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Tue June 18 2013 13:04:42

Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs

By: Julia Wilkinson

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As online sellers, we deal with a myriad of hassles and wear many hats. But sometimes it helps to take a step back and remember why you're doing this: to sell stuff to people. And hopefully, make them happy with the transaction. Yes, buyers can be annoying (we'll get to that on another day), but have you thought about what gets their goat? Ebayers were discussing this, but it would apply to any marketplace for the most part. You don't want to be guilty of any of these pet peeves of potential purchasers:

- Blurry, pixel-y, bad in any way photos: If a picture is worth a thousand words, don't make yours only a hundred. Also a big no-no: anything dirty, or even extraneous, in the photo. "Dirty surfaces/surroundings of any items....not buying," wrote one buyer. This also includes "Micro pictures, you know the thumbnail size-ones.." 

One problem today that an eBayer friend mentioned to me is more people are using pix taken with their cell phones to list with easy apps. Maybe it's easier for you, but that mediocre photo won't win you any friends...or sales. (Also, more and more think about how your photos or site look from mobile devices; check them out on your own).

- Inflated shipping fees. Buyers know what a reasonable price to ship something is. Don't shortchange yourself, but don't mark up that shipping beyond what it really costs or you'll get some skeptics. If you feel you need to charge handling, try to keep it low, but many buyers don't expect to pay for that unless it's a complicated, fragile item.

- Not being willing to combine shipping charges for multiple purchases. Another big one; I hear this a lot. But then, I don't know many sellers who aren't willing to do so. Also, it pays to be proactive and offer to combine shipping if a buyer indicates they may want to buy another of your items.

- Overly lengthy, negativity-laced item descriptions. We've all seen these. Often they are a result of a seller who has been burned in every way that's specified. But spelling out all these won't's and don't's may mean a buyer won't be buying from you.

- Overly blinged-out listing templates with lots of graphics and/or animation. "Loud, multi-multi colored, blinged-up listing templates with flashing or wiggling thingys are probably my main turnoff - I back button so fast I have to replace mice when the left click gets worn out," said one buyer.

- Not accepting returns. 'Nuff said.

- Waiting too long to tell a buyer the item is not available. That's a big no-no. It's happened to many of us sellers. But when it does happen, the buyer should be told pronto so they can find it elsewhere; it may be a birthday gift or other gift they may need asap. One eBayer said it took the seller nine days to tell them the item was not in stock...huh?

- Bad Spelling and grammar beyond the occasional typo. People are tolerant of a typo here and there. But bad spelling throughout a listing...even of the item's brand itself! - is too much, and simply not necessary with today's spell checkers.

- Crass or sexual overtones. "I won't buy from a guy in a weenie bikini modeling a shirt or huge breasted woman taking close up pics of her boobs and I can't even see the shirt," said one buyer.

- Slow question response time. Buyers may be gauging how on-the-ball you are overall by how quickly and professionally you answer that question.  "When it takes four or more days to respond to a simple question....not buying," one eBayer wrote on the discussion thread.

What are your biggest pet peeves as a buyer? Post a comment here!




Comments (53) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs   Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs

by: Grandma_Fish This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 18 16:20:20 2013

A "pet" peeve of mine is having cats or dogs photographed with the item, unless it's an item made specifically for pets. I don't want pet hair all over something I buy. Another one I think twice about is purchasing clothing or toys that the seller has laid on the floor or carpet to take a photos, especially if there's crud on the floor or the carpet is full of lint that you can clearly see in the photo. Icky!! I think the worst I've seen were some Littlest Pet Shop figures that were laid out and photographed on the sheets of the seller's unmade bed. As you can imagine, I passed on that purchase!

Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs   Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs

This user has validated their user name. by: juliawww

Tue Jun 18 16:21:33 2013

Hi Grandma Fish, Exactly! That's why I have a cat in the photo there..as an example of what not to do..lol.

Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs   Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Tue Jun 18 19:36:28 2013

Agree with just about everything listed. I would add music to the list (If I have not missed it). I don't like the slight pause for it to load. I don't like surprise blasts of sound. It may not be my taste.  Music on - I'm off!

I do however appreciate sound bytes that I can turn on or off at will to demonstrate how - say a doorbell or Tibetan singing bowl sounds.

