Topics in this issue:
- eBay 101 – Express delivery.
- A haggle from your worst nightmare.
- Pictures – text & borders.
- Ask Molly – Are my pictures to blame?
Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of The eBay UK Bulletin.
It is all go at Molly HQ as the push continues to list as much inventory as possible before the seasons change. The Elves are running around brushing dust from some really amazing things, in some cases is is a mystery why they were bought in the first place – I love a challenge.
In this packed bulletin, Molly reveals the history behind the persona and how one particular haggle left all involved with a big headache.
[For admin details for this newsletter, please scroll down to the end.]
1. EBAY 101 – EXPRESS DELIVERY
This question arrived at HQ during the week, it also allows me the opportunity to explain how Molly came to be.
(It seems odd calling you Molly)
I would like to offer express postage options but cannot find out how to do it anywhere. Could you explain please?”
Firstly the question:
I think I know what the problem is with the express shipping options. They are located along with ‘economy’ and ‘standard’ services but may just be out of sight. Using the scroll bar on the right should see them rise into view.
And now Molly:
I know what you mean about the Molly thing, my Mum thinks it very odd. I was taking part in a radio chat show a few years back when the DJ announced just before going to a music break that at the weekends I dress as a woman and answer to the name of Molly, my poor old Mum was left wondering for three minutes before I could explain.
The real reason is a little more tedious. As cosmetics were my prime sales for a while, I sold them in a feminine way, using soft background colours, words such as ‘ours’, ‘us’, ‘we’, as opposed to more masculine words ‘I’, ‘my’, ‘mine’, etc. Women generally buy cosmetics from women so I became Molly (which was the dog’s name).
My publisher and esteemed editor of this newsletter (I am not worthy) picked up on this and along the lines of ‘Dear Deidre’ from the Sun newspaper, ‘Ask Molly’ first appeared in the bulletin way back in 2006.
Now I answer to Molly more often than Robert. In fact one of the Elves made me this tee shirt for my appearance on I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here.
It’s a funny old world!
2. A HAGGLE FROM YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE
I know that many readers love TV shows such as Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is or Antiques Road Trip where haggling, possibility staged for the show, is a major part of the programme. Well here’s something they don’t often come across.
Molly and the Elves had a day out at the local car boot sales, in fact three were completed before 1pm. The boot sale in question was in Chelmsford where Mrs Molly spotted some very nice Lever Flush Bolts, which fit into doors. Four boxes with 12 bolts in each.
“How much are these please?”
“A pound a box.”
Slight pause whilst we exchange glances, they seem cheap so check again that they are unused.
“Go on then,” says the seller “you can have the lot for £10.”
Bemused looks exchanged, did we hear this correctly? Another pause.
“OK, give me a fiver for them.”
Things are moving in the right direction.
“I tell you what, I’ll give you a pound a box and take them all.”
The exact money is handed over as the chances of getting change seem slim and we exit sharply.
3. PICTURES – TEXT & BORDERS
I thought I would add something to the issue of preventing others from “borrowing” photos.
You mention having a distinct background combination, which I agree with. A unique background is a good first step to spot interlopers (if you have the time to look!) and hopefully drive traffic with returning customers.
When I began serious eBay-ing of my products I did that trick one better through blind stupid luck. Rather than just an interesting, but generic, background color or texture which can be copied, I added a border, some descriptive content, a helpful hint or two, and my store’s eBay address.
I do this by printing paper background “place mats” which contain those details and on which I place the item to be photographed (the details are kept in Excel and then I use Word’s merge function to create the place mats).
These REALLY stand out from the crowd. I also print using different colours of paper for each product line, which helps my customers I hope but, more importantly, helps me to easily see my product groupings within my shop and on eBay summary pages.”
Now this is an interesting point as the note came in from the USA where eBay rules concerning pictures seem to be a little more relaxed. In the UK the following are not allowed as per the ebay picture policy page:
- Adding borders to your photos.
- Adding additional text, artwork or other marketing materials to pictures.
The rules for pictures are confusing and differ from site to site, no wonder there is confusion amongst sellers.
Any comments? Please let me know at the usual address.
4. ASK MOLLY – ARE MY PICTURES TO BLAME?
Firstly I would like to say your book eBay business Handbook has been a real help. Simple, no gobbledy gook, straight forward help and advice.
I started selling on eBay as a business in October. Going to auctions and then selling what was good enough on eBay and car booting what was not. eBay was going very well so I decided to branch out and joined esources for help and support that they could offer dropshipping. That too is going OK.
I have found a wholesaler that allows me to dropship. I download their photo and then upload it to eBay. I have noticed a couple of other people use the same dropshipper and use the same photo. Will eBay think we have pinched the photos from each other? My sales have dropped considerably from five a day to one or two a day. I thought it was the time of year but then it dawned on me it could be my photos from the dropshipper. Do you think this is it?”
It is a very quiet time of the year, Thursday saw my lowest daily sales in recent memory but I did catch up with a lot of admin and listing prior to the Christmas rush.
You should be ok using the same picture as other sellers. The eBay catalogue allows the use of the same stock picture for many sellers, your dropshipper’s picture will be treated the same. I would word your item titles in such a way that it is different from the competition, just to catch a browser’s eye.
If I am looking for a particular item and dozens pop up in the search results with the same picture and title then I will buy on price (subject to a reasonable feedback check). Maybe mention your dispatch times, or shipped from the UK – something to pull the buyer in for a closer look. Having your own picture might do this, but of course it needs to be a good one to match the quality of the one you already use.
Getting the buyer to select your item is the biggest hurdle to overcome. In the world of my cosmetics business it is down to price. All my competitors are experienced, they know the system, offer free postage, quick dispatch and so on. A few buyers come back again with repeat custom running at around 7%, but this may of course be down to price – it is very hard to maintain a loyal internet customer base when other good sellers offer the same service at a reduced price.
On the other hand, my DIY and toy businesses have more unusual items where the pictures will be unique and the price based on similar items for sale or recently sold, so it’s a little harder for a direct comparison to be made.
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.
Reason for great cheer at Molly HQ as feedback received trips over the 59,000 mark. Even with the odd neutral or negative, all Elves were pleased to reach this milestone – no pay rise though.
I also noticed that the main selling account has notched up over 100,000 sales, that’s a lot of packing.
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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