Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of
Thu Feb 28 2013 20:31:13

One Size Does Not Fit All in Ecommerce

By: Ina Steiner

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Custom fit, or bespoke clothing, is the latest way companies are trying to stand out in the crowded field of online apparel stores. Daily deals, flash sales and curation continue to be popular ways to get shoppers' attention - and then came along the subscription shopping model.

Now, entrepreneurs are telling shoppers they can get a custom fit in clothing just by providing information on size, shape and preferences, and custom is catching on. helps women shop online for bras and promises a better fit than they get when trying them on in a department store fitting room by using an algorithm that relies on information collected through an online quiz. takes a similar approach to men's shirts - "Get bespoke, tailored fit in 3 minutes with 10 questions."

These days, buyers are willing to wait for sellers to customize or personalize products. Shoppers are paying with methods that promise buyer protection, unlike the early days of ecommerce where buyers mailed checks and money orders and anxiously waited for their order to arrive.

Yet marketplaces like eBay are rating sellers based on fast handling times. Etsy sellers fear it too is headed in that direction with its new seller rating metrics, called Customer Service Stats.

Handling Time Performance Metrics
eBay displays DSR "shipping time" feedback and advises buyers to "rate the seller only on the time it took to mail the item, not the time it took you to receive the item." eBay's first mistake, by the way, was naming it shipping time instead of handling time.

Because of the power buyers wield with DSRs, sellers must think long and hard before offering custom or personalized goods that could slow down their handling time.

With Etsy's brand new handling time metric (called processing time), the marketplace seems more interested in getting sellers to specify processing time in their listings and then meet that processing time rather than worrying about how long the processing time actually is - a hopeful sign.

Customized or personalized goods is an area in which Etsy excels thanks to the handmade culture on which it thrives. Sellers will be keeping a very close eye on the new Customer Service Stats to see if Etsy keeps its promise of keeping those stats hidden from buyers and not using them as a factor in search results rankings.

Just like the latest websites offering bespoke clothing that are becoming popular with shoppers, sellers know that one size does not fit all, even when it comes to customer service metrics.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Sandymenu

Thu Feb 28 21:37:22 2013

Who's etsy? LOL...The next newest site about to earn a second laugh by both their sellers.

I too just noticed today the new ''cust svcs'' link and found it to be identical to ebay on the front ready to BBQ their members this hot summer.

etsy members and sellers that are really NOT selling a thing there for months end are also getting into the action by starting to abuse this new ''Response Time to Buyer Convos'' asking a question from something already listed within the description.


etsy does show number of items SOLD within the seller profile page. A member (that has not sold a thing) arrives and will ask a dumb question and if seller is not online within 24-72 hours can easily be rated by etsy as communications not met.

etsy also admitted (within your other blog) that they're testing the waters with this new format.

And, so?

They also ask STUPID (really...its so stupid you have to laugh creasing all your menus) by asking something so dumb about your item.

Example: does the hinges on that purse give off a squeaky sound or does it rock in silence''...

That to me is a test of your response and timing involved.

I may need to have my menus (laminated) to keep from getting stained each time I spit from laughter.

Please entertain us etsy. Please!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Sandymenu

Thu Feb 28 21:42:22 2013

PS: About the One Size Fits All'' within your blog:

Just say ''fits most ALL'' and this will override any language within a payment server dispute.

Reminds me of something someone said that sold ladies shoes:

''There are women that still think they wear a size 4 shoe when they're really a 9''

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by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 1 01:55:48 2013

Did ebay blundered with the term SHIPPING TIME?   From the onset, we all complained it is misleading.  Why did ebay ignored sellers' complaints.  Did they do it on purpose to manipulate the DSR and keep sellers jumping the hoops?  ebay kept sellers on the borderline ALL the time so that they could trip them and penalize them on ebay's time of choosing.  Do you agree?  We need to vote on this.  I very much doubt EVERY single ebay management has very poor vocabulary to differentiate the ambiguous term "Shipping Time" to more distinct term "Handling Time".
What is ebay ulterior motives?

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by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 1 11:31:02 2013

I find it almost hysterical who posts on a "general" ecommerce topic like this one vs one with the evil EBAY word in the title.

Where are Ming and RIC and PHIL???

As far as the "Ulterior Motives" at ebay @ POWERSELLER2007---it is to rein in the sales that ebay has to actually LOSE money on  (as they see it) with that pesky 20% discount.

As to the other motives they desperatly want to get ALL "small sellers" and AUCTIONS off the site;  have everyone have perfectly innocuous pics on a plain white background---even if it is a WHITE item!!!--and remove any TRACE of  "personality" from the site.  

The NOISE and the CLUTTER as it were.

And yes ebay very deliberatly used the word SHIPPING and NOT "handling time" or any other more accurate measure of processing time.

I have not sold on ETSY and find their search incomprehensible but I do read about them and have looked at some things and I DO fear they are Copy-Catting ebay in a VERY BAD WAY.

Does ETSY too desire to try and be AMAZON?    What IS it with these site managers that cannot be CONTENT with the formula that actually produces SALES and REVENUE????

Isn't the very PREMISE of ETSY handmade or custom made items that by there very NATURE take TIME to PRODUCE?  

How is it equitable to RATE a seller on their production time when items might need to have time in say an annealing oven and careful cooling (for glass items) or might need a day or so between process steps for materials to work properly?  These sellers are NOT going to be able to grab an item off the shelf and ram it into a box and have it in the mailstream within 15 minutes.  Nope.  So the very people who BUILT ETSY are----like the small sellers on ebay---going to be the MOST negatively impacted.  

Talk about killing the Golden Goose.  

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

Fri Mar 1 19:45:30 2013


I do comment frequently about general topics as well sales venues other than ebafia.

Obviously you haven't been paying attention.

Whenever major venture capital and/or stock options are involved in these venues, the MBAs who run them will copy the big boys whether it's appropriate for their customers or not.

Once stock has either been distributed or soon will be or venture capital must be repaid, management operates in their own interests not necessarily in the interests of their customers.

You need to carefully and objectively review why and how Negged Meg Whitman created an unsustainable revenue stream and why and how The Ho alienated more than half ebafia's active user base within one year and what happened as a result.

If you really studied and understood the ebafia economics, you wouldn't be so inclined to so irrationally defend this evil entity.

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by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 11 04:50:52 2013

Somebody wrote about a economics scholar who described a companies behavior through its growth, to its peak and what these corps did/ how they behaved and the steps to the end of the corp and ebay is smack in the middle of the downtrend. I lost that but it really showed/illustrated the downfall of big businesses- they are making well-known textbook mistakes but they don't care, it is a stock option money machine and nothing more.
MH- I guess I am an entre-manure!

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