In Cindy’s Online Selling Tips I have been honored to have Marcia Glenn write a Sunday Musing for us for a long time. I wake up every Sunday to these wonderful posts. Â
Sunday Morning Musing with Coffee: What Does Ebay REALLY Want From ME?
I have thought long and hard these last few months on how to do my Ebay business better. From getting faster at listing to buying only things that I know will generate me a good if not great profit, there are a bazillion things to learn to do my job faster, better with more profit. I am using some great APPS like KiQuantity and KiPhoenix to streamline my process but one thing keeps cropping up in my daydreams and my dreams at nightâ€¦.
What Does Ebay REALLY Want From ME?
They wonâ€™t tell me.
Well they wonâ€™t tell me in a definitive statement. Or even 10 statements. They will never come out and say, Marcia (fill in your name), THIS is what we want you to do!! Follow this and that and the other thing and we almost guarantee we will love you forever and a day and show your listings to EVERYONE!!
But they hint at it and it is these hints that I have started to listen to and do for them. When I do these things that they hint at telling me my sales go up. So I continue to do them. I believe that they â€œrateâ€ me somehow, no idea what that â€œratingâ€ is but if I do what they have told me to do in newsletters and policy changes I will get higher rankings, my listings will be shown to more qualified people (people who are searching for what I have to sell) and I will have more sales.
Here is what I have heard from them over the last year, thought about and implemented.
1. They want me to use 12 pictures. They expanded the pictures to 12, thus I believe they want me to use 12. So pretty much I do now. I do my very best to fill up all 12 spots, sometimes it is easier than other times but try I do.
2. They want my pictures to be bigger. They made the picture requirements bigger and will actually kick off my listing if it is not to their requirements picture size so now my pictures are the size they want. I make them cleaner, bigger, clearer, more details. I want my pictures to rock not only because of MY pride but because Ebay wants my pictures to ROCK. So I do my best to get the very best pictures I can.
3. They encourage me to put Free Shipping in my listing and while there is no such thing as Free Shipping as we add the shipping price to the listing price, what I think they are saying is that with Free Shipping the buyer has no surprises as to the final price. People search for FREE SHIPPING listings ONLY and never ever do I think someone searches for â€œno free shipping pleaseâ€ so I add the shipping value to my listing price and have 99% of my listings as Free Shipping.
4. They want me to have short and simple, non HTML filled listings. Whether this is a software issue or not, Ebay says no HTML so now I am in the process of dumping my Auctiva templates on Glass Confusion and reworking those listings to a simpler, cleaner line format. Surprise surprise that these new listings are selling and the old HTML are not.
5. They want me to be Top Rated Seller, Power Seller and have a Store. All three of these things they encourage for me to do or achieve so do and achieve them I did. With this Ebay gave me the option of having a cleaner looking store front with new store look and I changed over to that as well. My store looks clean and pretty (especially with my new store banner from Scott Henshaw).
6. Ebay wants me to ship FAST. 1 Day shipping is what I say I will do thus this is what I do.
7. Ebay wants me to sell Internationally so I do. It makes me money, I have no issues with it and in a global economy it only makes sense. I ship Internationally.
8. Ebay wants me to have a very larger than necessary return policy so I do. I get so little returns that it means nothing to me. I have had 2 pieces of clothing returned in the past, one was too small and we both knew it would not fit him, he paid shipping both ways and apologized profusely for it not fitting…I sold it to another with a higher price and my first buyer bought a bigger shirt…win/win.
My second one was a mistake on my part…learned that you really cannot rely on the Levi butt tag as the real size, those jeans shrunk an amazing 4 inches from what the tag said. Taught me to measure. Again I sold them only this time with the right measurements and even paying double the shipping made a profit. Since I was polite and apologized to the seller and paid the shipping to her, from her and gave her an extra bit of money for her â€œtroubleâ€ she bought the correct size from me the next week.
9. Ebay wants me to promote the listing with Pinterest. They spend a bunch of dollars to put the Pinterest link on all listings thus it is important to them. So it is important to me and I have found that it works for me. I pin, I sell. Ebay just makes it easier for me to do it.
10. Ebay wants me to be the best seller possible, give the customer the best that I can be so that they will rate me the highest rating if I earn it. The rating system could use some work and this stupid, idiotic defect thing will go the way of leg warmers but for now I just make sure I do the best I can in listing, photographing and shipping so that I get the best feedback that I deserve.
This is my top 10 list of what Ebay wants from me. Now what does that REALLY mean?
