If you’re new eBay seller just starting out, building up a good feedback record is important.
It’s great for your own confidence, of course, but it’s mainly about the buyers. Few buyers feel as confident when buying an item from a seller with 1 or 2 feedback points as they do from the seller with thousands of points and the shooting star.
Good feedback doesn’t come automatically, though. As eBay has developed, many buyers seem to forget that there’s an independent seller on the other end. They might feel they don’t owe you feedback at all. After all, they have to take time out of their day to do it.
The secret to encouraging a buyer to go out of their way to leave you good feedback today is to earn it by making them feel that you went out of your way for them. And this doesn’t necessarly mean you have to bend over backwards. As is true for business in general, it’s about simple expectation management. Otherwise known as:
Under Promise and Over Deliver
eBay today will encourage sellers to set the buyer’s expectations high. It’s built in to the system. Offer free postage, offer a one-day dispatch time, use an express delivery service, and so on and so forth – and the site will prioritise your listings in the “Best Match” order. (Which is a nice bonus, not saying it isn’t.)
The flip side of this is that as a seller it leaves you open to disappointing a buyer, for example through no fault of your own such as a courier delay. If you’re just starting out as a seller, one piece of bad feedback early on does some real damage.
We should remember that many if not most buyers are looking for the most competitively priced items, not the most competitively delivered items. Price sensibly, and your items should have no problems selling. With that in mind, let’s talk minimising the chances of disappointing a buyer and instead, leaving yourself some room to actually impress them.
- Set a 3 day dispatch time, and dispatch it in 1.
- There are two good reasons for this. Firstly, almost any buyer who expects to receive an item in 5 days and receives it in 2 will be delighted. This is how you receive “very fast delivery!” type feedback. Secondly, promising 1 day dispatch leaves your buyers open to disappointment when a delay occurs beyond your control, and this approach leaves you some wriggle room.
- Offer an economy delivery service, and use a faster one.
- If it makes economic sense to use a standard delivery option after offering economy, you should do it for the same reason as the point about dispatch time. In the UK, this can mean stating 2nd Class Royal Mail and using 1st Class instead. It costs a few pence more, but many buyers will be delighted to realise that you upgraded to get it to them a day earlier, and will say so in their feedback.
- Understate the condition of your items.
- Firstly, you should always do this to protect yourself against “not as described” complaints. A lot of new sellers don’t understand this, but the condition description drop-down box is not inviting your personal opinion. There are clear guidelines that you should not fall foul of. That said, the rules are that you can’t overstate an item’s condition. They don’t say anything about understating. Is your item Like New? List it as Very Good. Is your item Brand New? List it as Like New. You can very easily exceed a buyer’s expectations this way, and you’ll get comments about your items being great condition in your feedback.
- Throw in a freebie.
- This one’s a bit more subjective, but depending on what you’re selling, this could be a low-value game included with a games console, a charging cable or case with a phone, or even some candy (Overclockers.co.uk do this and people love it). I once listed a Playstation console and padded the box with extra strength shopping bags I had spare, being out of bubble wrap. The feedback I received? “Great item, and thanks for the bags!”. It wasn’t even the motive, but really, everyone likes something for nothing.
- Sign a thank you note.
- If you’re starting out, chances are you’re relatively low volume and can spare the 10 seconds out of your day per item. Also, we’re hoping the buyer will take 10 seconds of theirs too, right? So print a packing slip, and then grab a pen and sign it. “Thanks, (buyer’s name)!” will suffice. In a world of faceless online retail, establishing a personal connection can be all it takes to initiate positive feedback. I remember when a seller first did it for me, and I’ve passed it on whenever I’ve sold anything since.
Then here’s the trick – once you’re built up on feedback and comfortable that you can deliver an excellent service to a high standard, you should have no problem meeting those requirements once you decide to start promising them.