The micro photos are really a peeve. I've recently backed away from some items for that very thing. And I really despise the bling'd out jumpy spastic templates.

No wonder buyers don't read some descriptions. They are enough to require meds after being subjected to them.

It would not bother me at all if eBay went to a uniform template.

Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs   Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Tue Jun 18 19:40:44 2013

This handsome little tiger has just blocked your IP number from receiving his internet radio show featuring tips on adopting humans.

You're also now his Blocked Buyer List.

Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs   Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Tue Jun 18 19:52:09 2013

LOL - Kitty probably has a blog, FB and Twitter following. AND is a double naught spy for the NSA.  

Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs   Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Jun 18 20:34:26 2013

I agree with most of what you said, but on the return policy, I feel that each seller should do as he/she sees fit.  Many clothing sellers have mentioned time after time that they feel like a clothing rental company.  This is a category where I do feel that sellers are taken advantage of.

Most sellers that have no-return policies will work with a buyer under certain circumstances, but a buyer should complain in a timely means and not wait six weeks to ask for a return.

Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs   Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Jun 19 03:12:29 2013

If a buyer knows the rules of Ebay, it doesn't matter if a seller states a no return policy or any return policy that is less that 45 days.  The buyer protection policy overrides anything that a seller could put in their listings.

The list is a good one.  Most if very logical if you think like a buyer when you are designing your listings.  With one exception.  I do not agree that most buyers can accurately spot inflated S&H.  

Just because they think it is to high doesn't mean it is.  Some have no idea how much it really costs, they just have a strong desire for it to be cheaper or their opinion is it should be cheaper and therefore ding the seller during the FB process.  It doesn't have to have any basis in reality.  And some even know it costs more than they would like it to but still blame the seller.

Sellers are frequently held personally responsible for what a carrier does or doesn't do.  Or for what they charge.  When as every seller out there knows we have zero control over this.

Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs   Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Wed Jun 19 03:21:26 2013

We LOVE KITTIES  :o)

Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs   Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Wed Jun 19 08:36:34 2013

No descriptions - duh!

The other minor point I look for, especially in the OOAK items are sufficient images IN the description area. Relying on eBay's Gallery images is dicey.

Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs   Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Wed Jun 19 08:37:08 2013

Beagles are better - just ask my cat.

Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs   Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs

This user has validated their user name. by: Nan

Wed Jun 19 09:09:39 2013

This may be odd, but I will not buy an easily damaged item from a listing that offers Free Shipping.

If I am going to get something flown across the country and dropped 10 feet on at least 2 separate occasions, I want it packed well so it arrives safely, and I don't mind paying a reasonable handling charge for it.

Another (related) turn-off for me is to read the following in seller terms:
"We are not responsible for damage to the item after it leaves our hands"  or words to that effect.  This tells me the seller may not bother to pack it well enough to withstand the rigors of the USPS.
And I know I can return it anyway, but who wants to go through all that?  I'd rather just receive it intact and undamaged in the first place.

Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs   Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Jun 19 09:16:52 2013

I don't agree at all about your refund statement. Not all of us are ebay sellers and aren't having refunds shoved down our throats. Refunds should be on a case by case basis.

Along with pets, don't include your kids in the photos unless they too are for sale.

I get upset and won't buy when things are photographed on the floor as well. Also sellers that use themselves as the 'model' to show off their wares. The last thing I would buy is an item that was 'modeled' crammed into someone's bare armpit. I brought this very thing to a seller's attention and they figured since models modeled items that way, they should be able to as well! ICK

Many buyers, especially international ones, have NO concept of what it actually costs to ship something. I had a buyer the other day try to tell me that what she bought could be shipped for less than half of what I charged. I begged to differ. By the time I had to account for the oversize Vogue pattern and the weight of the pattern, I had to subsidize the postage myself by over a dollar. If I could have sent it cheaper, I sure would have!

Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs   Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs

by: Shawn This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 19 09:19:02 2013

Pictures, pictures, pictures! All of my biggest complaints are about pictures -- too small, too blurry or not enough of them.

Next would be insufficient descriptions. There are people who don't seem to understand that a cracked piece of pottery is worth less than an intact piece of pottery.

