The eBay UK Bulletin: Issue 217, 19th April 2011
Topics in this issue:
1. eBay news – Electronics category – major change
2. Proof of posting
3. International postage
4. Ask Molly – is this a bad time to become a business seller?
Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of The eBay UK Bulletin.
Molly is back after a couple of weeks painting and decorating. I’m now settling back down to some serious eBaying so the bulletin should slot back into a regular time frame [Ed - heard it all before].
Many thanks for all emails over the past fortnight, my apologies if I missed any, I am just catching up now.
Some good news and coffees all round as Molly passes the 30,000 positive feedback mark and clocks up the 47,000th sale since leaving full-time work, which is six years ago almost to the day [Ed - that's around 21 sales per day].
The bulletin this week includes important news for sellers in the electronics category, check out eBay news.
If you sell outside the UK then watch out for the hidden Royal Mail costs, more on this below.
[For details of this newsletter, please scroll down to the end.]
1. EBAY NEWS – ELECTRONICS CATEGORY – MAJOR CHANGE
It is going to be a busy month for sellers in the electronics category as eBay extends the compulsory use of catalogue references for items listed in the following sub-categories of the Electronics main category:
Listings in MP3 players and GPS systems already have to be listed with a matching product in the catalogue. This will be extended to the following categories:
Video Game Systems
This could well result in a lot of work so check out the bulk edit tool
- Click My eBay at the top of any page and sign in.
- Click All Selling.
- Select the listings you want to revise, and then click Edit.
- Choose the Edit -> Catalogue product details option. You’ll see a table that shows information about each listing you’re editing.
Thankfully this is not my category so I get the week off.
Full details –
If you need a little more help with the changes, check out the document linked below, it might just help.
I wanted to introduce myself, I form part of eBay’s Seller Comms team at Racepoint.
I wanted to get in touch about the recently announced changes coming to electronics category sellers this May. From 17 May sellers in certain electronics categories will now have to list with a matching product from the eBay catalogue.
We thought your readers might find the following help document of interest. The document outlines how best to adapt existing listings, create new ones and the impact on buyer experience in more detail.”
2. PROOF OF POSTING
At my P.O. the other day they said they were stopping the Certificate of Posting pads so you now needed to download or photocopy the new A4 page.
Obviously this would be at my expense of paper and printer ink as I am a little one-man band so do not have a photocopier in the house (which would still need my paper!!)
I emailed Royal Mail about this ludicrous idea and today the answer has come back stating “You may still order the Certificates of Posting free of charge by contacting our Royal Mail Logistics team on 08457 950 950″. I will be on the phone to them Monday morning (opening hours 08:00-18:00).
I thought this might be of interest to other sellers as my P.O. stated they didn’t know this was going to happen and they had run out of pads!!”
‘Ashtonsallsorts’ – http://shop.ebay.co.uk/ashtonsallsorts/m.html?
Molly’s thought for the day:
‘Fewer proof of posting forms equals fewer claims!’
3. INTERNATIONAL POSTAGE
Boy, am I glad that I bought a load of 1st and 2nd class stamps before the price went up. For one thing I made around 13% and as I forgot to update most of the postage rates this came in very handy. It might just be coincidence but sales seem to have picked up on items with the old postage rates, maybe I am now more competitive – at least until the stamps run out.
Here’s a quick word of warning if you sell overseas. As we all know the rates have gone up, it now costs £2.07 to send a 100 gram packet to the US, an increase of 25p.
The hidden cost is attached to a packet weighing over 300 grams. At this point the Royal Mail step up in 100 gram tiers, so it costs an extra £1.11 to send a packet weighing 301 grams, a serious step up. If your packet is at the top end of a tier then the increase is not so bad, it is still £1.11 for a 390 gram packet.
It is now more important to get the packing right and cut the total weight back under the next tier, cutting the flaps off boxes works for me!
Full pricing – http://www.royalmail.com/portal/rm/content1?catId=400036&mediaId=400347
Quick eBay postage news
>From May 2011 you can specify more postal options when listing an item. You can now specify up to four local (previously three) and up to five international (previously three) postal services. This gives you more flexibility to specify the correct P&P charges for different international locations.
4. ASK MOLLY – IS THIS A BAD TIME TO BECOME A BUSINESS SELLER?
I have been selling my own personal stuff on eBay for years, and then started seeing things at boot sales to sell last year. And then I started to buy designer dresses (listed badly) which I bought from eBay to sell on. It’s been low key – pocket money to buy stuff for the kids. I thought I could scale it up and sell a 20+ dresses a week??? I imagined it would still be a small scale business for quite a while.
Just in the last month I have looked very closely at my figures, taking into account cost of sourcing the dress’s, eBay/PayPal fees and handling time. It was a real eye-opener as it turned out I pay a combined average fees of around 18% a month (as a private seller). Then I realised that eBay are actually putting up final value fees for clothes to 12% for business sellers – just as I’m about to convert! And the dreaded Royal Mail hike in prices. Yikes.
I am very confused about what my next step should be. I don’t now if I will be able to make enough profit to make the effort worthwhile? Any thoughts will be very welcome.”
You are right, it is a nightmare at the moment, the Elves have also just converted to a business account.
There are some things which can’t be altered, such as the eBay fees and Royal Mail pricing. Now is the time to balance these costs with other savings. I have switched to white bubble bags, for example. They work fine and save me around 3p per parcel. I am still able to pick up stamps from eBay for around 13% discount which also helps.
The Elves are selling loads of clothing, mainly from boot sales so like you their fees have risen in this category. They have increased postage for these clothes to approx £1.00 above the stamp face value – they are not too concerned with DSRs on this minor account. A higher postage cost plus the best offer option allows the buyer to fix their overall price but for a larger % weighted to P&P thus avoiding the 12% FVF.
Looking at the total family business and to further counter the price hike I am combining my small, low weight items in the cosmetics range, so two lipsticks instead of one. They still go for a large second class stamp, with only one bubble bag and one PayPal flat fee; this saves me 88p per pair which helps offset the fee hike in clothing.
The other thing to remember is that the listing fee is dropping to 10p for a basic shop; this makes a featured shop less attractive so I have downgraded mine. The 10p saving on all shop items also reduces total costs.
The way forward is to keep a private account for your own things, particularly clothing, and manage all your business listings through a basic shop looking at the bigger picture concerning total costs. Revisit your business process and if possible save time or money on other activities.
Remember that all sellers will be facing the same problems, so a lean process should help you manage prices which should result in greater turnover.
If you have a question about eBay or home working in general, please send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org – I will reply personally to every e-mail I receive and remember, there are FREE copies of my book available for the best questions, tips, or stories.
– END NOTE –
That’s all for this week. Check out www.ebaybulletin.co.uk for the latest news from Molly HQ.
Good news, the blog has reappeared, still way out of date, but I am working on that. I am not quite sure where it went, but Dr Technical at Harriman House has sorted it all out. If you are short of reading material don’t forget that (almost) all back issues of this bulletin are stored there and some actually have the odd point of interest.
Best wishes and happy eBaying.
Author of the bestselling title, ‘The eBay Business Handbook’ – available direct from the publishers: www.harriman-house.com/ebaybusiness