Archive for February, 2008
Like a lot of sellers, I believe eBay did a questionable job in creating the Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) system. The Shipping Time score is open to a lot of buyer interpretation. Are they supposed to rate us on how quickly we get the package to the carrier after receiving payment, did we ship on-time based on our promises in the listing, or are they supposed to rate us purely on how quickly the package arrives?That said, I take minor exception to so many sellers saying they have absolutely no control over how fast a package is delivered by the carrier.
I firmly believe there are things sellers can do to influence transit time. Here are two lists of packaging traits, guess which group’s packages will arrive faster?
Group A Packaging Traits:
- Handwritten addresses
- Addresses using improper abbreviations
- Addresses poorly formatted
- Non-validated addresses
- Frankenstein school of box building (i.e. irregularly shaped parcels, 2 or more pieces taped together, frequently created from re-used boxes, many with other labeling on them)
- No indication of carrier service class
- Packaged in other carrier’s free supplies
- Poorly sealed
- Fluid stains or excessive rattling
- Wrong class of postage used (i.e. Media Mail rate for non-qualified items)
- For International, wrong Customs Forms or improper information on forms
Group B Packaging Traits:
- Computer printed shipping labels
- Fully validated and properly formatted addresses
- Clean, new boxes in standard shapes
- Labels on multiple sides of the package indicating class of service (if appropriate)
- Concatenated Delivery Confirmation Barcode (USPS trick, adds the destination ZIP Code to the barcode information)
- Well sealed with appropriately sturdy tape
- Proper void fill and cushioning
- For International, appropriate Customs Forms accurately filled out
I agree that once we hand off the package it is an act of faith. But if you give the carriers good raw materials, they have a better chance of delivering great service.
Yes I have had my share of wacky delivery delays. Fortunately those are the rare exception because of how I package and label my shipments.
Submitted by Chris of sun-bits
February 28th, 2008
Back when Pierre first conceived the eBay idea, he decided that the community should police itself. He did not have time to mediate disputes between buyers and sellers, so he instituted “feedback.” The concept was that buyers and sellers would leave each other honest feedback, which would weed out the bad community members.
New ebayers could easily see the feedback of a seller and decide whether or not to buy from this seller. The theory was if the seller had a lot of negative feedback, the buyers would go elsewhere to bid. In other words, Pierre made the assumption that humans are able to look out for themselves.
It is my opinion this theory has been proven wrong over and over again. One only has to have seen the feedback for the now infamous seller “Bargainland” to know that people cannot look out for themselves. With feedback at 90% and many times lower, they continued to sell 100’s of items a day. Burned buyers would post to the eBay boards regularly whining that they got “taken” by Bargainland. Seasoned eBayers would ask these buyers why they didn’t heed the feedback? It’s right there, pasted in the auction, why didn’t you heed it?
Maybe for the same reason the government had to make it a law that motorists wear seatbelts, or that manufacturers of hair dryers put a warning on the cord not to use it in the bathtub. What appears to be common sense, is not always so.
Because the Feedback theory has been busted, eBay is now taking matters into their own hands, well, sorta. Sellers will no longer be able to leave negative feedback for buyers, even if the buyer threatens and harasses the seller, or files chargebacks, or doesn’t pay for the item. eBay is also stating they will “disadvantage” sellers with poor DSR’s in search. DSR’s are not even a year old, yet they are being given more importance than a sellers feedback, which in many cases has been built over many years of selling on eBay. That feedback you worked so hard to build will now basically get you nowhere, except kicked out of the Powerseller program if it falls below 98%.
So the Feedback myth is busted, and DSR’s are now the wave of the future. Since they are anonymous eBay feels they are more relevant. However, with only a 10% difference between sellers with the highest DSR’s and those with the lowest, how relevant are they?
That’s my opinion, what’s yours?
February 17th, 2008
The following is the transcript with IMA President Steve Grossberg & Vice President Ben Mandrall with Wall Street Analyst Jeentil Patel. The following interview was held February 6, 2008.