The other issues are red flags, but as a buyer, ebay will cover the purchase if it's not as described, so I'm willing to take risks.  

Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs   Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 19 09:30:35 2013

Turn off is when the picture is a different model than what the title states. Last week questioned seller re this matter. Answer: This is what ebay recommended.  

Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs   Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs

by: auctionguy This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 19 09:38:22 2013

Many buyers don't have a clue as to what it costs to ship something. If I charge the actual shipping cost, I lose money because of boxes, packing peanuts, bubble wrap, insurance, signature costs on higher-priced items, and the ebay and paypal fees on the shipping cost. Yet the buyers don't realize that a $8.00 USPS fee (that they think should be $3.00) costs the seller $11.00, and if you add a $3.00 handling fee, the buyer thinks they are getting gouged. Sure, it's nice to get used boxes and packing materials, or use the free Priority Mail boxes if available in the right size, but these don't always work out. Yet amazon ships many items for free, and the ebay buyers want new items at 60% to 70% of the amazon price, but still don't want to pay for shipping.

I once posted on one of these blogs about adding a handling charge, and I got accused of ''charging like a lawyer.'' What lawyer will work for 1/2 hour packaging an item and charge a $3.00 handling fee and have $4.00 in expenses related to packaging (insurance, ebay fee, box, bubble wrap, tape)? What lawyer will work for 1/2 hour for a loss??? Yes, it does take 1/2 hour or more to properly pack and ship some of of the items I sell. We don't all sell $3.99 fake leather cell phone cases (and call them leather) that take 2 minutes to throw in a bubble mailer and print a label to slap on the bag.

Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs   Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs

by: auctionguy This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 19 09:45:50 2013

When I have an item that is light enough that the shipping cost is low and the same to ship anywhere in the country, I might pad the price with the shipping cost and sell it with ''free shipping.'' When I do, I check the box to show the shipping cost on the label, so the buyer might see it and realize that free shipping really isn't free. Funny thing is when I list something on ebay, there is a box to check for free shipping. When I ship it, though, there isn't such a box.

Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs   Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs

by: Shellyrae37 This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Jun 19 10:09:36 2013

I recently sold a couple pairs of shoes, both weighed the same packed. One pair went to Indiana for 7.15 and the other pair to Washington State for 10.88.  The buyer from Wash. wrote and said she was shocked at the price of shipping, First time buyer on ebay. I explained to her that shipping from east coast, to west coast cost more, and explained about the other pair of shoes then she seemed to be ok with it.. But Shipping is a big factor and people have to realize that when they bid..I offered her the 1.37 refund she over paid..  

Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs   Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs

by: Just Plain Irritated This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 19 10:29:02 2013

An eBay Seller Outreach trainer said the photos inside the description are preventing mobile phone users from seeing the description.  

They said we should take all photos OUT of the description, since 20% of buyers use mobile phones, with that number growing fast.

Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs   Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs

by: out-of-the-attic-2u This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Jun 19 10:54:30 2013

I don't like when they model anything on their own bodies or models pertaining to feet and certain body jewelry. Its just a biggie for me.

Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs   Avoiding the 10 Biggest Buyer Turnoffs

by: Shawn This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 19 11:08:25 2013

I have another one and it's not on the list. It's an absolute no for me -- ridiculously priced items.

I buy vintage/antique collectibles with no book values. As ebay has turned toward BINs, people often don't know how to price these kinds of items. As a collector who has been watching the same stuff for years, I know a ballpark on most things, and most of them aren't especially valuable. No matter how much a seller might wish it, a $50 item will not sell for $400. I see that ALL the time now.

As an avid collector, I have paid top dollar and then some to get a special item. But no way would I or any of my collector friends pay $400 for a $50 item.

Recently, a newbie listed a damaged tea set for $500. He'd be lucky to get $50. We talked about it in a collectors forum, and I contacted him and suggested he look at some comparables. He said he priced the set that way because another similar set was priced that way. But he didn't know that that set has been listed for 2-3 years.

Sellers get touchy when I talk about this because they can't believe that a mere buyer might understand the value of stuff, but they aren't doing themselves any favors by listing at dream prices.

Btw, the noob with the broken tea set is down to $80. It's been many months, and it still is listed.

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