Topics in this issue:
- eBay news – Fees as a percentage of sales
- Meeting the new TRS requirements
- Wildcard search
- Ask Molly – Is it true that I pay no fees on First Class?
Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of The eBay UK Bulletin.
It was a triple celebration at HQ this week as Molly’s feedback score soared beyond 45,000, Power Seller status returned to Platinum and the delivery of coffee pods for the Tassimo finally arrived. The toy shop also nudged past 3000 positive feedbacks, but nobody seemed to notice after the macchiato was brewing.
In this blockbuster edition there’s a warning for those of you about to use the bulk edit tool to make changes and there’s a snazzy new tool for those obsure searches.
[For admin details for this newsletter, please scroll down to the end.]
1. EBAY NEWS – FEES AS A PERCENTAGE OF SALES
Everybody hates paying fees and quite a few eBay sellers do moan from time to time about the cost [Ed - you don't say]. I stumbled on a neat little graphic this week on the second page of my eBay invoice. Usually I only look at the figures right at the top, checking that discounts had been applied, so this other graphic may well have been there for some time.
My eBay fees are curently 7.59% of my monthly sales. It is quite difficult to work out how this figure is arrived at, due to credits, discounts and VAT, but it is a useful quick check. I don’t pay VAT on my fees – this is set at 15% (Luxembourg rate) – and my TRS adds another 15% discount so the figure of 7.59% is about right.
2. MEETING THE NEW TRS REQUIREMENTS
All TRS sellers will have to comply with the new big four requirements as of August, but you can get into the swing of things now and also qualify for the extra 5% discount on FVFs.
You must offer:
A minimum returns period of 14 calendar days and use the system to convey this to your buyer. It is not enough just to have it as part of your returns policy.
One day or same-day dispatch.
An express delivery option – offering delivery within one day.
A free delivery option.
It is interesting that you don’t have to meet these requirements for all of your listings, but you’ll only receive the associated benefits and final value fee discounts on listings which do meet the requirements. So if you have an item that you just can’t offer with express delivery it shouldn’t impact on the rest of your listings.
Things do get a little complicated so eBay have created a report which shows you how you are doing. It pops up when you access your dashboard from your My eBay page. It is straightforward and will point you in the right direction, but be a little wary when you make amendments using the ‘bulk edit’ tool.
I have started to change my listings to comply with eBay’s new policy and have managed to enter a 14-day returns policy on my 600 + listings using the bulk edit advice you gave in your last letter.
Unfortunately when changing the postage options using the bulk edit tool my first 200 listings ended up with only a £25 postage option, instead of this being added as the necessary 1-day postage option. I tried to edit this but as all my items have different postage costs as the size and weight varies greatly I could not retrieve this information therefore meantime I have had to offer free postage on these 200 items till I can sort this out.
Have you any idea, apart from individually changing all 200 items , how I might get back to where I started on these 200 listings with all the individual postage options intact? Then I can try again to comply with eBay’s policy changes?.”
The bulk edit tool is no doubt a great thing but do handle it with care.
As you have found when editing postage settings you have to re-enter all the postage options, it doesn’t just add an extra one. If all your items are the same then it should be ok, but if they are different sizes and you offer a first or second class option to different size items then you need to be more selective.
My postage options are as follows:
- All have a free second class postage option (needed for the TRS).
- Most items also have a first class postage option of either 90p or £3.00 depending upon dimensions. Some of your items may need the medium parcel first class rate, I don’t use it myself though. Any medium parcels that I send are included in my OBA standard parcels sack using the CRL code as the Royal Mail charge for small and medium parcels at the same rate.
- The final one is the express delivery option applied to all listings, £20 for me.
If you have a limited number of postage options then you could access the edit tool, select all 200 on the page and then unclick those that don’t comply with your postage option selection. What you are left with should all have the same postage choices. Repeat with the next size item selecting those required.
As a postscript, beware if you relist an old item as it may not be compliant with the TRS requirements. This is where a periodic check on your dashboard can be very informative.
