Topics in this issue:
- Sort of eBay news – Tax returns
- More thoughts on postage options
- Negative feedback from a non-payer
- Ask Molly – Is it just me or is it slow?
Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of The eBay UK Bulletin.
Poor old Molly miscounted the number of Kajal eye-liners (Ed – it’s a girl thing) in the box and oversold by 9. This is not actually that unusual as they all look much the same to me. In this case Molly did still have some duos left. These have the same eye-liner but also a second colour at the other end and they sell for an extra £4. Being a decent kind of guy I decided to send the duos in place of the singles, the idea being that the buyer would be very happy and not complain.
The plan worked and all buyers were happy, not a single complaint, I did reduce the inventory total on the duos by the way. My point of interest here is that not one of my buyers contacted me to say that I had sent them a more expensive item by mistake. Be under no illusion as to the moral substance of (almost) all your customers.
In the bulletin this week a wake up call for your tax return and my take on the slower pace of trade.
[For admin details for this newsletter, please scroll down to the end.]
1. SORT OF EBAY NEWS – TAX RETURNS
Now I’m an old fashioned kind of guy who still likes to use paper and crayons, a consequence of this is that my tax return has to be submitted by the end of October.
Suffice to say that the last week has seen a lot of coffee consumed and a lot of head scratching as I try to remember just what happened in 2013. I set out with the best intentions but was distracted by something sparkly in mid-May and record keeping went off the rails then.
I can now see the end and spotted a few things along the way which might be of interest if you also are a little lax with your accounts.
The first thing to watch out for is that the eBay invoice details for April 2013 are about to drop off the bottom of the available list. If you need a copy then download it now.
I use PayPal reports to capture payment and refund information. In order to be able to access this function don’t forget that you may need to upgrade your account, as mentioned in a recent bulletin. If you get stuck just drop me a line and I’ll walk you through the process.
On a more general note, remember that any postage income counts towards your turnover figure and this is not shown as part of your eBay sales figure in ‘My eBay’, although it is shown on your eBay invoice as they deduct their fee accordingly.
2. MORE THOUGHTS ON POSTAGE OPTIONS
You mention international postage in one of your answers. You might like to point out to your readers that the Royal Mail rates to Asia (usually Australia, NZ, Japan) are not the same as the rest of the world. So you actually need four different rates for the full domestic and international experience. UK, EU, Asia & ROW.
Oh and don’t forget the ‘Countries I don’t ship to’ setting in Account management, or you may get buyers in undesirable places. Personally I list most of Africa, all war zones, and any other country that ‘appears’ to be poor to our western eyes.
Good point, loads of options to be considered. I have started to sell a few choice items overseas, only about 20 so far and already one has been ‘lost’, I mean stolen, somewhere en-route to Austria so I think I’ll just forget it again.
Any thoughts on international shipping? – send messages to me at the usual address.
3. NEGATIVE FEEDBACK FROM A NON-PAYER?
I need to sound off to someone – so thanks in advance!
I’ve enjoyed 100% positive feedback for months now, and sadly, received a negative last night, in French, which translated, “Dispute opened after two days knowing that I had other purchases in progress.”
As the buyer made no communication with me whatsoever, and I am totally unaware of them bidding on any other of my items, I have appealed the feedback, to be told it doesn’t meet any of the criteria for removal.
How fair is this – are buyers really able to leave negative simply because they have had a dispute opened for non-payment?
Would be interested to hear your thoughts.”
It is strange that you mention this as Molly also picked up a negative this week from a non-payer, well that is to say they were a non-payer until hit with a NPB notification.
The answer is yes, having a non-payment case opened against some buyers will incur their wrath and they may well vent this in feedback or DSRs.
I do seem to be racking up the negatives lately, whereas in the past there were only a couple each year. I still get the usual poor ratings for ‘stolen’ items and of course I must also take the rap for slow Royal Mail delivery, but picking one up as retaliation from a NPB did make me wince a bit.
I am dreading the impact Christmas will have on feedback scores.
4. ASK MOLLY – IS IT JUST ME OR IS IT SLOW?
Quick email, I hope. Been selling for probably eight years now, been browsing through different sites, e.g. down detector for one, and reading the comments on site, one begins to wonder what is going on with eBay.
100s of sellers seem to be venting their fury in one way or another, a very common complaint seems to be the massive fall off in sales, from 100s per day to 1 or 2, and 1000s to 100s, something is not right.
I personally have found a fair drop in sales, but as I intend to retire in six months or so I am not too bothered, although I still need income until then.
Have you experienced similar or had any other comments regards this?
This is an interesting point and one I’ll open up to all readers.
As far as Molly HQ is concerned the story is a little mixed. We are of course coming out of the summer months, when for many sales drop off anyway as buyers holiday or spend time out of doors. They still buy what they need but spend less time ‘window shopping’. As the warm weather has lasted well into October this may account for some downturn.
Molly now has five main lines: cosmetics, DIY, toys, clothes and ladies’ bags. The cosmetics is the biggest by turnover and has been the subject of fierce competition, which has seen my average sales value fall from £9.72 in July 2013 to £6.60 in July this year. Overall turnover has consequently fallen by 30% but I have taken it easy this year. not putting in as many hours managing inventory, etc., so it is complex.
DIY sales are steady and much the same as last year. I have introduced some new lines and managed to maintain the average sales value at £11. Of course now is toy time and already sales are picking up, I still have not loaded all my inventory but I am expecting to do well. The two minor lines are steady but fledgling so not much concern there.
My Royal Mail account manager was on the phone this week drumming up trade and mentioned that the volume of parcels sent over the past year is up 16%. Now we all know that turnover is important but it is profit that really matters, the increase in parcels and the lower sale price suggests that I am working harder to stand still.
So am I happy? Well yes, with the reduced focus I have given to eBay this year the results are as expected. I have had to diversify in some areas and sell in smaller volumes in response to other sellers.
Here’s to a massive Christmas. Now where did I put that Lego?
If you have a question about eBay or home working in general, please send it to me at the usual address. 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.
With the accounts (almost) finished and a complete kitchen refurb at the insistence of Mrs Molly also complete I can finally get down to some serious listing.
The toy / DIY shop has 1,380 items but many are not really suitable as Christmas gifts (Ed – unless you know a loved one who needs a new radiator valve). I am going to attempt to get this up to 1,800 items; wish me luck.
Author of the bestselling title, The eBay Business Handbook – available direct from the publisher Harriman House.
– NEWSLETTER ADMIN –
The eBay UK Bulletin is an independent newsletter and is not approved or endorsed by eBay UK.
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