The latest edition of the “Power Up” newsletter is causing more than a little controversy. (Power Up is the eBay.com equivalent of the PowerSeller News Letter).
It carries an article on “Sourcing for Profitability” where it suggests “When sourcing at retail, check the return policy before you buy. If items are returnable, you can always return the inventory if you find it doesn’t sell at a good profit.”
I’m not sure just why eBay would give this advice in the current climate of retailers scrutinising eBay. This advice is clearly aimed a new sellers looking for an easy route to market but checking return policies and “borrowing” stock from retailers will do nothing to endear eBay to the high street.
In recent news stories many brand names and designers are vigorously protecting their image and restricting eBay sales. Auctionbytes reported that Williams-Sonoma’s Pottery Barn Outlets banned eBay sellers from purchasing in their stores. LancÃ´me are suing several eBay sellers (and eBay) for selling US product in the EU.
A thread on the US PowerSeller board [log in required] points to Vera Bradley a designer of handbags, luggage and accessories. They state specifically on their about me page that purchases made outside their retail outlets are not for “new” products. Anyone reselling their products on eBay should describe them as used or “secondary market” products.
Of course avoiding the wrath of brand owners by reselling their products on eBay isn’t the only issue sellers have to face. Some sellers will find they’re unable to actually list designer products on eBay due to trust and safety trading limitations.
It’s unsurprising retailers take a strong stance against eBay sellers. They not only perceive their brand to be diluted but now eBay are suggesting using them for sale or return stock!
In the same news letter eBay have a “Keys to Success” section pointing to a profile on Seller Central. Selling adverts from magazines they state “Primarily we list in the Toy category because that’s where people are looking, but we make it clear that we are selling the ads not the toys. We don’t want people to be angry and disappointed.“