eBay Tips 2008: Customer Focused Listings

No primary category set

For many sellers, listings are rather like the human genome. The template code resembles the full DNA sequence. It’s been tweaked and added to over time. A one-off problem occurs, so the seller adds a caveat or note to their listings. In the same way that we humans still have the DNA (I imagine) to develop gills or grow tails, lots of listings have extraneous details. It’s time to trim down.

To get a sense of just how long an eBay View Item page is, print one of yours out. It’s astonishing. Obviously, much of this is compulsory content from eBay, but you might be adding to sprawl.

Keep it Short

The one thing that most sellers know is that many buyers don’t spend a great deal of time reading listings. So make it easy for them. Key information can often be digested into bullet points or short, pithy sentences. Rambling paragraphs are a turn-off. Use bold and caps for emphasis.

Clearly Works

Clean, crisp, uncluttered templates and designs work. Garish wallpaper, zany text colours on bright backgrounds are distracting and potentially impossible for people with visibility issues to read. Stick to dark text on light backgrounds. And absolutely no bloody wizards tracking the cursor around the screen.

Be Friendly

Exhaustive Ts and Cs might make you feel better but they also serve to make you look slightly paranoid and unfriendly. It’s always possible to cut them down and DO check the tone. You may have had a bad experience with a tricky buyer 18 months ago, but your new customers don’t need to know about.

Tomorrow: Returns Policy

Visit Dan at wilsondan.co.uk.

18 Responses

  1. T&C’s can be boxed off and driven to the bottom of the listings.

    AKA small print methodology.

    Definitely NOT in the auction description.


  2. It shocks me how short my French listings are compared to my English ones – because I have to think about it in French, whereas in English I just type it. Time for a trim, methinks.

    re. T&Cs – surely this is what custom shop pages are for. Only the very essential should be in the auction description (or boxed off at the bottom, as Mark says). The rest should be linked.

  3. I don’t agree with linked T&Cs. They can be too easily changed by unscrupulous sellers in the event of a dispute.

  4. The best T’s and C’s are from one of the most respected PowerSellers and in fact the longest serving UK powerseller of the lot who’s been in the business for over 10 years.

    He says “And there’s nothing ambiguous about my terms and conditions. There can’t be — I haven’t got any. They pay, I send. It’s as simple at that.

    Having said that a few T’s and C’s don’t go amiss but less is definately more 🙂

  5. I liken the number of T&C’s contained in an ebay listing to the number of rings in a tree trunk, you probably get a 1 extra T&C for every month that the seller should have given up selling!

    As you may know we used to have a coffee shop and we could always tell if the owner of another coffee shop/cafe had been in the trade too long. Usually by the number of not so polite notices displayed around the premises. I remember one cafe down in Clevedon who had written a whole blackboard full of of rules about how you weren’t allowed to substitute a sausage for an egg, or Bacon for Toast etc on its breakfast menu, it was hilarious and if re-confirmed to us that notices, unless highlighting a benefit to a customer, helping to trade up the purchase or a legal requirement was just not worth it. The VAST majority of transactions are painless and enjoyable, don’t inflict “your stuff” onto all the paying customers, they will get the message and move on to a simpler more comfortable supplier!

  6. Jade, that’s hilarious! You remind me of my own favourite notice, in a gift/touristy shop which had a huge rack of postcards, topped with the notice “we do not sell stamps”. I mean, if you get asked for stamps so often that you have to put up a notice about it, surely you should be stocking stamps?!

  7. I have only two conditions

    they pay to get it, if they dont like it, they pay to send it back

  8. Seems reasonable North. Do you risk a neg if they insist that you cover the cost of the return P&P? Or do you cave in?

  9. if they dont like it, they pay to send it back

    This is a general comment rather than being aimed at North, but to be legal (under the Distance Selling Regulations), the above has to be explicitly stated somewhere that buyers can read it before purchase. *That’s* the point of T&Cs.

  10. I state it quite clearly in the returns policy box, ,


    if its damaged or described incorrectly we dont argue we pay costs both ways, if its simply because its not what they wanted they pay,## if we are threatened with a negative, all bets are off we leave a negative and shut the door

  11. Hi North, I totally agree with your policy by the way. I wasn’t trying to play devils advocate. I think it’s only fair that if someone “changes” their mind then they have to at least cover some of out of pocket expenses i.e. postage. Do you charge them a re-stocking fee? I’ve seen some sellers state in their T&C’s that they do this and I think it would be interesting to know how that went down!

  12. I don’t think I would charge a re-stocking fee, I would probably draw the line at asking them to cover P&P. Unless like North said it was SNAD or Faulty.

  13. My T&Cs state that I charge a restocking fee, because I sell fabric, which once cut, becomes a remnant, and will not fetch the full price. It comes under “custom goods” in the DSR, and legally, I don’t have to accept a return for a change of mind, but I do.

    If it’s faulty, then I pay all expenses.

  14. there ya go circumstances alter cases,
    seems quite reasonable to charge if you have cut from from a roll etc



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