws, generators, and snow-blowers are in demand.

A Showers Red & Green Laser Light Show, as Seen on TV, is going for $24.99 - $39.99, and one of the Fitbits is going for $99.99.

In Lifestyle & Media:

-  D’Angelico Guitars announced the launch of its new electrical guitar strings, D’Angelico Electrozinc, combining modern innovation with classic original.
-    Serato teamed up with Roland to launch the DJ-808, an innovative DJ controller that works with Roland’s AIRA products and Serato’s DJ software.
-    Technavio’s research analysts expect the global luggage market to expand by a steady 6% from 2016–2020 as luggage continues to improve in comfort and style.

Samsonite suitcases are also in demand, with "Samsonite Suitcases Luggage Inova Spinner 28 Metallic Silver" going for $155.99.

In my experience, eBay is a great place to get unique and "old world" holiday ornaments you can't easily find in the stores, and of course there are decorations galore. If you are a seller, get out those holiday items now, from jewelry to Pere Noels and "old World" Santas; buyers love to purchase decorations in advance of the holidays and also to give as gifts.

What are you looking to buy online for the holiday season, and what do you look to buy on eBay vs. buying in the stores? Post a comment here!

EBay Revamps Its Discussion Boards

EBay Revamps Its Discussion Boards




EBay recently redesigned its discussion boards, announcing it on October 27. In eyeballing the page with the discussions, what struck me was it seemed to be very streamlined, with fewer topics on the top level, including fewer of the category discussion boards which I had found very helpful.

In announcing the change, eBay explained, "The Community discussion boards have been a staple of the eBay marketplace since the beginning. The boards have evolved with us, but in recent years, they’ve lacked important features that you’ve told us you want. Today, we deliver those new features:

    "A more personalized experience that serves up the content and conversations that are most relevant to you.
    "A recognition program that rewards your valuable contributions via ranks and badges
    "Enhanced user profiles that allow community members to quickly see the person behind the post, enabling more transparent interactions and meaningful connections.
    "A knowledge base built by you – our community members – featuring user-generated content curated by the Community team.
   "More engagement from eBay employees across the company - weighing in on relevant conversations."

The top level of the Community boards is now more graphic in its interface; there are featured discussions for Seller News and the Weekly Discussion with eBay Staff. On a positive note, there are also a list of "Popular Discussions" on the top level, and eBay is rewarding top contributors by featuring some of their posts on the right side of the screen.

According to Ina Steiner in a post at the EcommerceBytes Blog, the worst thing about the new boards is "hovering over titles of threads no longer shows an abstract."

I'd like to see more of the item categories on the top level, back to the way it used to be. In the new design, there are only eight categories listed on that level, including Electronics, Product Discussions, Fashion, Collectibles & Art, Motors, Home & Garden,
Sporting Goods,  and Toys & Hobbies.

What do you think of the new eBay discussion boards, or do you miss the way the old boards used to be? Do you think the recognition program will increase users' posts, and would it incentivize you to post? What do you think are the best and worst things about the new boards? Post a comment here!

Have Shipping Costs for Some Items Reached a Tipping Point?

Have Shipping Costs for Some Items Reached a Tipping Point?


After choosing to buy a winter coat at a retail store (well, a discount retail store), I considered its heft and wondered if this item would be worth buying online, or if the weight of this type of thing now made it too costly to get a really good deal on a site like eBay. I weighed it in a box to see how much it would cost me to ship if I were a seller, and it came to $25.25 for Priority Mail. 

(If it could have fit in a flat-rate box, it would have been, say, $18.75 for a 2-day Large Flat Rate Box, $13.45 for a Medium Flat-Rate Box, or $6.80 for a Small Flat-Rate Box. (Regional Rate boxes were not applicable in this scenario, according to the USPS. com web site).

You have to figure that even if an online price from a seller on, say, eBay was less than the $25.25, it had been factored into the item's price. Given that I only paid $48.00 for this coat on clearance from the store, and I was able to try it on, I wondered if the appeal of shopping on eBay for a bargain of a winter coat made sense anymore.

Then there are the expectations of shoppers today. Many of them will go for free shipping, especially as it is offered more and more places these days, such as of course, on Amazon Prime items. According to a study by JDA Software Group, Inc., free shipping remains such a high priority for consumers that 69 percent of respondents have spent more than they planned, just to reach the minimum threshold to receive free shipping. "This trend is particularly prevalent during the holiday season, with 80 percent of respondents who shopped primarily online during Black Friday/Cyber Monday last year claiming that they spent more than they intended in order to meet a free shipping threshold," says the JDA press release.

However, when I do a search on women's winter coats, there are lo and behold actually plenty of items that are low-priced and offer free shipping. In fact, the first page of results -- and beyond -- show items offering almost nothing but free shipping, with a few auction items with shipping thrown in. The choices on the first page range from $19.99 for a "Women Ladies Winter Puffer Padded Quilted Zip Up Jacket Coat" and $23.56 for a "Women Long Sleeve Hoodie wool Winter Warm jacket coat trenck parka outwear," up to $199.99 for a name-brand BURBERRY LONDON Parka Women's Down Puffer Winter Coat.

As you drill further down into the listings, you can find other recognizable brand coats that do actually charge shipping, such as a "J CREW Large Wool Cashmere Charcoal Gray Lined Women's Winter Coat - L" for $49.95 plus $12.95 shipping. I also saw a heavier Abercrombie & Fitch fur-lined coat selling with $14.50 in shipping, but in auction format with a starting bid of $10.

So it seems at least with the top pages on eBay, there are few to no shipping prices over about $14.00.  This, however, doesn't mean you won't find them built into the item's price, especially with the name-brand items like the Burberry London one.

What do you think? Is there a line in the sand you won't go over for a shipping price, when it comes to certain heavier items? Do you find that those "free shipping" no-name-brand items such as winter coats from China meet your needs? Or are you wiling to pay more for shipping to get just the right item, such as a certain brand?

And with selling items, are you hesitant to put the real shipping price of a heavier item in, and do you just build it in to the price of the item? Or do you avoid selling heavy items? Post a comment here!