Topics in this issue:
- eBay 101 – Social media promotions.
- Postage headache.
- More postage woes.
- Ask Molly – Is it the end for auctions?
Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of The eBay UK Bulletin.
I will be overjoyed when eBay finally split from PayPal and those annoying pop-up info banners disappear. Not too worried about the actual split, I just want my screen to stop bouncing.
In this week’s bulletin there is loads about postage, am I the only one who finds this stuff exciting? Also a call for your help and advice concerning social media and eBay auctions in general – put the kettle on.
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1. EBAY 101 – SOCIAL MEDIA PROMOTIONS
” Hi Molly,
I am wondering about your readers’ thoughts on marketing their eBay shop through social media and the like.
I use Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for marketing purposes to get my shop name out there.
I have found Facebook and Twitter to be of limited use and Pinterest has provided me with the most sales. Maybe it’s because I sell garden plants and Pinterest provides a more visual experience.
I would love to know if anyone uses Google Analytics to market their shop and what has their experience been?
I am not a social media user so I don’t advertise my shop this way. I am sort of happy with things as they are, enough sales at the moment.
Saying that, the Elves do promote their shops through Facebook. They sell clothes, which I would think have more appeal on social media than replacement shower hoses, but maybe I’m wrong.
If you think shower hoses are just as sexy as designer clothes and you use social media sites please let me know at the usual address if it works for you.
2. POSTAGE HEADACHE
Regarding the postage debate, I list football programmes and that is easy enough because they tend to be at most a large envelope and the standard Royal Mail charge dependent on weight but it costs no more than £1.20 or thereabouts. I have a weighing machine which helps.
However, I have a lot of other things that I want to list which are much weightier. For example, I have a coffee grinder that I want to sell. The same item is usually fairly available on eBay but when I weighed it the cost using Royal Mail was going to be about £15.00 just for the postage, which was roughly double the amount of the likely sale value after bidding.
I noticed that the same item was being sold by two eBayers in a bid situation but their postage costs were about £7.50, which was obviously far more competitive. I have other things that may well sell, not for much, but are also heavy. For example, the ITMA album from the 1950s is a regular on eBay but the postage costs and bulk would again be prohibitive using Royal Mail as it is a fairly heavy item. Board games like Monopoly are quite heavy but the main problem is the size and again Royal Mail would cost a fortune that may well put off buyers from bidding.
Where do I get relatively cheap postage or courier rates where either I can drop the item off (I have two Post Offices and a sorting office near me but no one else) or the courier picks it up from me and delivers within a day or two (max) to the purchaser without it costing the purchaser a small fortune? And how do I accurately price the items because if I get it wrong, all the profit and maybe more could evaporate in delivery charges that I incur by miscalculating the charge! Any advice would be most useful.”
As you know I use the RM for most items and then Hermes for larger parcels and items that need tracking. Hermes do collect for an extra 20p per parcel – up to 5 kg for £5.48, they might be worth a try.
I do still get out the weighing scales for unusual items that I am not used to selling and then build the postage costs into the asking price and offer ‘free’ postage. This could of course make the item too expensive to sell on eBay and if so it gets put into the boot-sale pile.
3. MORE POSTAGE WOES
Just wondered if you were starting to get any messages from other Mollybol newsletter readers about Royal Mail’s plans to change the 24/48 hour parcel service?
I was contacted by my Royal Mail account manager last week to inform me of these changes. Royal Mail say they are “adding 2D barcodes to all our UK parcel services to improve customer information and operational efficiencies”.
As I understand it, from October(?) the CRL PPI code for UK 24/48 hour service parcels will no longer be available on OBA. Instead users will have to either use Royal Mail’s DMO system or another shipping solution such as Linworks. Using the DMO is I believe free but a thermal printer purchase will be required for the barcoded labels.
The real potential nightmare for one-man-band operations like mine is that it appears that with the new system it will take much longer to input mailing addresses each day. This is because they will either need to be manually inputted one at a time into DMO or an excel csv file created to upload them all at once.
Maybe it’s just fear of the unknown but I am happy with OBA and changing to DMO or similar fills me with worry.”
Nobody has mentioned it as yet, including my account manager. You are right that if this happens it’ll be another system to master and more stuff sitting on the desk.
If anybody out there has more info on this please let me know.
4. ASK MOLLY – IS IT THE END FOR AUCTIONS?
After a few disastrous recent auctions with the items going for the opening bid, I had a search around and found an interesting statistic: 70% to 80% of all listings are now BINs. Not believing this I checked a few of my favourite categories and indeed this is true.
Whether this is due to eBay bundling lots of free BIN listings in its shop subscriptions and no free auctions, or whether people today want it now so Buy It Now I cannot say.
I was wondering whether you noticed the same with your listings and have you moved away from auctions to BINs?”
I am not surprised, it seems only recently that the mix tipped in favour of BIN. With a very rare exception all my listings are BIN, only the odd auction as a loss leader to draw in buyers which I then redirect to other listings.
All items in the cosmetic shop are on straightforward BIN but many items in the other shops have the ‘best offer’ option as the margins here are a little more generous so I can take an offer.
If there are any die-hard fans of the auction out there please do let me know why you stick with them and what the secret of your success is.
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 –
Check out Harriman Intelligence for the latest news from Molly HQ.
I am pleased to see that eBay are adding more countries to the ‘global shipping programme’ as I am now a full convert to this shipping option. Last week I sent a huge Warhammer fortress to France which would have cost almost a million pounds to ship directly with the Royal Mail but the GSP only charged the buyer £8.91 – result. There’s a full list of the new countries here.
Author of the bestselling title, The eBay Business Handbook, available direct from the publisher Harriman House.
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