Offering Upgraded Postage on eBay

We are always looking for more ways to win business. This usually comes down to offering something the customer wants. We recently looked at delivery options.

You probably know that in addition to a ‘Free’ postage option and a same/1 day dispatch commitment, the other service you must offer to achieve the ‘Premium Service’ badge on you eBay listings is an expedited delivery service.

We have recently negotiated a lower cost from our courier in return for increasing volumes. We were then able to reduce the upgrade cost. The idea being to try and grab some sales from people who like or need a tracked next working day service.

Using the excellent and flexible ‘postage templates’ in eSellerPro we can now offer a great deal on upgrade costs tailored to the size/weight of the item. Once we had calculated the costs we were able to update the postage templates and revise all our listings with the new charges – a 15 minute job.

So for many items which are below 1Kg the buyer can upgrade for just £2.95.

Guess what – at this price many buyers do choose to upgrade. Possibly winning us the business.

John

How to use eSellerPro to Manage the new eBay Picture Standards

As most of us know eBay are changing their picture standards from August 1st. No longer will we be able to use images which include borders, text, or artwork on the picture.

eBay picture standards

The eBay link is Here.

So, if like me you have thousands of images which will break the new rules you will by now be working furiously to edit your images. One seller rang me this week worried that he had over 10,000 images to change – many of which were unavailable and new shots would have to be taken.

If you use eSellerPro then at least you have a powerful tool to help with the task.

1. Use custom fields to keep track of the images which need updating. Add a field called ‘Image checked’ or similar into a relevant Custom Group and bulk update your inventory records to a blanket ‘yes’. As you update images mark the field ‘yes’.You will at least then have a simple searchable method of finding those records which need your attention.

image-check

listing

2. Use flags to achieve the same result – if you have spare flags.

3. If you have a large number of images to change, focus on those which need doing. eBay have said the changes won’t affect ‘good til cancelled’ listings unless you revise or relist them. So the major worry is new listings – especially if you use channel profiles to auto list items. So initially look for items which are set to auto-re-order. These are the SKU’s which are likely to surprise you by listing as they are booked into stock.

re-order

4. Work on your best sellers first. Use eSellerPro to find those SKU’s with the best success. You can do this using the built in reports or do an inventory search for items with recent sales:

recent

eSellerPro – Channel Profiles – Powerful Tools for Multi-Channel Selling

Online retailing is tough. In many categories, in particular if you sell mass market products it’s very tough indeed.

You need all the help you can get.

If you care about customer service, and you sell on more than one channel, and you have more than about 50 products which sell well, you need some kind of back office multi-channel software. In fact even if you think this will apply to you in the future – you need it.

Help is at hand. The ‘Channel Profile’
eSellerPro utilises ‘Channel Profiles’ which as the name suggests profile your stock by channel.

They are clever things.

You can do things like sell 90% of your stock for a specific product on Amazon and 100% on eBay – so when 90% is sold the Amazon listing will close and you won’t oversell.

But that’s nothing.

You can use the Channel Profiles to price your products.

channel-profile

Using price formulas within the Channel Profile can calculate the selling price and by updating specific Channel Profiles you can update prices globally with just one or two mouse clicks.

And it gets better.

eSellerPro has up to 10 named prices per SKU so you could produce a formula which takes the cost price and adds a weighting element, a desirability element and multiplies it by a global constant to come up with a selling price. Different channels can have different weightings.

onsale

You can even produce a Channel Profile for items on Sale which Reduces the weightings.

If you use ‘Kits’ in eSellerPro you can use a ‘Keyword’ to calculate the cost price of the kits within the formula.

If Royal Mail increases the cost of postage you can simply increase the postage weighting to globally increase prices.

And it gets better.

With another keyword it’s possible to match all channels with the Amazon selling price to avoid the dreaded Price Parity strike from Amazon.

If you use Amazon price checking within eSellerPro you can now use this to re-price your eBay or website prices.

I told you they were powerful.

Beware though channel Profiles are powerful and it is possible to inadvertently end listings by making an error is allocations.

eBay General Announcement: ***Royal Mail price changes 2013 – Notice to UK sellers***

Permalink: http://www2.ebay.com/aw/uk/201303040959032.html

Hello,

On 1 March 2013 the Royal Mail announced  it’s new prices for 2013 along with changes to the way some services are priced and new names forbusiness services.

What these changes mean to you.

Private Sellers

Letter Stamp Prices are unchanged from their 2012 prices. Therefore if the item that you are listing, or wish to list, will fit into a package measuring less than 2.5cm thick then you are unaffected by the changes.

For items thicker than 2.5cm the new “Parcel” format applies which will result in a price increase for sellers.  Sellers posting items that are  more than 8cm thick will now be charged Medium Parcel” format Royal Mail prices.  NB – There some exclusions to this rule.  Check Royal Mail’s guidance on this.

The full details of Royal Mail’s new consumer prices can be found here .

We encourage sellers to continue to shop around for the best service for them and their customers, particularly for larger/heavier items and we’ll be playing our part by offering services from a range of couriers, some offering large discounts, in our Label Printing service..

Business Sellers

Royal Mail has simplified its service names and lowered the threshold for eligibility to receive discounts as a business seller. Many Business sellers should now find themselves eligible for a Royal Mail contract and therefore be able to mitigate any impact on their postage costs. Full details can be found here . eBay will be updating the service names on eBay.co.uk’s flows to reflect these changes and we would encourage sellers to use the new names.

