The eBay UK Bulletin: Issue 233, 16th November 2011
Topics in this issue:
1. eBay news – Shareable wish list
2. Christmas so far
3. This and that
4. Reader’s rant – eBay reimbursement
5. Ask Molly – Is there still opportunity on eBay?
Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of ‘The eBay UK Bulletin’.
A slight lull in sales and the first thing I think of is bashing out another bulletin, life is just one big roller coaster of thrills.
Sales are speeding along and these have pushed Molly’s feedback over 33,000, with no more negs. so far.
You can catch up on the holiday season activity at HQ below.
A great reader’s rant this week; scroll down for more on this.
[For details of this newsletter, please scroll down to the end.]
1. EBAY NEWS – SHARABLE WISH LIST
It has been operational for a couple of weeks now and I just wondered if any readers have used the new service. The Elves have updated the HQ wish list and as luck would have it their dreams came true when a delivery of assorted bubble bags was followed by three rolls of bubble wrap and an outer of sticky tape. It’s going to be a great Christmas!
‘Easipack’ still seems the best value for your ‘oo’ & ‘1’ bags – http://stores.ebay.co.uk/EasiPack?
The ‘sharable wish list’ is on eBay.co.uk and eBay.ie and allows you to let friends and family know what gifts are on your mind, to be bought on eBay naturally.
The three-step sharing process is:
Create: Adding an item to your eBay wish list is simple. Once you find the item you want, click ‘Add to wish list’ on the View Item or Product Detail Page.
Customise: Customise your wish list page with your choice of theme, such as holiday, birthday, or anniversary.
Share: Share your personalised eBay wish list with others through email or Facebook.
Full details: http://pages.ebay.co.uk/help/buy/wish-list.html
2. CHRISTMAS SO FAR
Molly was hoping for a busy Christmas period and so far things are going to plan. I am not too keen on working this hard, but as the intention is to hibernate during Q4 (actually I don’t plan to be working very much until next September) every sale counts.
Active listings are up to around 650 which is three times normal volume. Imagine a cross between Del’s flat, Arkwright’s stock room and the American Pickers’ shed and you have a picture of HQ right now.
Stock is everywhere, every so often an Elf moves it from one pile to the next and eventually it leaves by the front door.
Here are a few Molly stats to accompany your coffee time:
Month-to-month sales growth: +81%
Sold items: +53%
Unpaid item disputes running at 2.5% of sales.
eBay fees up 110%
It is the toy categories which are of most interest at the moment as most of the Elves also moonlight for Santa and might even help in their eventual delivery.
The big surprise this year has to be ‘Build A Bear’ which is flying out, even the local myHermes agent bought a bundle whilst picking up parcels – doorstep selling in reverse.
Top 5 toy sellers:
1. Thomas the Tank Engine
3. Polly Pocket
4. Peppa Pig
5. Fisher Price
With November sales rising even higher there’s not much time for coffee at HQ. [Ed – I don’t believe that for one moment.]
3. THIS AND THAT
I have a question regarding buying stamps on eBay and using them for postage. Can I use these stamps on anything I send, even packets, or are they just used for letters and large letters and can you recommend a good seller of stamps?
Also how can I find out how many stamps to put on heavy or large items? I’m fairly new to selling on eBay and this would be a great help.”
‘flex_sales_centre’ – http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Flex-Sales-Centre
Yes, each stamp has a value and as long as the total equals the required postage amount then any combination can be used.
First and second class stamps also have a value, second class is currently 36p, so 6 x 2nd class stamps = £2.16 which is the rate for second class post into the UK up to 500 grams.
The Royal Mail publishes postal rates on its website www.royalmail.com. Weigh your item and select the appropriate price tier for the service you want and then add up your stamps until you have enough. Watch out with small parcels as you can soon run out of room using lower value stamps.
eBay is a great source of stamps with savings around 12%, saying that I can’t find anything of interest at the moment, the prices are going a bit too high because more sellers are looking for postage savings at this time of year.
Regularly use the search by ‘newly listed’ for ‘BIN’ items and you should strike lucky.
Although I have only used eBay for buying, I can sympathise with the seller who recently voiced the complaint in your bulletin.
When a seller has notified me that an item has been dispatched to me quickly, but it takes a considerable time to be delivered, I make sure that this is reflected in the comments section of the feedback form. It might be something like: “Excellent service was let down by poor courier”.
Perhaps it would be useful if eBay had a rating system for the performance of couriers & carriers, with criteria like efficiency, cost, speed of delivery, care of handling, etc. This would allow sellers to select ones which would be the most likely to provide satisfactory service.”
Just writing to commiserate on your recent negative feedback – we have just got our first!
Buyer moans about wrong size sent but listing says one size only!
No communication whatsoever before giving us a negative but it can be explained, I suppose, because they only have nine feedbacks – perhaps they will understand the system more when they get more experience. I do wish eBay would make some sort of allowance for this kind of thing.”
