The eBay UK Bulletin: Issue 220, 7th June 2011
Topics in this issue:
1. eBay news – Free subtitles for the chosen few
2. Manage communication with buyers
3. Can you help?
4. Quick rants
5. The best ever customer email?
6. Ask Molly – How can I change my ID?
Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of The eBay UK Bulletin.
The hot weather in the UK is great for gardening, laying patios and building summer houses, but not that good for selling on eBay. Roll on winter.
Things at HQ are still busy as total items sold through the Mollybol ID passes 48,000. The fledgling DIY business is also doing OK with the total number of sales at 87; worth £1,337 in turnover in just over a month. The Elves are going from strength to strength but still don’t pay any fees!
It is a bumper issue this week; well it’s started raining so I can’t get outside.
Change is the main theme as eBay tinker with the system. More on this below.
Also, possibly the best correspondence ever read at HQ from a ‘dissatisfied’ buyer (not one of mine).
[For details of this newsletter, please scroll down to the end.]
1. EBAY NEWS – FREE SUBTITLES FOR THE CHOSEN FEW
It sounds like a great idea, something for free must be worth having especially when it comes from eBay. Well although subtitles are free for a month to all ‘Top Rated Sellers’ I won’t be partaking in this particular offer. Although they are no doubt a great aide to sales they do cost £1.05 per month normally and when the listing renews after 30 days the fees kick in.
With close to 250 active listings it is just too much hassle to amend each item and remove the subtitle.
Full details – http://pages.ebay.co.uk/promos/eTRSbonus_110601/index.html
2. MANAGE COMMUNICATIONS WITH BUYERS
Things have changed again, this time eBay had buyer communications in its sights. On the whole it seems a good idea, but if you previously included a personal message to the standard e-mails then you will have to re-enter as the content was not carried over to the new format.
To make any amendments go to ‘My eBay’ – ‘Account tab’ – ‘Manage communications with buyers’. eBay will send four automatic e-mails:
1) Buyer wins auction
2) Buyer checks out
3) Order is updated with P&P information (when you check the parcel icon)
4) If your buyer hasn’t left Feedback after about a month.
There is one optional e-mail, if your buyer hasn’t paid after a couple of days then eBay will give them a friendly nudge.
You can add a personal message to three of these e-mails, which must be worth doing. Unfortunately the link to add a message on the auction win e-mail is broken at the moment.
Ideas for added comments:
For the first e-mail confirming the purchase add a note that you offer combined postage rates for more than one item or the payment methods you accept. It might also be worthwhile asking the buyer to wait for a combined invoice if buying multiple items as this will save you some PayPal ‘flat rate’ fees.
In the payment confirmation e-mail when the buyer ‘checks out’ add a note thanking them for their business and informing them of an expected dispatch time.
For the item dispatched e-mail a note asking that they inform you of any problems may save a poor feedback rating. It may be worthwhile adding a few words about future sales that you may be running – it won’t cost anything and might just encourage another visit.
The most important thing is to use these e-mails as a sales tool and update them regularly, including issues that impact on delivery, holidays, special offers etc. After all eBay will be doing most of the work.
3. CAN YOU HELP?
My use of HTML is limited as you know. I understand enough to enhance my listings, but the whole subject is just too vast and by no means a passion of mine.
A note arrived at HQ this week asking for a recommendation or some help regarding the use of ‘live’ feedback in listings. This is not something I do and the word ‘outsource’ means parting with money, so as you can imagine I cannot advise.
What’s the best and or cheapest way of including customer feedback in my actual advert? I have a long selling item that’s doing fairly well but I would like to improve sales by including great feedback that I’m getting.
I’m no whiz with HTML but figure there may be a cost-effective outsource option?”
If you can help, please let me know and I’ll forward the responses – Mollybol@ebaybulletin.co.uk
4. QUICK RANTS
There is good change and bad change; changing of the guard – “wonderful”; prawn cocktail crisps – “disaster”.
I went on to the My eBay page today only to find that eBay have removed sections from it. All I have on there now is items I’m watching. I don’t have my recent sold items or bought items.
I know I can see them by clicking within the left panel but I don’t want to do that – I want the information there in front of me, it’s what I’m used to!
Why do they change these things? It is so annoying. I don’t remember being consulted on this! No doubt you’ll get a lot of correspondence on this one.”
I know eBay were making changes at the weekend and some involved mail templates but I seem to have lost the ability to ‘email buyer’.
