A guide for sellers - from a buyers perspective

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Although I am not currently an active seller, I have been an eBay user for many years and have used this wonderful site to sell all sorts of the things in the past. These days however I am mainly a buyer and would like to share my thoughts on selling - from the adverts themselves to customer service. I suppose mainly it is a guide for new sellers but I think it can cover any type of seller. Just lately I seem to have been dealing with a few people that I don't consider to be good sellers, so to get a few things off my chest, I'd like to share this.

The Advert

Many sellers seem to treat this lightly and just expect their things to sell. For example adverts in the wrong category, no pictures or wrong pictures, little or no item description whatsoever. I've seen it all over the years, from the funny things to the completely idiotic. A few tips...

  • Give as much information as possible! It sounds so simple but I'm sure you've adverts where, for example, it just says "Ladies boots" and absolutely nothing else - not even the shoe size. Like what condition are they in? New? Used? Knackered? Colour? Knee high boots? Ankle high? Heel height? You seriously can't expect these things to sell can you?

  • In many categories, you can make use of the eBay search functions. For example people searching for a Sony Digital camera can specify they only want to see Sony items. Or a MP3 player, again they can specify brand, features, memory size, etc. The point is when you are making your advert and eBay asks you for the details of your item, don't ignore it! It helps you to market your item and helps potential customers to find your items
  • .
  • Pictures are very important. I'm not saying you need to be a budding David Bailey, but you will have heard the adage "a picture is worth a thousand words" - people like to see what they are buying, and that especially goes for if the item has defects, like a scratch, dent, stain, etc.

  • Run your text through a spell checker if you are unsure of anything, or grab that old dictionary from the bookshelf. Believe me that an advert with correct spelling and grammar looks ten times better!

  • Make sure to specify how people can pay. Do you only want to do business via PayPal? Cheques, Postal orders, etc? Please state.

  • Specify how the item is going to be delivered. Is it going via Royal Mail, Parcelforce? Recorded Delivery? Does the customer need to collect the item, or is it optional?

  • You may also want to invite potental customers to look at your other items for sale and your feedback profile. You could mention that you are happy to answer any questions relating to the item. If you are a business you could provide a telephone number - don't be put off by that, because if someone phones you asking questions about an item, you could possibly sell them other items too.

Customer Service

  • Respond to questions. Think of yourself as a potential buyer - how would you like it if a seller ignores you? Would you still bid?

  • It is nice to let the customer know that their item has been posted. It only takes a few seconds to send a little note via the eBay messages. When I have been waiting a while for an item, I have lost count how many times I have had to ask a seller if my item has been posted and when it was posted. Very annoying! Also don't forget to mark it as posted in your eBay account - this helps for your records too, and the customer can see it as posted.

  • If the customer is paying by cheque or Postal order, let them know you've recieved the payment. Let them know when the cheque clears, or if it doesn't clear!

  • Get a receipt or proof of postage. If something gets lost in the post or via courier, this proves that you did actually send it. This helps you to claim on the item, and also stops the customer from thinking you're fiddling them.

  • Feedback... I'm having a real problem with this. Many sellers do not leave feedback until the buyer has done so first. I view this as very unfair, because the buyer has completed their side of the transaction when the seller recieves payment. That's it, done and dusted as far as the buyer is concerned - so leave them feedback. You should only get your feedback when the buyer recieves the item.
In a nutshell, treat people how you would like to be treated. It's not hard - just common sense and courtesy. :-)

I'm happy to answer any questions and recieve comments about this little guide.

Thanks
Paddy
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