Topics in this issue:
1. eBay News: Fee increase on the way
2. Warning: Latest Paypal spoof e-mail
3. eBay 101: Top five tips for successful auctions
4. Ask Molly: My postage costs are wrong
Welcome to this week’s edition of The eBay UK Bulletin. Many thanks for the comments and questions – it’s really great hearing from you – and from this week a new feature: all feedback used in the bulletin will be rewarded with a FREE copy of my book ‘The eBay Business Handbook‘. So, send the ideas in quick while I’m feeling generous!
[For details of this newsletter, please scroll down to the end.]
1. EBAY NEWS: FEE INCREASE ON THE WAY
On 22 August 2006, eBay will increase fees – not for auction listings, but for ‘store inventory’. With 543,000 eBay stores worldwide, representing about 83% of the volume on the site, this is likely to have a major impact on the way items are sold. In an attempt to restore the balance on the site between traditional auction listings and shop listings, eBay will increase fees by an average of 6%. “We are trying to get back to the essence of eBay,” said Meg Whitman, CEO of eBay. For full details of the price changes, follow this link.
It is hoped that the changes will divert buyer’s interest away from shops and back to traditional auctions. Other listing fees remain unchanged. You can read the thoughts of Doug McCallum, Managing Director of eBay.co.uk at http://www2.ebay.com/aw/uk/200607.shtml#2006-07-19190733
Now may be the time to shut up shop and consider the use of fixed price ‘Buy It Now’ options, or traditional auctions on a shorter duration with a higher start price.
2. WARNING: LATEST PAYPAL SPOOF E-MAIL
Spoof e-mails are always in circulation, trying to gain access to your bank account or obtain your eBay details; but this week brought a very interesting spoof, trying to relieve me of my Paypal account details.
With the title ‘PayPal Account Security Measures’, this e-mail seems to have it all; the correct header and footer details, some great pictures of a guy smiling (who needs a shave) and some ‘Identity Protection Highlights’. The e-mail even offers some advice about protection from spoof e-mails – now that is cheeky. The main text reads:
“Due to upcoming year 2006 and recent changes in PayPal’s Service Agreement, you need to submit additional details on your PayPal account. Starting from 2006, all PayPal accounts will come with complete detailed information! Identity protection matters. And PayPal works day and night to help keep your identity safe.”
The e-mail then instructs you to ‘get verified’, or risk account deletion. It looks very good and seems to have come from Paypal until you read it a little closer. The first thing is that 2006 is now half over, so “Due to upcoming year 2006″ doesn’t really make sense. The grammar of spoof e-mails is getting better, but that use of “And” to start a sentence is clumsy. Paypal would never ask you to log into your account directly from an e-mail, so don’t be fooled – delete immediately.
If you have found a spoof e-mail that looks like the real thing, please send in the details and I will include it.
3. EBAY 101: TOP FIVE TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL AUCTIONS
I am often asked what makes a successful auction. A new genuine IPOD with a BIN price of £8.00 would be quite successful – but if you would prefer not to make a loss, consider my top five below.
i). Create a friendly sales environment
People buy from people. Create an auction where bidders will feel happy to do business – if it is hostile and threatening, many will move on.
ii). Welcome new users
New eBay members are great, they can become very excited and will bid far more than they intended – welcome them to your auctions.
iii). Be aware of page load times
If your auction takes too long to load, bidders will move on. Appeal to as many potential customers as possible, don’t force them away before they have even seen your item.
iv). Keep the content to a reasonable length
Long pages full of tedious detail will deter bidders; they just will not read it. Bidders will see many auctions – you need to tell them in the first few words and with your picture, why they should bid on your item. Do not bore the customer.
v). Adopt a consistent design format
Establishing a consistent site design from the beginning will make your workload much easier and any repeat visitors will know what to expect. Plan it well and stick to it.
4. ASK MOLLY: MY POSTAGE COSTS ARE WRONG
This week a question concerning postage charges.
I have just realised I have messed up my postage on couple of items…the 12 hour rule has passed, so I can’t rectify the mistake. I can’t even add a note to the description, telling the buyer of the error. What should I do?”
It happens to us all, and if not spotted can prove costly. I sympathise with the situation. Just to quickly explain: if, in the last 12 hours, an auction has a winning bid, sellers cannot:
– End the auction early. (You can cancel bids, but not end the auction – unless the item is being sold to the high bidder.)
– Add to or change the item description.
In the case of incorrect postage charges, there is very little that can be done. It may be worth contacting the buyer after the auction and explaining the situation. It’s a long shot, but they may be accommodating.
Calculating correct postage costs is important for two reasons:
– too cheap and valuable, profit is lost,
– too high and bidders will be put off and may go elsewhere.
Give some thought to the packaging of the item before you even write the description. This will ensure the costs are correct and you may be able to add a relevant note to the auction, such as: “This item will be sent in two packages by parcel post”, which really means that you don’t have a single box that is big enough, but thankfully have realised this before setting the postage charges.
Tip: for future auctions, consider selecting the postage option “Seller’s Standard Rate”, instead of First Class or Second Class etc. This will allow you some flexibility with the postage method should you need it.
[In 'Ask Molly' I answer questions from eBay members about any aspects of buying, selling or just general interest. If you have a question connected with eBay, please email me and I will include it in a later edition.]
Here are a few more of the sales phrases that you may come across on eBay along with their true meanings:
“New generation” : Old design failed, maybe this one will work
“Built to precision tolerances” : We finally got it to fit together
“Microprocessor controlled” : Does things we can’t explain
“Improved” : Didn’t work the first time
That’s all for this week, back with more in seven days.
If you get the opportunity, tune into Liverpool’s Radio City on 96.7FM tonight (Tuesday 25th July) at 10pm, where I’ll be taking part in a two-hour radio phone-in session all about eBay. You can listen online, here: www.radiocity.co.uk
Best wishes and happy eBaying
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