It’s been over a year since DSRs raised their head on the eBay landscape, and I have to admit to start with I treated them with pretty much the healthy contempt I treated feedback with.
I never used to look at my feedback, and remember with horror the morning I woke up to a message on the PowerSeller board saying “Sorry to see you got negged”. It wasn’t so much that I’d got a neg that caught me off guard (and yes it was undeserved 😛 ), it was more the fact that someone else noticed before I did.
There really wasn’t much cause to look at feedback in those days, so I never did. Taking the attitude that if I gave customers great service feedback would look after itself it was one of the least referenced pages of my eBay real estate.
DSRs didn’t make much difference either. Sure eBay were banging on about how they would become relevant in the future but mine were ok, or so I thought.
Then one day eBay introduced seller discounts and the possibility that competitors could be advantaged in search compared to me. Overnight DSRs and feedback had became very important.
My DSRs weren’t that bad though, but what gave me a jolt was that my Postage and Packing DSR was 4.6, any lower and I wouldn’t qualify for seller discounts.
I immediately set about examining how I worked, with the sole aim of improving my P&P DSR without impacting any of the others which have consistently been in the 4.8-4.9 range.
The big question is “Was I one of the fee avoiding postage gouging baddies”, and in truth I have to admit that I was. Certainly I’d never considered myself in that light, and to this day my postage costs are higher than many competitors due to two factors: Everything I ship goes on a priority tracked service and that costs, and I’m VAT registered so have to charge VAT in addition to the basic packing and shipping costs.
That aside I always rounded postage up to the nearest Â£1 for Royal Mail items, and for courier items the heavier the item the more I charged, even though I was invoiced a flat rate up to 30kg. I figured that buyers would be more than willing to pay a higher price to have a 25kg printer delivered than they would a 2kg docking station. Plus in truth on a lot of items I simply guesstimated the cost with a healthy margin of error – pure laziness on my part.
Ruthlessly I went about cutting postage, on the heaviest items by as much as 25% and it’s paid dividends. Some items I have switched to cost effective Royal Mail, instead of shipping via more expensive couriers, but that’s been a slow process as next day delivery is not guaranteed – Protecting my dispatch DSR was a priority and buyers don’t rate sellers on how quickly they ship, simply on how long it takes the parcel to arrive.
As a result of the changes my P&P DSR has risen from 4.6 to 4.8 with my other three ratings all remaining at 4.9. One of the most useful tools has been the Seller Dashboard (even though it was the lite version), as it enabled me to monitor changes over a short period of time. A change in postage prices could be seen in DSR ratings within about two weeks of making the change.
So what does this mean for me, and what does it mean to eBay? Well in truth I have to say that DSRs have made me a better seller, or at least have made me act like a better seller. Whilst profits are down very slightly it’s not much, I’ve simply lumped the difference onto the selling price and the difference in fees is more than covered by Seller Discounts.
My aim now will be to further increase my P&P DSR from 4.8 to 4.9, again without impacting my other DSRs. Whilst there may not be any immediate benefit, when Best Match fully rolls out in the UK those with the highest DSR scores will benefit most.