The basis of this article is to provide some tips for eBay sellers whether you are a seasoned eBayer or a novice, I hope you will find these tips useful.
The key to eBay is Best Match. Best Match is where eBay through its use of algorithms displays your listing based on what the buyer is searching for. The more relevant your listing is to their search the higher your listing will populate in the results. Seems easy enough... match your listing to what buyers are searching for. Well, not exactly, eBay will manipulate the results based on better buyers with better listings populating first.
What Influences Best Match
1. The exact algorithm is unknown and secret but to a few insiders. However this algorithm is always changing but we can determine some of the factors which impact Best Match.
A seller's track record on eBay, Competitive Pricing, Postage and Packaging costs all influence the Best Match results.
Previous Successful Sales
2. eBay loves sellers with a successful track record. if an item has sold previously and received great feedback, that is normally an indicator of future success. So positive feedback influences high population in search results.
3. eBay loves free shipping and so do their buyers. Obviously the costs of the shipping are wrapped into the sale price of your listing. Free shipping seems to influence the search results as well.
4. A sellers defect rate will significantly influence where their listings populate in the Best Match search results. Obviously, Top Rated Sellers get preference in this area which is why customer service is critical when dealing with buyers.
5. Having many pictures of your item seems to influence the relevance of your listing. However, many sellers argue that using many SEO techniques inside your listing can influence population. For instance, mentioning relevant terms multiple times throughout the listing.
6. Item specifics are the checked boxes related to attributes of the product you are selling which is on the selling form or in your listing tool. Helping eBay categorize your listings with this function will allow your listing to populate higher in relevant searches.
Auction or Buy Now
7. Buy Now and Auctions are treated differently in the search results. Auctions will sky rocket through the search results as their end times become closer. Auctions are a great way to test pricing strategies and new listing titles.
Patience is a Virtue
8. In the beginning it can take quite sometime to build your reputation and populate higher in search results. Do not run out of patience and use Auctions to build your online reputation.
9. To quickly build feedback focus on selling inexpensive popular items that require little instruction. Screen Protectors are a perfect item to sell for cellphone accessories.
10. eBay has a system of monitoring performance of every seller. Even a 2% defect rate could be catastrophic for a seller. Sellers are cautioned to take customer service and quality control very seriously.
What impacts Defect Rate?
11. Defects are applied to your account in a number of ways:
a. Getting a rating of 1 star for delivery time
b. Item description getting a rating of 3 stars or less
c. Negative or Neutral feedback
d. Non receipt of the item by the buyer
e. Return Request because item did not match your description
f. Seller cancelled transactions
g. Buyers looking for an item for delivery
12. Check your seller dashboard in the My eBay section frequently. Here you will find a detailed Defect Report which will give you information on a transaction by transaction basis.
13. You can appeal defects. In the event you feel a defect is unwarranted, you can file an appeal. If an appeal is successful this will help you maintain an above average rating. This can be time consuming but can be a critical process when an eBayer first starts.
Are all Defects treated the same?
14. eBay makes no distinction between the type of defects you receive. Each one carries the same wight as the others. This is where selling inexpensive, high frequency items along with higher priced items help to dilute your defect rates. Selling only high value infrequently ordered items could be dangerous if you receive only 1 defect.
Refund Buyers via eBay not PayPal
15. Not refunding a buyer can lead to a defect. eBay does not monitor refunds through PayPal, so make sure you always refund a buyer through eBay and not PayPal even if it is easier.
Defect Rate Changes
16. eBay will be changing the rules by which they assess defect rates. eBay promises that the new process will be simpler and easier for sellers to maintain their good reputation.
Focus on Customer Service
17. Since defect rates can be the life blood of your business, make a conscious effort to make every customer happy.
18. Make sure that if you are fulfilling your own products that you set up quality control points throughout the process to ensure your buyers receive exactly what they have purchased. Double checking the work before it leaves your facility might cost a little more, but will ensure 100% satisfaction from your buyers.
eBay Picture Standards
19. Make sure you are using clear, zoomable images and use the eBay standards on size without borders.
20. Make sure you check mark every relevant term in the Item Specifics section on the eBay sell form.
Make use of Titles
21. Be sure to utilize all 80 characters in item title section. Cram in as much relevant information as possible. If your item is attractive overseas you may want to use some of the words which might be relevant in that market.
