What are your business plans for 2011?

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We’re midway through January coming up to the first Top Rated Seller assessment of the year, and in the next few weeks it’s expected that eBay will announce the first Seller Update of 2011. It’s also the time of year that sellers will have been implementing changes to their business for the year ahead and ramping up sales again after the Christmas holiday period.

What shape is your business in, are you going to make Top Rated Seller at the next assessment or did the weather scupper your Detailed Seller Ratings? Have you made any changes to your business this year? Are you implementing new software, changing your stock profile, adding new marketplaces, websites, shopping comparison engines or paid search to your arsenal?

Finally what changes do you expect eBay to make in the Seller Update? What would you like to see them do and what changes do you fear that they may make which would not benefit your own business?

32 Responses

  1. We will be leaving eBay in 2011 never to return.

    It’s only a guess but I would suggest the new seller update will be particularly harsh on thousands of good sellers, I don’t see over the last year that the public’s perception of eBay has improved in fact I would expect eBay’s NPS to be even worse than in 2009, in my opinion the blame lies firmly at the door of the person/s responsible for outlets, sure there are some great outlets, I’ve bought from them but most of them sell cheap nasty tat that they couldn’t shift in the shops so they dump all the crap they don’t want on eBay, deal of the day now targets pond life, every other day it’s some nasty hoodie or a cheap pair of sweat pants, if that is your target market eBay then good luck to you, we want nothing to do with it.

  2. eBay will want to do things that reduces their admin costs.

    I would guess that they get more phone calls or admin from sellers in relation to feedback than anything else.

    If the feedback system was common sense and fair then admin in this area would fall.

    From a buyers perspective I would guess that eBay get most phone calls or admin from buyers who are disatisfied with the performance of a seller.

    eBay know which catagories cause most of their grief.

    eBay should introduce catagory specific seller updates and performance standards. Tighten up in those areas that cause eBay grief and give those areas that run themselves some slack.

  3. In terms of a business plan pretty much carry on as normal, don’t allow myself to get stressed over the foibles of eBay systems, performance ratings and eBay buyers, build on the success of the website, and take a cautious view on stock purchasing with the uncertain economic conditions ahead.

  4. After a year of being shafted by ebay, Non TRS is killing my margins. It costs me over £220 in fees extra because “ebay want to improve the buyer experience” Bologna, i have no where else to sell what i sell, it wouldnt work on amazon etc as its all second user used items. Its killing people who were making enough to live on where now i have to get a second part time job to make it up.

  5. I have reviewed packaging suppliers and am now getting a better packaging deal. The new packaging is more lightweight so this should reduce overall spend on shipping or at least keep it in check when factoring in the upcoming Royal Mail price rises.

    I accept there is an increased risk of damage in transit when using lighter gauge card however most items I offer are boxed so its a box around a box so on balance the increase risks are minimal for me relative to the cost savings on packaging and shipping.

    eBay did me a favour in pointing me in the direction of a packaging suppliers website so eBay get positive feedback from me even if they did not earn a fee!

  6. We are going back to bricks and mortar after ten years exclusively online. We did a couple of years on eBay when it was good, 1999 – 2001 and as it deteriorated (when brits came on) we gave up selling and just bought, selling mostly through our web site. Tried selling on eBay again around 2006, still crap.

    Since Lehman busted and the GS fraud created the recession we’ve been listing junk on eBay to clear a bit of space and maintain a modicum of consistent cashflow. Our junk is one-offs, £10 – £20 items, regular stock minimum £40, average approaching £100 per item. Each eBay sale, images, descriptions etc and the increased frequency of problems vs other sales channels means we reckon cost of listing on eBay = minimum £12 per item (half an hour of wages + eBay fees). Dealing with eBay buyers takes more time than other venues.

    B&M display takes a few seconds, sales a few minutes at most. Retail space = advertising the web site too. Have 23 years retail experience, understand the value of location, so taking something cheap and dual purpose (small business units sort of craft centre but more mixed with variable passing trade) whilst awaiting a good spot. Several in the preferred area businesses looking dodgy, good retail should come up soon. Occupants not businesses really, just buy from a few wholesalers, markup x2.3 and expect people to walk in and hand over good money.

