BAM eBay Buyer Blog

Posts for eBay buyers about buying on eBay

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!


What EBay's New Seller Hub Means for You

What EBay's New Seller Hub Means for You



What does eBay's recently-announced Seller Hub mean for you as a buyer, or as a seller?

Today we take a look at the new Seller Hub and see how it might tweak interactions between buyers and sellers, and help either or both.

One thing the Seller Hub does is lay out all on one screen all the tasks a seller needs to complete. This means, if you have asked a question about an item, it will show up right there in the upper left of the screen under "Answer Product Questions." Hopefully this means you have a better chance of having your question answered than you would have normally, though sellers should of course answer questions as soon as possible.

Beneath that, there's a prompt to respond to any open offers from buyers. Once again, this is another reminder for a seller that you may have an offer in, as sellers sometimes get distracted and don't always notice an offer in their email stack.

Then, of course, there is a field reminding sellers how many orders they need to process and ship.

Under Orders, they can also see all orders needing fulfillment, as well as any open returns or replacements. For example, I have an open return I am awaiting to come back to me right now, so it is good to see this reminder so I may contact the buyer and see if they need any help with the return.

Feedback: one thing I particularly like about the Seller Hub is the reminder under Orders of items that have been shipped and are awaiting to give feedback. As a busy seller, I don't always take the time to give feedback to buyers, although of course as a seller I welcome feedback.

So as a buyer, the hub gives you more chances to see feedback from sellers, if that's something you do not see for every item transaction now.

Most of the other features are seller-related with a chart of sales in the past 90 days, and an area that shows all kinds of information about Listings, including how many are active, and again how many have questions or open offers from buyers,

It also shows how many listings are ending today, and unsold ended listings.

In general, I think the new Seller Hub can only be a good thing in prompting more communication between buyers and sellers, and encouraging sellers to list more, which means more choice for buyers.

What do you think about the new seller hub, and what might you change about it if you could?


A Look at High to Low Sales Across Some eBay Categories

A Look at High to Low Sales Across Some eBay Categories



I do miss the old eBay Pulse, in which eBay gave us a look at what categories and subcategories were trending. But the terapeak tool has a feature that looks at what categories have high and low sales, from the top-level on down.  I thought it would be fun to take a look at what categories have the most sales right now, or rather, within the last seven days.

On the top end, we have:

- Clothing, Shoes and Accessories as having high sales.  Within that:
- Women's Clothing is trending big as well.

- Cell Phones and Accessories have moderately high sales, with:
- Cell Phones and Smart Phones garnering the high sales "red dot" in the terapeak color spectrum.

Rounding out the C's, Collectibles are an overall high sales top-level category. Within that,
- Comics are the hottest with highest sales, followed by:
- Militaria
- Knives, Swords & Blades
- Decorative Collectibles
- Advertising
- Transportation

Most of the other top-level categories show a grey dot (for low sales), but within those we have, for example:

Antiques - Low sales

- Silver - high sales
 - Asian Antiques - second highest, etc., with the rest in order on down to Periods & Styles.
 - Decorative Arts
 - Rugs & Carpets
 - Furniture
 - Periods & Styles

Within Computers/Tablets & Networking, we have, in highest to least order:
- Laptops & Netbooks
- Tablets & eBook Readers
- Desktops & All-In-Ones
- Computer Components & Parts
- Printers, Scanners & Supplies
- Drives, Storage & Blank Media

What about Sporting Goods? That top-level category shows moderate sales, with high sales in:
- Hunting, and then on down in order from most to least:
- Outdoor Sports
- Cycling
- Golf
- Fishing
- Fitness, Running & Yoga

Home & Garden is a "warm" top-level category. People are still buying things for the outdoors despite the turning of the season. In order, we have:
   -  Yard, Garden & Outdoor Living
   -  Home Improvement
   -  Tools
   -  Kitchen, Dining & Bar
   -  Furniture
   -  Household Supplies & Cleaning

That's a quick snapshot of how some key eBay areas have done in the last seven days. What categories do you buy the most from, and what information from those would you find most helpful?  Post a comment here!

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!

What Categories are Hot on eBay Right Now?

What Categories are Hot on eBay Right Now?

What are the "hot" categories on eBay right now?  I am not totally sure, but I can tell you which are doing the best right now by amount of sales. (Anybody remember "eBay Pulse?"  eBay dropped that a while back, from the speculation of one user, due to their just not wanting to maintain it along with all the category and search changes). 

But back to the "hot categories." According to the terapeak research tool, these include:

- Asian Antiques
- Art > Art from Dealers & Resellers
- Books > Nonfiction
- Collectibles > Comics
- Computers/Tablets & Networking > Laptops & Netbooks
- Business & Industrial > MRO & Industrial Supply
- Cameras & Photo > Lenses & Filters
- Cell Phones & Accessories > Cell Phones & Smartphones
- Clothing, Shoes & Accessories > Women's Clothing
- Coins & Paper Money > Bullion
- Consumer Electronics > TV, Video & Home Audio
- Crafts > Sewing & Fabric
- DVDs & Movies > DVDs & Blu-ray Discs
- Dolls & Bears > Dolls
- Entertainment Memorabilia > Music Memorabilia

Some other categories that caught my eye were:
- Music > Records
- Pet Supplies >  Dog Supplies
- Toys & Hobbies > Action Figures
and
- Travel > Luggage

What are we to make of these categories having a high amount of sales? Asian antiques have been hot for a while, as American collectors and Asians themselves try to buy back the "before olds."

Art as a hot category surprised me somewhat, but not much, as art has actually been a sound investment over the years, if you pick the artist and scene wisely.

Laptops and cell phones always seem to be in high demand, but I did not expect "lenses and filters" in Cameras / photography. The professionals or professional amateurs must really like to pick their equipment carefully.

With eBay encouraging sellers to list crafts, and to have crafts in general to compete with Etsy, it's not a surprise that Sewing & Fabric would be in there.

Do these "hot" categories mesh with your experience on the eBay site? Where are you seeing the most sales, or where do you buy the most?  Post a comment here!

As for Music > Records, we have heard vinyl is making a resurgence, and this would seem to bear that out.

Finally, we certainly can expect to see "luggage" on there, with this being a big travel season with millions set to move around by train, plane or automobile.