M – Don’t get me started.
4. READERS RANT – EBAY REIMBURSEMENT
Firstly, I had a buyer open a dispute through eBay to complain that their item had never been delivered. I find this irritating anyway when people do this rather than contacting me directly to discuss the issue – it reminds me of children running to tell their mum!
Anyway, because I just stick things in the post box I didn’t have proof of postage so they found in the buyer’s favour and refunded their money. Not that that is an issue as I would have refunded the buyer without quibbling if they had contacted me directly.
But then eBay sent me a reimbursement reminder telling me that I had to pay eBay for the money that they had refunded to the buyer or else my account would be suspended. It offered me a link to find out more about this but rather than telling me how to do it the link only told me why I should do this. It took about three weeks for me to finally manage to get in contact with the right section of eBay and to get a response explaining how to do this.
It was made more ridiculous because eBay only told me what I needed to reimburse in dollars but would only allow me to enter Stirling into the payment box so I had to work out what the amount should be by using a currency converter.
I received (as predicted) another eBay reminder about the reimbursement so I decided I ought to ring someone at eBay to get it sorted out once and for all.
Have you ever tried the “contact us” section on eBay? It is the most frustrating thing – sending you through loops of standard answers rather than providing you with an email or phone number to use. Eventually I clicked on an irrelevant question just so it opened up the bit that allows you to ring them.
I was on hold for about 8 minutes before it offered me the option to have them ring me back. To do them justice, they rung back within a couple of minutes. A very pleasant woman rang me and after I explained the problem she told me I was talking to the wrong part of eBay and she transferred me to the correct section, which put me back on hold.
After about 10 minutes I spoke to another American woman (are these people actually in America?!) who had to put me on hold for long periods of time to get assistance from her manager. By the time the call ended, I had been on the phone for over 40 minutes and all for the sake of £3.91 which I had already paid to eBay and just wanted to let them know that I had!
So how cost effective was all that for eBay?!
Hazels-Homegrown2 – http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Hazels-Homegrown
As ever your thoughts are most welcome – Mollybol@ebaybulletin.co.uk
5. ASK MOLLY – IS THERE STILL OPPORTUNITY ON EBAY?
I recently purchased your book. Super read, loved it!
I have been chewing over the idea of eBay for some time now but there is one thing which seems to keep coming up in all the business forums, etc. I get the feeling that every person and their dogs are jumping on the eBay bandwagon which is starting to make it very hard to make a profit.
Now I imagine that you get emails like this all the time but I can’t help thinking that it would very hard to make any profit. People have this idea that ‘anything’ sells on eBay yet myself and others have listed things which have never even sold, or had 1 bid at say 99p (not ideal on an item worth £20).”
I know what you mean about eBay being oversubscribed, competition is forcing down the margins on my cosmetic sales as others join the fray.
It is still possible to grab a piece of the action, choosing the right item to sell is essential.
To counter the reduction in margins Molly has started selling a third cosmetic brand – ‘Lancome’. Again its early days as the market is full but the last 3 months have seen significant sales with the new brand hitting third place by turnover behind Estee Lauder and Clarins.
I have now opened a small part of my shop to DIY products and in the last 90 days sold £4.5k of boys’ toys, including 180 fuses worth £1,500. I am still researching the market and looking for better supply but if things continue upwards in this way then I will break the business into its own shop as it doesn’t really fit with cosmetics.
Two of the Elves are at university and have their own shop selling used designer clothes. They seem to have sufficient funds to live on pizza and party most nights.
There are of course many hurdles to overcome, finding the right stock being high on the list. Find a niche market rather than go head-to-head in the DVD category
My key buzz words are ‘get rich slow’ and eBay is ideal as you can practice whilst working elsewhere. There are a few tricks of the trade which is where the book and 230 back issues of the bulletin come in handy.
So, yes, it is still a great place to be especially as economic gloom is forcing people away from the High Street and online looking for a bargain or second-hand item. I’ll be there waiting for them to visit.
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.
I am also keen to support new eBay ventures especially when I can save a few pounds along the way. This week’s ‘Molly’s best buy’ is ‘bluestarprint’ – http://myworld.ebay.co.uk/bluestarprint/? for your leaflet requirements.
I am running very low on compliments slips and prices at my usual printer have risen again. ‘bluestarprint’ will knock me up 5,000 A6 colour slips for £50 delivered (use your Quidco account and save the cost of a small latte). Not only this, but they helped with the artwork and guided yours truly through the process which was no mean feat!
If you need packing slips etc, just drop them a note at email@example.com and mention the bulletin. Maybe my next lot will cost me £45.
Best wishes and happy eBaying
Author of the bestselling title, ‘The eBay Business Handbook’ – available direct from the publishers: www.harriman-house.com/ebaybusiness