To me and remember this is only MY opinion, Ebay will promote me if I do what they ask me to do. With all the data that companies gather on me in the world, I cannot imagine that Ebay does not have the software or the programmers to pick apart…well ME. I believe they take every single thing about me on Ebay and put it into a computer somewhere and come up with something that they use to determine if they really really really like ME.
I think they even look at all the WORDS that are typed in my feedback from others. Why not? The information is there, why not use it. So when 10 out of 10 or 100 out of 100 of my feedback says FAST Shipping, I gotta think that means another notch in my virtual profile towards love from Ebay. When people say positive things about me I know Ebay is taking notes. As well as how much I list, when I list, what I list, how much I sell, when I sell, what I pinned, what I purchased, what I said in Feedback and on and on and on.
Then they use this information to compare to others who are selling the exact thing that I am selling and put me just a tad higher in the ranking or the showing or something so that mine will sell before the others.
All this information they gather about me and YOU is called BIG DATA by the computer geeks who name things like this. Ebay â€œWantsâ€ you to evolve along with e- commerce which is shaped by what buyers want and expect. Also, I think the reason for any wants are based on a this new thing called, â€œBig Dataâ€ which is a means of collecting mass quantities of pieces of data and in the end their data shows that what I have mentioned above are things that â€œBuyers wantâ€. So in the end eBay wants me and you to provide this.
Letâ€™s use an example. I have a yellow rubber duck. Mass produced and sold by many other people. Lets compare me to one that Mike has (if you are a Mike, please think about your middle name as this is not to compare to YOU).
Mike and I have the same Rubber Duckie. My pictures rock, his do not. I have a store, positive feedback, top rated seller, all the bells and whistles. Mikey does not…his pictures are lousy, his feedback is borderline, he has no store, no top rated seller. I offer free shipping, he does not. On and on and on. He will lose out overall I feel.
Mine will show up more in searches, higher in searches, Ebay will promote it with things that they do to promote it online. They send out emails, they show my listings when you log on, I will feel the love more than poor Mike.
Algorithms. Kinda like Calculus that it is part of the universe but does anyone really understand it? I donâ€™t and donâ€™t have to. All I have to understand is that Ebay understands it and applies it to me and you and everyone and I want to be top page, above the fold (newpaper term), highest of the high.
So I play the game. But playing the game instead of fighting it, well that gives me money. In the end that is all that I care about.
What DO I Have to do to make Ebay happy? Pretty much play their game.
If I donâ€™t like the game I can go to Etsy, Bonanza, Craigs List, Amazon and the others that provide me a selling platform to sell my wares. I do sell on multiple platforms but Ebay is tied with Amazon for income stream and I pay both games with different rules because when it is all said and done, that is what I want to do.
When Ebay comes out with changes, I listen and implement them. They are subtly telling me to do this without forcing it down my throat (normally) but I donâ€™t care, they tell me this is what they want, I will do it. I won’t cross the road without holding their hand as we are partners in this business, the more I sell the more money we both make. I have to think they are trying to make me a better seller which will make their goals for their investors happy and their bank account numbers higher.
I donâ€™t think they made up these new things like bigger, clearer pictures just because they were sitting around a board table and wondering what they could do this month to make my job harder (changing 2000 listings with pictures that are too small for example). I think this is what they have determined that buyers want so they have told me this is what buyers want.
Gotta listen to what my buyers want. Fast story. I created and sold my own jewelry when I had the storefront. Glass pendants mostly. Had them in a large jewelry display, each in an individual box for gift giving. Over the course of a year I heard over and over again â€œDo you have a chain for sale in the store to go with the pendantâ€. My answer was always â€œIâ€™m sorry, no we donâ€™tâ€.
Took me a year to â€œlistenâ€ to what my customers were asking me to stock so they could buy it along with the chain. A YEAR! Finally, finally, finally it dawned on me to start stocking chains…duh! Which sold. With the jewelry and without. Just because I own a bizzillion chains does not mean others did not.
So I listen to Ebay when they whisper and I listen to them when they scream and I watch my bank account grow.
Summer sales everywhere, are you stocking up on discontinued items in the stores? Are you thinking Christmas yet? I am. I am selling Christmas Icicles, fall glass pumpkins. It will really get into the â€œshoppersâ€ mindset within the next 30 days so I am tweeking all my pumpkin and Christmas items to make sure they are what Ebay likes in all regards.
Great week for all…summer vegetables, warm temps and safe lives for all.