EcommerceBytes Soundoff: Letters to the Editor - January 5, 2014
By Ina Steiner
In every issue, readers soundoff about issues important to them. From shipping issues to payment processing, from fees to online marketplace policies, EcommerceBytes Soundoff gives you a chance to air your views.
Take a look at what others are saying about eBay's Kentucky shipping facility on the eBay discussion boards.
It has been such a nightmare for me that frankly, I'm too pissed off and emotionally drained to write about it. NEVER AGAIN, will I use the International Shipping ripoff.
I am in the middle of a testing "promotion" on my business page. The one conclusion I have come to is that the majority of Facebook users do not understand the differential between "Personal Timelines", a "Business Page", and a "Fan Page".
I have a competition running with clear instructions, and a link to click on that says you have to "enter" on my Facebook Business Page. And, when they get there, the entry place is very very clear.
They are "Liking" everything "but" - in Groups, in my personal Timeline, on my webage. You name it, they are landing, for the most part - everywhere "but".
Has anyone ever done a survey to test just how much "users" of Facebook understand the platform they are working on?
Wow eBay is very strange the past week. We have been selling on eBay since 1997 and are Top Rated Powersellers. Our DSRs are all 5.0 except for one which is 4.9.
Usually we sell between 15-25 items per day. Lately this has decreased to 2-3 items per day with a whole large main category of items not selling suddenly. This has NEVER happened. It is literally like the new search is turning us "off" and "on."
What is even more strange is the items that we sell seem to be sold to people living only in Indiana and Pennsylvania! Has anyone else seen this happen as far as the geography of sellers?
When I call eBay and politely ask them they look up our sales and agree they have plummeted but make up strange excuses.
Thanks for your blog, I visit every day.
Note from the editor: See, eBay Sellers Theorize on Reasons for Low Sales (October 15, 2013).
Ruby Lane just had a Red Tag Sale in November, now they decided to run another one on December 14th, and yet another in January. Sellers are upset - RL doesn't seem to actually care what we think!
I'm in touch with quite a few shop owners. Every single one of the shop owners said they'd answered the "survey" by RL with a resounding "NO" when asked if we wanted another 50% off Red Tag Sale on December 14th.
A few hours after the email from RL that had the "survey" in it, they announced that they were going to have the sale. And another one in January, which is traditionally a good time for sellers, because people are not so preoccupied with the holidays and tend to shop for themselves, especially with "Christmas money". It's highly doubtful that they actually tallied their "survey" - if in fact it was even looked at.
RL is hurting the sellers by having these sales so often - makes it look like we have prices that are too high and therefore can offer a 50% discount on our items! Yet, they claim that they are trying to attract high-end buyers and they showcase high-end items in their newsletters to buyers. Schizophrenic! Just what the heck IS their long term objective?
Having those sales cheapens the site and keeps buyers from making purchases - they wait for sales! Very, very disconcerting for sellers!
After many year of shipping overseas, in January 2013 we stopped. Our decision was based on many factors, the forms to fill out, the hassle of having to go to the post office when shipping to certain countries, the large increase in the cost of postage, etc.
The largest factor in our decision was the results of an analysis we did. 30% of our overseas orders in 2012 had issues. The item was late in being delivered, or lost, or damaged, the buyer claimed the item was not as described, etc. In each case the buyer opened a PayPal claim and in most cases PayPal granted the claim. The cost of shipping was also refunded to the buyer.
Two months ago we signed up for the Global Shipping Program. We have had 61 orders and overall are happy with the program. We have also had several issues. I would like to relate 2 of them to you and your readers.
1) A buyer in Russia opened a PayPal case because the item was late in being delivered. PayPal granted the buyer's claim, HOWEVER, PayPal funded it themselves. This was a $2XX sale.
2) A buyer in Canada claimed the package arrived and the box was empty. We presented our evidence, the weight of the package, the postage was purchased directly from PayPal, and explained that this was a global shipping sale. PayPal granted the buyer's claim and made us fund it. HOWEVER, we were not responsible for the cost of shipping overseas. This was a $2XX sale.
We are curious if anyone else has experience with the Global Shipping Program and any issues. Particularly, a buyer claiming the box arrived empty and what was the result of the claim.
I have noticed two timing problems with eBay notifications and actions in the past few months. I sell on my own site and only use eBay to find new customers or to move items that have languished too long. I like to list items on Thursdays for a three-day auction to end late afternoon on Sunday - giving people on the West Coast who don't use a sniping service time to bid while they are awake.
To this end, I choose to create my listings on Thursday mornings, but schedule them to start at 1:00 p.m. PST. Lately I see that only a few of them actually start at that time and many do not start until Friday morning. Consequently I lose a whole day of exposure.
The emails I get when a listing starts are erratic - probably only half my listings. This past week when listings did not start as scheduled, I manually changed the start time to immediately.
The second item is getting messages through the eBay system. Just this week while checking activity I saw that there was a message from another eBay member. I responded to this immediately. Then the next day (!) I actually received the message from eBay that there was an inquiry. This was well after I had answered it. This kind of timing does not lead to a good buyer experience.
On my own web site, I get my inquiries instantly and can respond in a timely manner.
What do you think is going on with them? Surely all these scheduled listings and messages are automated and not dependent on someone actually paying attention?
Thanks for all that you do,
I see that you have covered eBay and anti-trust issues in the past. A closer look at these lawsuits and you see a pattern that formed that is concerning. eBay has consistently violated confidentiality agreements and patents to improve their product/revenues and then use the capital from these improvements to lawyer out the competition/patent owner.
eBay then pleaded before the Supreme Court that to deny them access to this technology would be harmful to the public. eBay should not be too big to fail.
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About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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