3. WILDCARD SEARCH
Here’s something that has been removed (you may not even of known of its existence), but now thanks to the guys at www.watchcount.com it is back again.
Check this out! We just launched an eBay Wildcard search tool: http://www.WatchCount.com/wild
I’m not sure if this capability is of-interest to you or your readers, but I just thought I’d share the good word since we’re super excited about this new tool, and it makes certain eBay searching functionality available once again.
Ever since eBay severed people’s ability to search eBay with wildcards late last year, there’s been a small vocal population of frustrated searchers, and this tool’s for them.”
The wildcard helps search for similar items such as football programmes from the 1980s. The search would be “Toytown FC Programme 198*”, all results from the 80s would be shown.
4. ASK MOLLY – IS IT TRUE THAT I PAY NO FEES ON FIRST CLASS?
“Shipping Best Practice
Buyers also like a choice. Now you can offer 4 domestic and 5 international shipping services in your listings. Garner the most sales and deliver really great customer service with FREE standard shipping as your first option and a 1-day service for buyers in a hurry.
You won’t pay a higher Final Value Fee if your buyer chooses 1-day (or international) because when you offer these services, your fees are calculated on the first shipping option you specify. So if you specified free shipping as your first option, you pay zero fees on shipping even if your buyer chooses 1-day or international.
You offer free standard shipping as your first domestic shipping option and 1-day shipping for $20.00 as your second option in your item listing.
Your buyer chooses and pays for the 1-day shipping option for $20.00.
Even though your buyer chose the more expensive 1-day option, your final value fees are calculated on your first domestic shipping option. In this case, your fee will be calculated on free shipping—you do not pay a fee on the $20.00 1-day shipping option your buyer selected.”
I thought that your FVF included the total shipping costs selected, however the above example states “your final value fees are calculated on your first domestic shipping option,” which would mean that offering a more expensive/faster delivery option would not increase the cost to the seller by way of fees. If this is the case then it would make sense to offer a range of postal options by default, any thoughts?
Yes, it is the same for the UK site, more postage options than you will ever need. It is also true that the FVF is only paid on the first postage option which is why many sellers have a lower asking price and a postage fee.
Of course there is no such thing as free postage, the cost of this will be included in the asking price and therefore subject to the FVF calculation. There is a slight problem for the end buyer in that as the postage element of the sale will now be subject to an (approximate) 10% fee then the seller must raise the price a little to cover costs.
It is a great idea to have a raft of postage options but make sure you can fulfil them in an economical way. If you offer a flat international rate and an insured service remember that you have to visit a Post Office to send an ‘International signed for’ parcel, which could mean a specific journey, queueing time and so on. Offering a UK Special Delivery parcel for me means that I have to be at my local depot and finished the transaction by 5.45pm. On a Wednesday all the local Post Offices shut in the afternoon so the queue at the depot is longer meaning I have to allow more time to complete my business. This is time I could spend more profitably listing my new lipsticks. [Ed - and very nice they are too.]
As discussed before in the bulletin, the most suitable range of postage options will depend upon your personal circumstances. Mine has free postage for the UK as the first option, next is a first class option of either 90p for a large letter item or £3.00 for a small parcel size, finally the express option (next day 1pm) at a cost of £20. A few buyers each day opt for the first class option and so far only one express request.
I do offer a limited European service and a few toys go worldwide, but this is a very small part of my turnover with the buyer paying the full cost of shipping for just the cost of the stamps. I do of course save the UK postage element which is built into the sale price – happy days.
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 email 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 Harriman Intelligence for the latest news from Molly HQ.
I must admit that I am on the whole pleased with the new PayPal seller restrictions which come into force next month as they should deter some fraudulent activity.
“Starting on July 15th, access to your buyers’ payments in PayPal may be delayed by up to 21 days. This applies to you if you’re a new seller and you’ve been selling on eBay.co.uk for less than 90 days, you’ve made fewer than 25 transactions in total or you’ve generated less than £165 in total sales.”
It will however place another obstacle in the way of start-up businesses but at least it raises the price of a secondhand eBay account in the pubs and clubs of the UK.
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