Postage Caps

As a result of these changes eBay will be reviewing the maximum postage caps that we have applied.  Further details will follow.

Regards,

The eBay.co.uk team

Advice for New Sellers on eBay

I’m often asked to give advice to new sellers or people considering selling on line. This was a recent reply to one such email. I hope it is of use.

OK my advice for starting out:

Starting with some household items on eBay is a good idea – make sure you describe them carefully/have good images – you need to get as much positive feedback as possible.

Use eBay – it has massive reach/audience. I would avoid international at first as it is fraught with potential delivery and feedback issues.

Choose products that you understand, can source easily and reliably – nothing worse than taking an hour to list something and then finding you can only get hold of them for a short time. I would avoid the most popular categories as margins are always low.

Have a good look at the costs – selling fees, final value fees, product costs, postage costs (including a cost of returns and fraud), packaging, etc.

Don’t try to be the cheapest – you can’t, other sellers with buying power for stock and services such as postage will always beat you. Having said that one strategy for getting sales and Best Match scores is to sell products at a loss initially. (if you don’t know what Best Match is Google ‘eBay Best Match’.

Instead focus on great service, fast delivery, easy returns etc.

Use Google Keywords tools to help generate titles – http://www.googlekeywordtool.com/

Keep your costs to an absolute minimum – work from home for as long as you can (although some suppliers won’t supply to you unless you have retail premises).

Read all the blogs – Tamebay, Last drop of Ink, eBay boards etc.

Terapeak is no substitute for research (in my view).

Give images some focus (excuse the pun) – clean background, lots of views, details.

Make sure your descriptions are full of details such as condition, sizes, applications.

Read the DTI info on Distance Selling Regulations.

Be professional – a good CSS based listing template will help.

Communicate with your buyers.

Who cares about eBay feedback?

It’s one of those perennial concerns of any on-line seller. How to deal with feedback.

I’m no psychologist but I do know this is a complicated area.

One thing you can do which buyers like (and gets you off on the right foot) is to leave feedback on payment. eBays Selling Manager Pro can do this for you automatically.

Whats more you can leave pre-written comments which gives you the opportunity to praise your buyer – they have, after all just agreed to buy from you and give you their hard earned cash.

What feedback do you leave? Do you praise your buyers?


Battle of the Marketplaces Update

This weeks update to the Battle of the Marketplaces post.

The most visited UK shopping sites.

This week I’ve added a further metric which simply shows the total of the two giants. The purpose is just to show if they together are growing market share or if any of the others are taking it. This week all the others are staying where that were in the pecking order so no changes.

John

 

What’s in a Title?

Quite a lot.

Humans use it to find your products.

Search engines use it to index stuff and therefore in helping them decide which results to present to searchers (know as SERP’s – Search Engine Results Pages).

So titles are important. Very.

Lets have a look.

So you are searching for a Torque Wrench. There are currently 2,034 listings for Torque Wrenches on eBay.

How are you going to get seen?

You could go for lowest price.

(Not a great plan if you want to make at least some profit).

Don’t get me wrong price is important – very important but by being the cheapest you could make less per sale selling 10 than if you only sold 1 at the right price. That’s 10 times less packing and 10 times less work. (we will revisit this in some detail on the forthcoming post on pricing).

Back to the point…

Or you could start with a great title.

Lots of buyers faced with 2,034 results will narrow it down. By Category and by Keywords.

Look carefully and eBay suggest both to you.

Just under the search bar is a little line of ‘Related Searches’. eBay is showing you the ones it thinks are popular

Related searches: snap on torque wrench, torque wrench 3 8, torque wrench 1 2, norbar torque wrench, torque wrench 1 4, britool torque wrench

So start there if your product is one of these use them in the title.

Notice there are no 3/8″ in there. Just 3 8. So if you are short of characters (you get 80 in eBay) then drop the “.

The default search in eBay is ‘Best Match’.

They are showing you essentially the most popular choices. So use that too – have a good look at the titles being presented to you.

Google Keywords

Have a look at the Free keywords tool at https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

This incredible tool can give you a lot of valuable information. Try it.

Check for both popularity and competition.

The keywords can be used in your description too to help with Optimisation.

So my new title?

‘Draper 34487 3000 1/2″ Square Drive Beam Torque Wrench 0 – 21Kg/’

(Website 65 chracters as Google likes to keep it under 70 characters)

‘New Draper 1/2″ Square Drive Beam Type Torque Wrench 0 – 21Kg/M 150Lb-Ft Sq Dv’

(eBay – 78 characters, no need to use the model number as eBay picks this up from the item specifics)

Lets see how this new listing does and how we can improve it over the coming weeks.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/400293179210

now we have deliberately gone in low on price? and in fact we won’t make anything on the first few sales. Why – well we do need to get some fast results. To win in the Best Match race we must have the following:

Recent Sales
Free Postage
Top Rated Seller Status

Here is an eBay search for this item – notice we didn’t need the manufacturers part number in the title.

How would you improve the listing?

John

Result!

Well it didn’t take long. The listing was 8 hours old and had had 23 page views and hey presto our first sale. We are now 4th in the best match results for this product.