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.
- 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
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?
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
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:
- 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?
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!