Your one opportunity to share your contact details without eBay knowing

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As the well respected Laura Mathieson noted in a recent Tamebay comment: “You would be amazed at how many sellers do not put contact information on packing slips.” She was commenting on Chris’s recent post: My last ever great customer service experience on eBay. And both reflect the ongoing discussions regarding the sharing of contact details with eBay buyers.

She’s not wrong. It is surprising not only how many marketplace sellers don’t include contact details in their despatches but rather how few actually use that medium as a proactive marketing opportunity too. Think about it.

If you’re self-fulfilling on a marketplace such as eBay, Amazon or Etsy, your consignments hold with them a unique opportunity. In the first instance, it’s the only physical connection you make with your shopper. And hopefully they will feel joy, or at least satisfaction, as they open your parcel. Sometimes the ecommerce experience can feel disembodied and impersonal. But this is the moment that’s physical and real: getting the goods.

More than that. It’s a moment that the ever prying marketplaces cannot intrude upon you and what you say to your buyer. They can never sanction you for what you say directly to your buyer in the privacy of your own parcel. And your communication options are manifold: inserts, notes, branded packaging and enticing extras.

It’s also a great opportunity to guide shoppers the right way so you don’t get a ding or defect. Help them resolve a problem, make a return or make contact in a way that doesn’t get you a marketplace black mark. Help them help you. It’s more than simply including your contact details. Guide them and coax them if they’re not content.

Promote your own website

In particular the opportunity exists to promote your own transactional website. That could come in the form of an insert, go wild with branded packaging or you could even offer a discount to eBay or Amazon shoppers for future purchases your website. A buyer could become a repeat buyer and now is the chance to entice them.

Just don’t miss the opportunity.

12 Responses

  1. I’d always assumed (after being told many years ago) the marketplaces carried out test purchases to stop you marketing your our website etc. to the customer.

    Seems from the article that’s not the case.

  2. Thank you Dan – I would also add that it’s best to try and make sure that the packing slip is the first thing the buyer sees, even before the product. If the buyer has to prise open a “Documents enclosed” plastic envelope to find your contact details it’s making them work unnecessarily.
    David Wright that’s interesting – I’ve never heard that before and never heard of anyone being sanctioned for it – maybe someone reading this does?

  3. It is against Amazon’s selling policies to include any marketing material or redirect their customers to your own e-commerce site by any other means.

  4. If they aren’t, they probably soon will be.

    I’m still shocked that we had to re-doctor our company logo inside our ebay descriptions purely because it contained our company name inside it, which according to ebay support isn’t allowed anymore.

  5. In the UK The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 makes it is a legal requirement for a Business seller to display their contact information where the “consumer can reasonably be expected to know how to access it.”

    I wonder if by “hiding” this information eBay is laying thousands of sellers open to the full effects of the law.

    Did you know that if a BUSINESS seller does not fully comply with the regulations then buyers have a FULL YEAR in which they can cancel the contract, AND sellers can NOT require the buyer to pay for its return?

  6. It is in Amazon’s T&C about marketing stuff in orders but there’s nothing currently in eBay’s to my knowledge but then this could change.

  7. This advice will get you banned. I know a lot of sellers do it, but it is definitely very risky as marketplaces will ban you for it! It is not worth the risk!

  8. all very nice and wonderful in theory, buyers read bugger all, take notice of sod all ,
    they dont care whats in the box other than the product,
    who knows buyers might start reading descriptions and conforming to terms and conditions

  9. Many thanks Eddie for the input Ref legislation above, it would be interesting to hear Ebay’s take on the point ! Good luck with that !

    Humour aside though, any case brought to a UK court under that legislation would be ill-defended if all the business seller had to rely upon was ‘Ebay’s policy says’ !

    As to ‘marketing’ to an Ebay customer in the parcel Etc. I have done this for years, I include a letter on headed paper thanking them for the business, hoping that the item pleases them, advising on resolution of required and add an ‘Ebay tip’ to add my name to their favourites list if they like the things I sell.

    Incidentally, I do this with all customers Ebay or not.

    Ebay also make it clear that both seller and buyer enter into a contract on winning bid or acceptance of an offer and under English law you then have a commercial relationship with that buyer (or seller). It’s simple and obvious good business practice to ‘upsell’ or ‘market on’ to a then existing customer. If Ebay were to consider banning that practice it would raise a lot of resistance not to mention being almost impossible to ‘police’ !


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