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    An eBay Success Story – you can do it!

    By DBL | February 12, 2012

    I’ve often blogged how eBayUK can help to start a new business or grow a current SME with low risk, at low cost and with little or no financial aid.

    I’m always extremely happy to hear positive eBay business stories as the media often only cover the negatives and the balance may scare some into thinking it’s all bad. For each negative there are umpteen times more positives that go unreported.

    This particular story caught my eye about Bamford Trading who started on eBay back in 2005 have now attained a pretty impressive positive feedback rating of 264,000 with Top Rated Seller Status (TRS) to boot.   In this difficult economic climate eBay is the ideal place to start that ‘business in a box’ as mentioned in one of the videos below or to extend your business onto the web.

    But how can a business get started on this monster global marketplace? What is it that takes an eBay business from zero to 264,000 feedback and TRS status?  John & Gill Hewitt share some of their tips for success in the videos below.

    Gill mentions research, this is the key before you invest in any stock.  You can look at the top ten searched keywords in each category on eBay on eBay Pulse, this is free to use and a very useful tool, it also displays the largest shops (by quantity) and the most watched items. Another way is to search completed listings via the left hand menu on any eBay search.  This will let you know what sort of price these items are selling for on eBay at this time of year, when they end and at which time it gets the best price.

    If you like to delve deeper into selling data and also that of your competitors (yes including their turnover, best sellers and other time relevant data) then I suggest you sign up for Terapeak well worth a sign up even if just for a month before you make the decision to buy stock, always buy what you research and what you know your customers want, not just what you like yourself.

    John & Gill talk about Top Rated Seller status (TRS). Gaining TRS is extremely important to your business, this tells a buyer that you consistently give excellent customer service. TRS is attained by getting good Detailed Seller Ratings (Feedback Star Ratings) from your buyers. eBay reward TRS with a boost in search too.

    There are established businesses that come on to eBay not realising the amount of customer service required and this is to their peril.  The effect on their eBay search ranking (due to bad star ratings by customers) and therefore their sales will make the climb to eBay success a longer one.

    As for any additional tips on getting TRS (or improving Detailed Seller Ratings) Item as described use bullet points or some of the most important information at the top of your description, many buyers just don’t read all of the listing so size, colour & any defects etc need to be right at the top then give further information later if they want to read more it’s there, if they don’t they won’t miss the important stuff. And use the spell checker.

    The listing product picture should be clear and not crowded, preferentially on a white background, I often recommended Bling It! for this purpose if on a budget, it’s simple to use and has pre-sets for optimum eBay sized pictures.   For optimum results your pictures should be square in shape and if possible be 1000 x 1000 pixels and be 90 and above on the jpeg quality scale.

    Communication  eBay have automated the general emails for purchase, payment received & despatch I would avoid additional emails for these and just add additional messages to the eBay emails if needed, otherwise it can result in ‘over communication’. Questions should be answered as fast as possible and in a respectful manner, regardless of how silly and obvious you think the answer is.

    If you find the same questions being asked over and over again, use eBay’s automated Q&A to add these common questions and answers. Buyers go to this screen before they ask the seller a question and this will help to filter the quantity and therefore, time spent on repetitive questions.  It’s also worth noting that if the question is about a particular item it may be an option to add the additional information to the listing description itself.

    Despatch time   It is imperative to despatch your orders same or next day, although the rating is meant to be on despatch time buyers actually mark you on delivery time.  So it doesn’t matter if you tell the buyer to expect the item in a week the WOW factor or psychological buzz of shopping wanes day by day and unfortunately so will your star rating.  If you give Free P&P you will get a definite 5 star rating for Postage & Packing Charges  but make sure you tell your buyers that free P&P is 1st class for the reasons above as some think free is second class and again if they want it faster offer an expedited service too.

    And finally … a case study video

    I’ve got to note here that the Bamford Trading shop front looks great, it’s easy to find everything in the store whether searching by category or by brand, the faster you get a customer to what they want the more chance you have of a sale and less chance they’ll go looking elsewhere. The returns policy is spot on increasing the trust the buyer has in them and the branding colours follow on in the packaging and promo material included, even branded tape.

    The packaging says so much about a company and gives that professional look right through the transaction. It also helps keep that WOW factor on a high that reflects in feedback.

    eBay is hard work, there are no ‘eBay secrets’ there are no short cuts either, if anyone tells you there are … they’re wrong.  Think like a buyer and treat your customers accordingly, play by the rules and learn from others.  Good Luck!

    Topics: Anorak Recommends, Anorak Selling Tips, eBay | No Comments »