Lazy eBay Sellers

Tuesday, 19 February 2008 at 5:00 am Pacific USA Time.

OK I don’t think all eBay sellers are lazy, but I got your attention so I can say this.

I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from my blog posts and mailing list mailings, and the word seems to be that buyers have a lot of negative experiences buying on eBay, and these are not eBay’s fault. This is about how sellers operate.

Between my own buying experiences and what people are reporting to me, sellers are lazy. Their policies in their listings might be overly wordly, hard to understand, grumpy, incomplete, or outdated. LOTS of sellers I talk to tell me their policies have changed, but they don’t have time to go back into every item and change their policies, one by one. Of course, if they used a template and the policies were there, that would solve that.

The equivalent of this is if you went into a retail store and they had policies hanging up. You read them. You then tried to go by their policies and found that they changed them but didn’t bother making up a new sign yet. Well that’s a bad experience, and you may not shop there again out of lack of trust.

We know that eBay is making changes because of buyer trust issues.

How about the definition of "new"? There has always been a debate as to whether "new" and "brand new" are the same thing. How about something that’s "factory fresh" or "open box"? If someone opened the box and returned it, is is still new?

It seems that some sellers are not being honest ENOUGH about the conditions of items. I had this in another flavour with a seller from whom I wanted to buy. His listing said his items were refurbished and tended to have some cosmetic damage, but were working fine. His listing said that the photo he was showing of the item may NOT be the item I’m buying. I emailed him and asked him to show me a photo of the exact items he could sell me so I could see how much damage they had. He replied that he doesn’t have time to take pictures of every item he has, and I’d just have to assume that the damage is minimal.

No thanks! Let’s not assume! I had to weigh the savings on that item against the potential for disappointment because I would be assuming "minimal cosmetic damage."

Hey eBay sellers. Hands up… how many of you want your shoppers coming up with their own ideas and expectations about the condition of your item? Few of you I’m sure since you know the shopper will imagine it to be better than it might be. Then they get disappointed, and feedback and DSRs go down. Meanwhile, you’re thinking that the shopper is a jerk since you said it has some cosmetic damage, and didn’t the shopper know that. Yes, we knew that, but HOW MUCH, we did not know. So you left us to imagine, and we imagined. Then we saw it, and found that you and I don’t have the same definition of "minimal."

Imagine going to a retail store and buying something, but the clerk tells you that the one you get may or may not look like the one you picked out. Would you still complete that transaction? Would you shop there again?

Why leave these up to chance? Why leave the shopper to guess and imagine? You could be doing a much better job. No matter what changes eBay makes, you could probably be doing a much better job communicating item conditions and policies.

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Categories: That's Bad Marketing

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