Why eBay Sellers Are Not Fascimiles of One Another

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As an eBay seller we occassionally receive customer emails along the following lines: "Seller X gives free oojamaflukes with every order over £10, so you should too".  Usually these emails specifically relate to discount rates.  This belief that eBay sellers who sell similar, or indeed the same, items should offer equivalent prices and discount benefits is understandable but also untenable.

I say understandable because everyone who operates in this arena is subsumed by the eBay umbrella, and buyers are in one fell swoop dealing with two businesses - the business of eBay and the business of the individual seller from whom they make their purchase.  As eBay is more-often-than not the bigger of the names, it is not hard to conceive that some buyers will fluidly move from seller to seller but only perceiving the megalith of eBay and its brand.

Though eBay is an electronic auction site, it is more analogous to a massive department store or shopping street.  But in the real world, on physical shopping streets, there is a uniformity which is dictated by economics, culture, politics and so on.  In a contiguous street of shops in a high-rent area, you would find a consistent quality of merchandise, employees on similar wages working in those shops, people of similar affluences shopping their, and a number of expected standards. 

In Kensington High Street it is highly unlikely you would see a chain of Bulgari, Chanel and Boss outlets broken up by a 99p store.  Likewise, at a second hand boot sale, we seldom - I'd wager never - see a Cartier store between an old Datsun and an old Cortina flogging watches for a mere £50,000.

As such, this is what happens in a cyberspace venture such as eBay.  Without any real geography or physical localities, there is no easy way for buyers to distinguish between sellers who are selling off odds & ends from their attic, those who are running the on-line equivalent of a car-boot sale, those who are running a business to supplement their first wage, and those who run a full time business.

And this is a problem for sellers when they meet buyers who - understandably - have no reason or tangiable evidence on which to distinguish the hierarchy (if you like) of eBay sellers.

Let us take that old chestnut of the P&P discount as our example... [TBF] 




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