    Management software puts algorithms between the seller and buyer, buyers aren’t stupid, know it’s mostly meaningless. Better keep the personal touch, save a few quid on software, avoid the inevitable ‘upgrade’ bugs. We should change our web site, selling all one-offs a lot of the economies of scale methods don’t work, basically we need better search and shopping cart (lots of international postage stuff to work out) and wishlist. No suitable packages, got to code it ourselves, take a basic package and seriously amend it.

    eBay Feedback was blackmail at the start, now is getting irrelevant. TSRs and very low FB sellers are the worst, lots of buyers don’t leave FB anymore, quite a few sellers too even when they have received positive.

    I think Donahoe has pretty much achieved getting rid of the fleamarket image, now it is boot sale with less likelihood of finding a gem amongst the junk.

    Norf is right again, ignore eBay, protesting, moaning a waste of time, if it stops working for you stop using it. Never put your eggs in one basket. Keep some funds available for changes, never let the banks gain effective control of your business via loans/overdrafts. Funds can be stock if you can maintain sales for a few weeks without buying stock.

    As an aside the worst business problem we ever encountered was B&M. Main shop, small city, main road fringe of city centre, traffic was diverted for six months for sewer works. Diversions coincided with our busy seasons, not the usual, property related. So our trade dead around xmas (late Nov – Feb) when they reopened the road for the city traders and then closed it again springtime after the sales ended just when our second busy period was about to start.

    eBay sux, waiting for a better online auction venue. Not depending on it, doesn’t bring in much profit.

  7. I’m going to launch my own website in the coming weeks, Im trying to make it look and feel right but it will proberly look basic to start with but it will improve and evolve all the time. I’m over reliant on eBay so I’m going to expand to the wider internet and treat eBay as a search engine for my eBay shop. And the www as a search engine for my website.

  8. At the start of 2011 i had 3 expanding ebay stores. All doing quite well. Well designed. Good listings had spent alot of money in developing custom ebay code. Since TRS was introduced we never hit it. 1 late delivery this month or so marked down. Even thou we loose sales by saying we dispatch in 3 working days and delivery is 2nd class and takes another 3-5 in our listing via ebay settings.

    We dispatch all goods same or next day. So TRS scoring doesnt work for us.

    We have hence seen an increase in costs and lower placement by ebay.

    I have since closed 2 of my stores. One had 300 Listings and 250-300 + sales a month depending on stock. I am now down to 50 Listings and no stock

    On the other store we had over 100 listings and 80-110 sales per month. I have closed that store also and am down to 16 listings.

    The one store that remains open. I will not invest any extra money in investing in ebay. We have stripped the listings down to only 60 from 150 and kept the store just because.

    We have already developed our own website and will be increasing money for advertising off ebay, search engine placement and investing in stock suitable for sales off ebay. I.E Higher quality products rather than the cheapest items we can find to compete.

    Overal this year, we wont be doing anything with ebay increasing stock or increasing listings or investment in listing templates or store templates.

    Its a shame that one or 2 low scores for late delivery have led to this, but it seems TRS is suited to sellers who sell large volumes be it TAT. All of our feedback scores have been 99.8% or higher. But we never met TRS standards, outlets seems to have feedback of 98.5% and hit it every month.

    Now TRS is more important that feedback and our business is unable to meet that standard we are only able to meet high standard in feedback as a percentage. Its time for us to take our business elsewhere. As TRS is now worth more in listing placement etc.

  9. 1998 when we signed upto ebay and its been good for us, though this last 6 months or so, has ground us down, never have we come across such a poor attitude from ebay support, never have we had such poor attitudes from buyers, so now were going to be the sellers that ebay deserve, no more are we going to try to be helpful and reasonable. it costs time and money to be nice and ebay treat you like muck anyhow
    so were after the dosh now, bugger the glory

  10. One thing i would like to know..
    Is my husband right that paying ebay about 10% in fees in about right?

    We pay (well i think we pay ebay a huge amount) about £950 on average a month !!!
    Anyone pay about the same amount? or thing i am moaning about nothing.
    Really i only really have my husband to talk to about our shop.