22. Be sure to use bullet points for extra clarification in your item specifics section.
Answer eMails Rapidly
23. Make sure you answer all emails as quickly as possible. Buyers appreciate quick responses when sealing with sellers.
Use Many Pictures
24. Use the eBay system to upload images for an item so a buyer knows exactly what they are purchasing. eBay allows you to add 12 images for free. Make sure you take advantage of that feature.
NO HTML in Your Listing
25. Do not use fancy HTML inside your listing. HTML code does not view properly on many of the mobile devices. With Mobile sales increasing each year, why risk your listing not viewing properly on a mobile device.
Use ONLY Relevant Text in Your Titles
26. Stick to words that are relevant to your item in the Title section
27. Make sure return instructions and postage information are placed in the appropriate sections of your listing. The title section is no place to identify postage costs or anything that has a separate section for it.
Make use of Catalogues and Product Identifiers
28.The system isn't perfect but make use of product identifiers and catalogue details to help buyers find your listing.
Mobile Device Checks
29. Make sure you check your listings on a mobile device. You do not want to miss out on this part of the market which is growing each year.
30. Do not just copy and paste titles from others sellers offering the same product. Use unique titles to make your listing stand out from the crowd.
31. First stop for most new buyers will be the USPS. Once you graduate to 100 packages fulfilled per day this is when you start shopping around. Consolidators can help reduce postage rates tremendously.
Courier vs Mail
32. For heavier items it may be more cost effective to send packages via a courier service instead of the USPS. Normally packages weighing over 5 pounds will be less expensive via courier than mail.
33. Make sure you use only services that offer tracking from label creation to delivery.
34. Make sure you use boxes and packaging that contain your company information and website URL. Make sure to include inserts for any discount programs for repeat buyers.
35. Make sure you implement a good returns process. A bad returns process can create a unsatisfied customer.
Who Pays for the Return
36. That depends on the situation. If the buyer changed their mind... Then they should bear the cost. If the buyer received a damaged item, not working, or not described properly then the seller should pay for the return.
Manage Your Returns Process
37. Make sure you get the merchandise back, double check the condition of the merchandise and list it again. Setting up a good returns system could save you thousands of dollars in the future.
Package Your Items Securely
38. Please realize that during the mailing process your packages will be dumped onto tables, tossed into sacks and be handled quite vigorously. Sending out test shipments in various packaging will ensure that you select the proper packaging that will optimize protection vs cost.
Double Check Postage Based on Packaged Item
39. Some people just weigh the merchandise and calculate postage before its been packaged for their listings. Make sure you factor in all the costs of postage, packaging and handling before listing your item.
40. All new eBay sellers will be given a seller limit when starting. Ask eBay to increase your limit right away and then continuously request an increase every 30 days.
41. Make sure you offer International shipping on all your products for the 28 countries that get delivery confirmation using USPS First Class Package International.
Do Not Offer Shipping to Countries without Delivery Confirmation
42. Whenever you ship to a country which does not offer delivery confirmation you run the risk of a buyer fraudulently claiming non delivery. Do so at your own risk.
43. You can get discounts on your PayPal fees. Make sure you ask them for a PayPal Merchant Account.
Keep an Eye on Competition
44. Although price is important, buyers will purchase your items more often if the buying experience is awesome. So do not get hung up on price alone.
45. Make sure you take advantage of a free downloadable tool called Turbolister. This allows you to make changes to all your listings from one location. This will come in handy when you expand your inventory to include more items for sale.
Selling Manager Pro
46. Make sure you upgrade your selling manager to the selling manager pro kit. This will allow you to automate tasks like email and feedback to save you time.
47. Make sure you get your detailed competitor information from a reliable source like terrapeak. This tool gives you information on what you may want to buy and how to price your items.
48. Stay focused on your more profitable listings. In the beginning managing several lines of products can be overwhelming. So stay focused on profitable lines and always be on the lookout for new ones.
Volume Doesn't Always Mean Profits
49. Be aware of the fact that sometimes shipping less packages per day of a higher margin item is better than shipping tons of low margin items.
50. Make sure you test all aspects of your listings before making changes or starting. You want to ensure that the completely understand all cost factors before going live.
Joe Amalfitano is a 20 year veteran in the International Mail Industry and is an expert in USPS Commercial ePacket Service. Joe is a National Account Manager with Globegistics. Globegistics is a USPS Pre-Qualified Wholesaler with locations in New York, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles strategically placed to ensure that your mail is constantly moving.
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