|Sat Aug 18 2012 17:37:58|
Online Food Buying and Selling: What Icky Things Concern You?
By: Julia Wilkinson
At a barbeque some years ago, I was talking to a neighbor as she popped one of the brownies I brought to the party in her mouth. "Mmm...these are good," she said.
"Thanks," I replied. "I used the Barefoot Contessa brownie mix." And then my mouth just had to keep moving: "I got it on eBay."
Her eyes bulged and her face twisted, and she said out of the corner of her mouth, "I wish you hadn't told me that."
Her reaction surprised me. I hadn't worried much about the issue of buying or even selling food, beverage, or even cosmetics online until talking with online beverage seller and food industry professional Lynn, http://www.worldtradersonline.com, who is interviewed in today's EcommerceBytes Update newsletter. It was eye-opening for me as both a buyer and a seller. I generally don't sell food or consumables, but I have sold makeup in the past. Now I am going to think a lot longer and harder before selling or reselling anything in the food, beverage, cosmetics, or other such categories.
Some of Lynn's concerns are about the packaging and potential safety hazards she's witnessed other sellers risking online, such as using packaging that is not appropriate for the product. An example of this was the use of small plastic ziploc bags for tea, which causes leaching.
Another concern of hers has to do with the recommended 14-day return policy on eBay. She feels as a seller of a food/beverage item, the emphasis on this affects her negatively. eBay points out that sellers aren't forced to accept returns, and they can pick and choose which of their products they will accept returns for, and still retain their Top-Rated seller status. But, Lynn says that not offering this wide return window pushes her so far down in the search results on eBay, it has become a venue not much worth it for her.
What concerns do you have as either a buyer or seller of food, beverage, cosmetics, and the like? Have you seen downright "icky" presentations, such as a family pet standing on the product in the photo? If you're a seller, have you researched any FDA guidelines on the handling or selling of your product, so you'll be protected should you be inspected? Or do you feel the questionable practices of other sellers impact you negatively? Do you feel not accepting 14-day returns hurts your sales? Post a comment here!