    The big QUESTION

    Also Off topic and i am sorry but i bouught some off designs from india that i am happy with etc.
    Though the company i bought from HAD MY DHL acount number i use DHL for delivery and i just received my bill it was £2033 from DHL.
    The order i made was £2500 so i am in utter shock.
    Allot of problem was comms broke down with the company i bought from as time agreed to complete the order went from 30 days to in the end over 3 months.
    I was really worried the company would reply for almost all of december even when i said this is break of contact (as 30 days was stated on the invoice) so i reported the company to there govening body in there country,
    They had my DHL account becuase they sent samples with them.
    So it was a complete break down in commsand as they kept saying they were sending the order in the next few days to shut me up (when they bothered to reply.
    I clearly said not to use DHL air but they went ahead and used it when i clearly stated that i did not want the goods sent by air (who would pay £2033 pre tax etc for what works out to be 14 stones of goods and packaging to be sent by air) Well me clearly i feel such a complete fool.
    Constantly sick and so stressed out.
    I cant eat or sleeo
    Now the amount each item needs to make is now double what it i factored in.
    I paid by bank transfer not western U i have proof of buying etc but i clearly made some kind of massive mistake.

    Now i do not trust myself to do anything or buy anything else from the far east even though the goods were good.
    I feel i have gone ten rounds with frank bruno (showing my age)
    Could any of you wise people tell me where i went wrong?
    Massive DOH!
    Thanks if anyone does reply
    How do i stop this happening again and do i have any rights to re coup any of the money from the company ??

    Have a good laugh if nothing else guys and at least it might make some one else like me think again or if you reply offer a type of guide or what you do, do.

  11. Cont so sorry to hjack the page but think most people have left comms now?

    I did want to say that 20% of my order wasnt as agreed though all i have in writing regarding how it looks from the company is that decal should be clear.
    I sent photos hard and online copies so they knew what i wanted.
    They replied only by email saying that was fine and just what they would do.
    They havent do i have any come back at all.
    I dont think i will be able to get the company to help me they may offer more goods but i am so worried about risking using them again.
    Does anyone know if there are any pre written complaint letters that may fit my problem online at all?
    I am dyslexic but had all my comments and requirements to the company edited before sending them.
    Thanks again and sorry again for going so off topic but it is a big thing for our 2011

  12. Amfm

    So you are turning over almost 10k a month on ebay. Well unless you know nothing about margins you should be pulling in a good profit. 10% ebay fees is a steal for this level of business. Try opening a B&M shop on that.
    As far as your import problems go, well, you have to know before you make the deal whether you are buying FOB or if the exporter is taking responsibility for the shipping to UK. With FOB you need to engage your own logistics company. I have personally only imported with shipping pre-paid. Only import taxes to be paid at shipper’s warehous in UK.

  13. Try opening a B&M shop on that.

    …More than possible.

    amfm, we also used DHL for 2.5 pallets from China, cost us around £600 all in.

    Take it on the chin and learn from it. £10k a month on eBay is good, have you thought about trying to replicate that….whilst not falling prey of the duplicate listing policies etc.

  14. People are so critical of EBAY yet it remains a great place to sell… Full of tat? Perhaps that was true when the place was overrun with auctions which never sold, never brought in fees and were continually relisted.

    There are too many sellers from the Far East misdescribing products and reinventing themselves when they are closed down but UK buyers tend to avoid those sellers.. once bitten, twice shy.

    Personally I have doubled the size of our warehousing space so far this year, have 2 new shops going online on EBAY next month including a wholesale store and will be looking to spend more money with EBAY than last year.

    Yes there are problems… changes are too frequent (and the removal of Featured First in the first part of this years changes will be a pain – you read it here first! A very educated guess seeing as they intended to remove it pre Christmas until I took it up with them and explained that sellers buyer stocks months in advance just to use the feature). It also looks as if they are having second thoughts about the site wide introduction of the cart if the phonecall I got Friday asking sellers for their feedback on the proposal are anything to go by.

    I would never be without EBAY although I have a CA premium store in progress but it remains a great place to sell…

  15. Till it all goes tits up. Come back in five years time and tell us how eBay is doing for you then. (:


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