Topics in this issue:
- eBay news – New TRS requirements
- Amazon – The story of one bulletin reader
- PowerSeller / TRS spoof
- Ask Molly – Do things drop off in the summer?
Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of The eBay UK Bulletin.
The paperwork never seems to end; not only is it the end of the financial year and a tax audit due in a few days, but now Molly has decided to consider ‘Limited Company’ status. A meeting this very afternoon with a ‘real Accountant’ should shed some more light on the situation, I’ll update you next week.
In this bumper ‘new format’ bulletin are my initial thoughts on the new TRS requirements along with a a few ideas to describe an eBay trader!
[For details of this newsletter, please scroll down to the end.]
1. EBAY NEWS – NEW TRS REQUIREMENTS
Well, the big news of the week is the announcement of changes due in the Autumn. You may well be surprised to hear that on the whole eBay will be increasing the charges for most sellers. I’ll bring you more on this over the next few weeks.
The new requirements for TRS are to be:
1) A minimum returns period of 14 calendar days, using the new way of specifying your returns policy.
2) 1-day or same-day dispatch.
3) A free postage option.
4) An express delivery option – offering delivery within 1 day.
The 14 day returns period has been around for a while now so not unexpected. The one day dispatch is a bit of a pain, but remember all you have to do is tick the ‘item sent’ box.
Free postage could be a problem for a lot of sellers as before any discounts it will add around 10% to your fees, even more if you sell clothes. It was always going to happen and a lot of sellers have already taken the plunge and opted for ‘free’ postage. Personally I have grown to love this. Firstly, I get a slight boost in the search results, but more importantly, the true cost of sending the item is built into the price of the item. If your buyer buys 2 or more items, then you don’t have to offer a discount but you will save money on shipping.
As around 10% of my customers buy more than one item, I save either 57p or £1.95 each time (PPI 2nd class) – ignoring bubble bags and time. This doubling up of orders covers the extra eBay fee on inclusive postage and if the odd order for three items arrives then I am up on the deal.
The requirement that needs a little thinking about is the one day delivery option, as I don’t really want to offer this. Sending something special delivery means a break from the process, different forms to fill in and either stamps or cash at the depot or Post Office, which involves wasting time queueing. My initial thoughts are that I will make the cost of this prohibative by including the cost of time, fuel, VAT on the additional income and so on; somewhere around £12 per parcel should be enough to dissuade buyers from opting for it.
Please contact me with your thoughts and ideas.
2. AMAZON – THE STORY OF ONE BULLETIN READER
I always welcome comments from readers who are trying something different – naturally I steal the good ideas! Selling on Amazon seems to be a natural development for an online retail company after eBay and maybe a dedicated website. Indeed, Molly toyed with the idea for almost a year before deciding to relax more and stick with turnover as it is, I may have made the correct decision!
I have decided to take a plunge into the Amazon . They wrote to me at the end of November pointing out the benefits of selling gift based products like mine at Christmas and stating that Amazon would of course increase my sales. I duly responded and told them that I agreed and therefore I was far to busy to be going live on a new platform!
Anyway, I took them up on their offer of the Red Carpet Programme in January after finding out that in fact the 15% they took was the total amount i.e. they support their own financial system and I would not need to use PayPal. Therefore, it is more comparable to the eBay+PayPal amount of 12.9% (plus eBay and PayPal fees.)
I went live last week following almost two months of too-ing and fro-ing as a result of me supplying them with 100% spot on info to upload and their automated systems completely messing it up, e.g: a photo frame being matched to a guitar stand and Amazon asking me if it was the same product (plus many other examples!). I am afraid that initial impressions are somewhat negative. Sellers have so little control over their products and as you already know, if a product with the same ASIN or EAN bar code (mandatory to have these for Amazon) or the same SKU already exists, then you will simply be tagged onto it as another seller. This may save people time but the major problem (for me at least) is that many sellers use their mobile phones to take photos of their items and the standard of such images are very poor as are some of their descriptions. It is possible to contact Seller Support and ask them to swap the images if you believe there is good reason but this of course means that the other sellers will benefit from your professional images as well. This is, as you can imagine, extremely disheartening as in my case, I have a small photo area set up at home, with white backgrounds etc. and an expensive SLR. There is no real way around this unless you use alternative information but still then Amazon seem to be very good at matching it one way or another. This also creates a problem if you have existing shops on eBay or private sites where you use the same info that you are trying to submit on Amazon.