February 13th, 2008
This past year many long time Ebay sellers moved the bulk of their business to Amazon, and became multi-channel sellers. During the testing of “best match”, and “finding 2.0″, there were many sellers with a huge drop in sell through rates that lasted for a week or more. The only way to continue to sell on Ebay was to find another avenue to make sales. The avenue of choice for many was Amazon.
As you can see from my last post, Amazon is now becoming the number one place for ecommerce shoppers. So, I have to ask if all the problems on Ebay are really the fault of the sellers? Because after last week, it seems they are blaming the Ebay sellers for the poor buying experience. But, since those same sellers are making Amazon a fortune, how can it be the sellers fault?
Most of the changes to the Ebay site over the last 2 years have not stopped phishing e-mails, or account highjackings, or fixed system glitches, but they have taken a toll on my time to sell on Ebay. Many Ebay initiatives force me to use my time for customer service. Such as the “unpaid item process” where I have to spend a lot of my time because the number of unpaid items keeps rising each month.
The point is that I spend an incredible amount of time taking care of my customers on Ebay. Most Ebay sellers are constantly afraid of making even the tiniest mistake. We have been told by Ebay so many times that we are the reason buyers don’t like to shop at Ebay anymore, that I think we’ve begun to believe it. It has become part of our psychic makeup.
And I want to know where a buyer is going to get the same level of customer service at a regular Brick & Mortar store. Wal-Mart? Best Buy? I don’t think so.
And the most terrible thing is that, if we are doing everything possible to be a perfect Ebay seller, and Ebay is still losing buyers, then it must be the other sellers on Ebay who are to blame. I don’t know how many times I have heard one Ebay seller blame the other “scam” Ebay sellers for all the wrongs on Ebay.
So I have to ask again, is it Ebay’s habit of passing the customer service buck to the sellers, their habit of not telling buyers about account takeovers, their habit of not fixing system glitches that cost buyers and sellers time, their messing with search until nobody can find anything, and most of all blaming the sellers for trying to stay profitable and secure that is actually causing all their problems?
After all, the very same sellers Ebay is blaming, are making Amazon a fortune.
February 4th, 2008
Congratulations to all the members of IMA who sell on Amazon. According to the Nielson ratings, Amazon had more unique visitors than Ebay for the month of December. According to an article by “The New York Times” dated January 14th, 2008: “Amazon has opened its site to independent sellers, while eBay’s auction model is running into problems with fee-fatigued sellers and buyers wary of fraud and counterfeit items.”
“Now the latest audience figures from Nielsen Online confirm that the e-commerce traffic crown has changed heads. For the month of December, for the first time, more Americans clicked over to Amazon.com (59,624,000) than eBay (59,374,000)”
To read the complete article including some very interesting comments in the NY Times.
February 4th, 2008
I was not one of the top 200 Ebay sellers invited to the Ebay Ecommerce Summit last week where Ebay announced the changes to Fees, Search, and Feedback. I was one of the lower volume Ebay sellers on the sidelines at home waiting to hear the long awaited announcements about fee reductions. As we all know now, the fee changes will probably hurt more Ebay sellers than they help. The changes overall made me ask myself how the new CEO designate of Ebay, Mr. John Donahoe, can make changes to Ebay’s platform that blatantly copy the Amazon platform without feeling a bit unimaginative. Mr. Donahoe has been at Ebay since March 2005. If you would like to check out his salary on Forbes Mag. Is Ebay going to become Amazon Lite?
The new final value fees (FVFs) for Ebay stores are just slightly less than Amazon’s FVFs are now. Not allowing sellers to leave negative feedback for buyers is similar to the Amazon feedback system. The star rating system is similar to the Amazon seller rating system. Amazon already has a relevance based customer search that sounds like the “finding experience” Mr. Donahoe has been working on, and which is scheduled to be rolled out to Ebay this year. My guess is it is time for us all to examine the Amazon sellers marketplace because the new CEO-designate of Ebay seems to want the Ebay buyers experience to be just like the Amazon buyers experience, and will probably continue to imitate Amazon features.
February 3rd, 2008