There is an option to do this on the right hand side of a transaction but the option to email multiple buyers by adding tick marks and then selecting ‘email buyer’ from previously the button and more recently the pull down list shown as ‘other action’ has gone.
This means that I am unable to let my customers know that I have dispatched their parcels! Surely this isn’t an attempt by eBay to get shop owners to upgrade their account so that this process is automated?”
If you need to let off steam, feel free to abuse me – Mollybol@ebaybulletin.co.uk
5. THE BEST EVER CUSTOMER EMAIL?
“Hi Molly, thanks for the newsletter.
I had the following email chain from a customer last week; does it warrant a mention in the bulletin?”
Customer: I just thought I’d write to let you know that I have paid too much for postage. I paid you £1.85 when I noticed the actual cost was £1.72. I would also like to let you know that the contents of the box arrived upside down and that the box was damaged.
Me: Hi there, the P&P charge is for postage and packaging so this includes, packing, delivery to us, fuel, stationery, labour, etc. I hope this helps to explain the charges. Please can you confirm if the actual product box was damaged or the external posting box that is used to prevent damage to the item itself?
Customer: I think the parcel just turned upside down in the post. It was the external box that was damaged.
Me: So there is nothing wrong with the product then?
Customer: No it is fine but I thought I’d let you know.
GivernyGifts – http://stores.ebay.co.uk/GivernyGifts
If you have a better note from a buyer, or seller for that matter [Ed - or editor for that matter], please do send it in – Mollybol@ebaybulletin.co.uk
6. ASK MOLLY – HOW CAN I CHANGE MY ID?
Here’s a query I doubt you’ve ever had before. I registered on eBay a very, very long time ago, but haven’t yet got going. (It was so long ago that I am too embarrassed to admit how long, but think of a number and double or treble it.) My problem is this. When it came to choosing an ID name, I impulsively chose a silly, embarrassing nonsense word. I immediately decided I didn’t like it and tried to change it. eBay has told me that I am registered with that name and I seem unable to do anything about it.
How do I go about changing my ID?”
You can only change your user ID every 30 days, which should be more than enough.
1. Go to My eBay and click on the ‘account tab’ > My Account > Personal Information.
2. Click ‘Edit’ to the far right of your user ID.
Oh, how the memories flood back, here are my thoughts on the selection of an eBay name dug up from the darkest corners of ‘The eBay Business Handbook’ – 3rd edition [Ed – available in all good bookshops, online and direct from the publisher]:
1. Name length
When a buyer wants to search for you by name, maybe just to browse your items, they will need to type your name into the search engines. The longer your name, the more likely they are to make a mistake when typing and never reach your items at all. Keep it short!
Keep the format easy to type: hyphens are often forgotten; underscores require two keys to be pressed; and numbers are awkward to remember.
Make your name memorable. Try to construct a name that can be pronounced – the most obvious names have been taken, but with some thought you should be able to arrive at something. A jumble of letters and numbers, maybe initials and a date of birth, such as BGH121070, will not be remembered and we want to make sure as many satisfied customers as possible come back to buy again.
If you intend to focus on a specific area of sales, try to make your name relevant to the market. You may already have found some sellers who have the item they sell within their name; examples might include Nokiaman, Batteryseller, DVDshop and so on. (I have just made these up to illustrate how a name can reflect the sales activity.)
OK, so my main trading name of ‘Mollybol’ means absolutely nothing, it should be something like ‘Cosmeticsmakeuptoysdiyandgeneralstuffselleruk’. I might change it.
If you have a question about eBay or home working in general, please send it to: email@example.com – 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.
Here’s a great excuse for not completing on a pair of size 6 Timberland boots: ‘Timberland Pro Series Safety Work Shoes New Size UK 6’
“I’m sorry. I misunderstood your shoes size, 6 is not good. I need 7”
Good news, the Business Handbook has taken one step closer to being launched on Kindle. It now rests with me to edit and update into a sort of edition 3.5. As with all things it has slipped a little, but should be out there in hyperspace soon, I’ll keep you informed. (Sorry Craig, I’ll get it done this week.)
It’s stopped raining so I’m off back into the garden, forget eBay, selling and editing books, it’s coffee time!
Best wishes and happy eBaying
Author of the bestselling title, ‘The eBay Business Handbook’ – available direct from the publishers: www.harriman-house.com/ebaybusiness