As many of you already know eBay is introducing this year the defect rate, a new system meant to evaluate sellers based on several factors that weren’t considered before for this purpose. Already many sellers consider this eBay defect rate unfair as they are in hot water because of it; there’s quite a stir on forums and blogs everywhere regarding this subject; top sellers are about to loose their status and others are even about to drop below standard level because of it. It will be very interesting how this new system will work on the long run, as I am sure eBay will find more and more ways to change it, hopefully not make it stricter for sellers.
It seems to me like the most affected sellers will be the new, inexperienced ones as well as small ones that do this as an extra income.
The declared purpose eBay is to have less customers that encounter problems and filter the bad sellers. The problem is that many buyers are sloppy, don’t read the description, and then they leave bad ratings or open cases for no good reason. Even if lately eBay has been trying to help the sellers with situations like this there are a lot of flaws and many times is the buyer’s word against the seller’s. With this many more factors considered for the evaluation, there will be a lot of changes among sellers that will be able to have good sales or even survive on this platform. Below I described some ways to deal with these changes, I hope you’ll find them useful for your listings.
Describe your items clearly
The first 3 factors you will notice on your dashboard are all about how the item was described.
If your item is not new or has some defects make sure you describe the condition clearly in the designated space on the top of the listing. Make sure you add these details also in the body of the description, just in case the buyer reads it.
If you still have complicated themes for your listings with all kinds of flowers and teddy bears you may want to drop them and use a simple descriptions where the details of the item clearly stand out; on the long run it’s very likely that eBay will eventually drop these themes all together and use a standard theme for all sellers.
Ship fast, try to exceed expectations
The next category that influences the defect rate is related to the shipping of the items. If you promise 1 handling day and fast shipping to get a kick in the eBay search engine you must make sure that you can deliver within that time frame as many buyers get items from you and not from other sellers for that very reason.
If you get in trouble with your defect rate and you’re heading to the red zone you can offer economy shipping but ship priority mail; this will give you more time to handle the item and ultimately exceed buyer’s expectations at least as far as the delivery date.
Check your inventory regularly
With this new system eBay is now penalizing sellers if they don’t have items in stock. Times when you could just send an “out of stock” email to your buyers without being affected are long gone; you must do your best not to cancel a transaction for this reason. What you can do is offer some other similar item from your store, if possible with a discount so it will encourage the buyer to accept your offer.
Increase the number of items sold
This may sound as a no brainer but if you have some items that you normally sell and make a good profit it’s worth to find a cheap item in wholesale or even at the dollar store that you can repeatedly sell along with your usual listings to simply to improve the percentage of your defect rate- the higher the number of completed transactions- the lower the rate; you must keep in mind that a .99 cents transaction or a $100 transaction are counted both as 1 transaction on eBay.
Start sales to improve number of items sold when needed
If the month is about to end and your dashboard is estimating for the following evaluation that you’re close to become a Top Rated Seller on eBay or you’re in the red “below standard zone” you can increase the number of item sold by using the markdown manager and create some sale events. In many cases it’s worth not to make a profit at all if you’re ultimately able to get the discounts that come with the Top Rated Seller status or –the opposite- stay in business when you’re about to go down.
Got any more ideas? Let us know and we will share them with the seller’s community.