eBay has been a part of day to day life for internet users for as long as just about anyone else. It survived the dotcom crash all those years ago and has seen numerous copycats and competitors come and go. Today, it ranks among the best ways to sell things without opening a shop or website, and while some of its market share has been eroded slightly by apps and sites with a local focus, it is still hugely relevant. Of course, if you have ambitions to sell more than one item on an account, feedback scores matter. They are the best way of measuring trust and quality, and it is no coincidence that feedback ratings underpin the entire businesses of some massive brands, such as TripAdvisor. Negative feedback can render an entire eBay account useless if they do not have enough positive reviews to drown it out, so it is best to avoid it altogether. The following 10 tips will assist sellers large and small with cutting out the negatives, ensuring that your account remains in a great position to make sales.
1. Create a Returns Policy
The chances are that once you have sold and shipped an item, you do not want it back. However, returns policies are essential to eBay sales. They build confidence in the sales process when people see it on the listing, while also providing a shield against the negative feedback. Buyers know that slating their seller in a review will not necessarily get their money refunded or their product replaced, and they will not leave feedback while the return is ongoing. In effect, the returns policy gives you a chance to put things right if something happens to go wrong, without anything being displayed publicly.
2. Add a Personal Touch to Packages
Even just a quick note in the package you send can let the buyer know that you are a real person that wants to meet their needs rather than a faceless organisation. Drop a slip in the box thanking them for their purchase and telling them what to do in the event of any issues – and by no means give ‘leave negative feedback’ as an option!
3. Be Clear about the Product and any Imperfections in the Listing
There are fewer bigger causes of negative feedback than the buyer not receiving what they were expecting, so be clear on what they are getting for their money. Look at each item you sell and ask whether there is anything that would disappoint you if you received it. This could be scuffs, cracks or missing parts. Ideally, this will all be clear in the product photos. Anything that is not should be mentioned in the listing to avoid any confusion.
4. Take Time to List What’s in the Box
As above, buyers want to receive what they expect, so it is best to avoid any ambiguity. Use the listing to clearly document everything that comes with the product, especially anything that does not make its way into the pictures, then ensure that it all arrives in good order.
5. Negative Feedback Works both Ways
If a buyer is unresponsive or refuses to pay, sellers are always advised to make a report so that they can freely relist their item and claim back any unpaid fees. There is always the concern that the buyer’s response will be negative feedback, but it is possible to get this removed if it turns out that the transaction effectively never took place.
6. Monitor Your Listings
If you are a high-volume seller, it can be difficult to watch every listing to see who is bidding and how the price is trending. However, if you can find the time, it is worth vetting bidders and buyers before the transaction is completed. If you are particularly concerned with a transaction going smoothly, it can be worth filtering out those with low or bad feedback so as not to invite such behaviour going forward.
7. Use the Blocked Bidder List
As well as cancelling bids that you do not like the look of, it can be worth getting into the habit of blocking these declined bidders at the same time. Those users will be unable to bid on your other listings with the same account, and this will protect you from attempts at ‘revenge feedback’ going forward.
8. Ensure Your Item is Worth the Money
We return to managing expectations here, as we always want the buyer to feel like they got a good deal. If they feel that they came out of a transaction even or ahead, positive feedback is all but guaranteed. Adopt a mindset where you feel that the best deals are those where both parties emerge with a smile, and you will be perfectly positioned to collect that positive feedback.
9. Make the Buyer’s Life Easier
Buyers love to be looked after, and it is worth making extensive use of the conveniences and tools afforded to eBay sellers as standard. If they have paid using PayPal, you can make use of PayPal’s shipping tools to automatically give out the shipping information. Buyers love this, as they prefer to know where their package is and when they can expect it. By automating it, they get everything they want from the transaction, and your time is freed up to handle other parts of the business.
10. Go Second when Leaving Feedback
It is a good idea to get into the habit of always being the second party in the deal to leave feedback. If delivery is completed and the ball is in the buyer’s court, your feedback rating is the only leverage you have if something goes wrong. This way, you will still have a trick up your sleeve for buyers that are waiting for their own feedback before leaving something negative, and a way to address any negative opinions that do happen to come your way.