There are lots of other annoyances I have come across in my first 24 hours and to be honest, the easiest way around these was just to delete the listings and make the decision not to sell as much on Amazon as I do on other sites. This way I can remain a little more private! Or so I thought – I have now found that even when you delete items and later try to re-add them, Amazon tell you that they already exist! Hmm…..I wait with baited breath for the positive to outweigh the negative.”
Giverny-Gifts – http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Giverny-Gifts
3. POWERSELLER / TRS SPOOF
I was sent this spoof email I thought you may want to warn others.
I sussed it instantly as I use a different email address for eBay to the one I publish online.”
Pampered-Pets-Boutique – http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Pampered-Pets-Boutique
Subject: Welcome to the PowerSeller and Top-rated seller portal program!
Date: Thu, 7 Mar 2013 05:10:05 -0500
Welcome to the PowerSeller and Top-rated seller portal!
New to the PowerSeller Program?
Activate your membership here:
What is a PowerSeller?
PowerSellers achieved eBay requirements for sales volume, customer satisfaction, policy compliance, and account standing and are rewarded with exclusive benefits to recognize their contributions to the success of the eBay Community!
What is a Top-rated seller?
Top-rated sellers are PowerSellers who have achieved the highest levels of customer satisfaction and receive additional benefits to recognize this achievement. All levels of PowerSellers are eligible for Top-rated seller status.
Learn more about PowerSeller and Top-rated seller benefits, requirements, resources, frequently asked questions, and terms and conditions.
Plus, join the PowerSeller discussion board!
Contact us if you no longer wish to enjoy the benefits of the PowerSeller program.
Please keep the spoofs coming.
I am still getting to grips with this new ‘HTML’ format bulletin, what do you think by the way? In time I should be able to master the techniques to show you spoofs in all their glory, my poor old brain needs to rest more these days so things do take a little longer.
4. ASK MOLLY – DO THINGS DROP OFF IN THE SUMMER?
Silly question I have, what do you say is your job title say when asked (by bank; insurances; HMRC….)?
Also, on average, do sales go down over summer months as people are out and about and not indoors on the internet? I started in September last year so still in my first year and wondering what to expect (although I am sure sales figures vary from year to year)?”
hannahmia – http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Hannah-Mia-Boutique
I do struggle with this one myself and the Elves also have an opinion as to what I actually do! I opt for ‘Retail Sales’ as it covers a host of activities. Really, I am an underemployed author who doubles as tea boy and chief lipstick packer.
Yes, sales will dip in the summer, unless you can find a line that is in constant demand. I always thought ice cream would sell well in the summer months. Buyers are on holiday or spending longer out of doors in the hot lazy UK evenings and not on their computers. The huge surge in mobile usage should counter this to some extent over time.
Seasonallity is something to consider; rather than jigsaws, maybe paddling pools will sell better, sunglasses rather than gloves and so on.
I would think that all retailers use this time to prepare for the (fingers crossed) Christmas rush; I order in extra coffee, more bubble bags and try to sleep a lot.
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 intel.harriman-house.com/ebay-bulletin for the latest news from Molly HQ.
Could it be the end of ‘Photobucket’ on eBay? Another of the recent announcements is that all pictures will now be free in all categories. I must say that it has taken a while for eBay to realise that extra pictures sell more items and if they are free then sellers will use them.
No cost savings here for me as all readers will know that I am very mean and never paid for any, however it should make life a little easier.
Best wishes and happy eBaying,
– NEWSLETTER ADMIN –
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