Topics in this issue:
- eBay news – The bigger picture
- Postage stuff again
- Reader’s rant – next day dispatch
- Ask Molly – Who is the best overseas courier?
Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of The eBay UK Bulletin.
I must take my hat off to anybody who ventured out to a car-boot sale over the Bank Holiday weekend, I attended along with a minor elf and it was a little chilly to say the least. It actually snowed.
The good thing about car-booting in sub-zero temperatures is that the latte tastes even better and sellers are keen to recoup their pitch fee. Bargains this week included a dozen industrial smoke detectors, a set of Ford car speakers and a host of other items all at knock down prices; here’s hoping it snows every weekend this year.
In this edition of your favourite bulletin are a few thoughts on the new eBay picture requirements and loads of attacks on the Royal Mail which is always a good read.
[For details of this newsletter, please scroll down to the end.]
1. EBAY NEWS – THE BIGGER PICTURE
I am still working my way through the changes due later this year and this week I want to take a look at the new picture requirements.
I am actually in favour of these changes as none of them impact on the way I work and anything that disrupts my competitors must be a good idea.
The gist of the change is that all pictures will follow a standard template so as not to confuse buyers. All pictures must now be free from borders and superimposed text such as “free shipping” or “lowest prices”. These always looked tacky to me and smacked of end-of-line market traders, so good riddence to this practice.
Other changes include the requirement to have at least one picture, which makes sense to me. Also there is mention in the eBay news brief about the use of stock pictures. I am not too sure how this will be enforced but the idea of forcing my competitors to take their own pictures is appealing – it does take time and might just put a few off the whole idea.
2. POSTAGE STUFF AGAIN
Well, with the ridiculous changes the Royal Mail have made, I finally have decided to go down the courier route. As a trading assistant, I list a huge variety of items, in all kinds of different shapes and sizes, and the thought of having to measure each item and work out whether it is a small medium or large packet just seems ridiculous. Are they trying to loose business?”
theshinystar – http://stores.ebay.co.uk/theshinystar
I agree, it is becoming just too much hassle and I can see a total switch to a courier for all packets on the way. One interesting thing which came to light this week is the parcel classification when using ‘PPI’ and the code ‘CRL’. There is no distinction between small and medium parcels, just a pricing based on volume and weight. It might be worth checking if you now fall into the ‘medium parcel’ band. Even though the price of a parcel using PPI has risen to £2.21 from £1.95 it might cost in.
On the subject of parcels I was asked this week where to find a full list of overseas countries by zone, here it is – Royal Mail country zones.
It proved a little difficult to track down as the Royal Mail wrote an incorrect URL on their pricing documentation, leaving out a hyphon; are we really surprised?
3. READER’s RANT – NEXT DAY DISPATCH
Having just read your last bulletin, I find it very disappointing that eBay will be insisting on such a short dispatch time and having to offer a one-day delivery option. I will just have to resign myself to no longer being a top-rated seller once this comes into effect. As I make personalised stickers to order I cannot possibly offer such a quick dispatch time. Sometimes, too, people buy items from me then forget to tell me how they want them personalised and I have to chase them up before I can even start dealing with their order – all of this takes more than a day. So such a silly rule from eBay is very unfair for people who do more than just pick something up and stick it in a jiffy bag.
Last year when I had a one-to-one telephone conversation with someone from eBay trying to help me improve my service, they suggested to me that I change my dispatch time from 2 working days to 4 working days to give people a later estimated delivery date. This, he explained, would mean that they would be more likely to give me more stars for delivery time because I would mostly be getting things to them before the estimated delivery time instead of on or after it. This turned out to be an excellent piece of advice that greatly improved my star rating. It has also been handy when people have moaned at me because their item wasn’t delivered half an hour after they ordered it, because I could point out that it was still delivered before the date given by eBay and that date was there for a reason. I shall be sticking to this and therefore will lose my TRS.
As for offering a next-day delivery option – this is something I get asked for several times a week by disorganised people and one I always refuse. It costs 53p in postage to post a second class large letter. Guaranteed next day delivery starts at about £5.99. Normally I post all my stuff in the post box on my way to pick my kids up from school. Offering a special service would require a special trip to the Post Office, taking up time which would otherwise allow me to post about 20 organised people’s orders instead.”
Good point and you are not alone, I received several e-mails from readers this week who have resigned themselves to losing TRS later this year. Although a small consolation it is worth remembering that the number of TRS sellers will drop considerably, impacting on your competition. It is the loss of seller discounts that might have the biggest impact.
Molly already offers a one-day dispatch so that side of things is fine, as for the requirement to offer a ‘next day delivery’ option, I will do so at an additional cost of £20. This should dissuade most buyers.
If you have any thoughts or just want to let off steam, feel free to abuse me.
4. ASK MOLLY – WHO IS THE BEST OVERSEAS COURIER?
Can any of your reders recommend a reasonable and reliable overseas courier?
Following the Royal Mail’s price increases (and complicated way of pricing), I’ve decided to give MyHermes a go for my UK deliveries, but would appreciate any recommendations for overseas couriers.”
It has been a long while since I sent anything large overseas, I remember it being very expensive and as you know I try to avoid spending money so I’m not up to date with current options.
If you can offer assistance please let me know.
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 Harriman Intelligence for the latest news from Molly HQ.
It seems to be a week for bashing the Royal Mail, but then they have made themselves a top target. One final moan before I vanish into the shed; why did they raise the price of a large letter for business users when the cost using stamps didn’t increase?
It is only an increase of a penny per item, around £300 per year, but not a great way to cultivate goodwill in the business community. One wonders who within the Royal Mail actually thinks this is a good idea.
Best wishes and happy eBaying,
– NEWSLETTER ADMIN –
The eBay UK Bulletin is an independent newsletter and is not approved or endorsed by eBay UK.
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