Thursday, November 12, 2009

Something odd in the eBay world.

Nothing odd in the application. Its working as well as normal. We've adjusted to all the changes they've made in the past few months and life goes on.

I've just been noticing a lot more interesting interactions with customers and potential customers recently. Of course this kind of stuff goes in cycles it seems, so it remains to be seen if it is a permanent state of affairs or not.

We got a message recently from someone informing us that we had described something incorrectly. It's not the first time - I learned very quickly a while back that collectors frequently know more about what they collect than the sellers they buy the stuff from. This gives them an advantage, and as a seller, we struggle to come up to speed on stuff. I don't mind someone telling us we're mistaken about something - frequently I'll attach the message to the item for the world to see. We're not alone in making mistakes - I see them all over eBay, from misspellings to incorrect pictures posted in the item description. In our most recent case, we misidentified something, and the person who informed us was a little rude about it. There's no need to be rude.

We got another message from a person questioning our price on a certain item. Not making an offer to purchase it at a lower price, but wondering why we had it priced so high. (So high being a whopping $2.99). So I responded, and for some reason explained my reasoning, but in reality why we give an item a certain price is nobody's business. It's an art/science/false hope/broken dreams type thing, with a bit of research thrown in for good measure. If someone wants to negotiate a price, that's cool. I always reserve the right not to change it, but I'm open for discussion. But this person came across as a little rude, and there is no need for that. Life's too short.

Another person questioned why shipping was so high for an item. I live in North Carolina, this person lives in Australia, and basically the reason why shipping was high is because I live in North Carolina and they live in Australia. We agreed to knock $2.00 off the shipping charge, and they proceeded to buy a bunch of stuff, so it worked out well. But guess what. We had the shipping exactly right before we took $2.00 off the price. This person did exactly what they should have tho, they expressed their concern before they made a purchase, they were very nice and everything was very pleasant. The person I was talking about in the paragraph before this one might want to make a note.

I dont mind people asking about shipping charges at all. I'll explain my reasoning for a certain shipping & handling charge until I'm blue in the face. My biggest priority is to not lose money on shipping. On low price items, messing up shipping charges is the quickest way on earth to lose money. On the other hand, I'm not out to gouge people on shipping either. I've been known to give partial refunds if I feel I've charged too much. And I'm a great fan of flat rate combined shipping, I do that whenever I can. Occasionally I'll offer free shipping on an item. After 3 years of doing this, I know what a fair shipping rate is and I don't buy from people who have excessive shipping costs. It boils down to this - if your shipping costs are out of line with reality, either too low or too high, you will not succeed.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

There just seems to be a lot more messages from people lately, and a lot of them are unusual, at least to me. I think this started with the guy from China who just wanted to buy some feedback.

It keeps things interesting. Our sales are picking up quite a bit, so maybe that's all it is.

I'm tired. I'll write more to you all later.


Heather said...

I used to shop on ebay, till the funds got low.

I was watching this one item: they wanted $30 for it and the shipping cost was almost just as much. I wasn't about to pay $60 for the item.

I bought some little green glass mugs for total cost $6, two weeks later found a set of six with a barrel at the thrift store for the same price.

That kinda broke me of my ebay habit.

Glad your getting better business.

A Valdese Blogger said...

We try very hard not to compete with thrift stores or any other retail type outlet for that matter. We don't have the resources & there's not enough time in the day.

Patti Anne said...

Well, the customer is always right, even if they're cranky about it. Just kidding! Sometimes the customer is just an obnoxious person with too much time on his/her hands, wanting to make life miserable for someone else. Sometimes he/she genuinely knows more than we do about the item, so I don't mind when honest, constructive feedback is given. eBay is a minefield at times. So far we've still got great feedback, so I guess we're doing something right! Well, you are, for sure - since you do 90% of the work!