The risk of receiving transaction defects may well be one of the anxiety-inducing parts of being an eBay seller. This is especially true if you aim to be (or remain) a Top Rated Seller. Having said this, there are a number of ways to help avoid receiving transaction defects when selling on eBay. Read on to learn for four of the most important methods.
Manage buyers expectations
One of the biggest mistakes an eBay seller can make is to oversell an item. A buyer with exceptionally high expectations is more likely to raise a dispute regarding an item. With this being less than ideal, sellers can help manage buyers expectations in several ways.
- Describe the item accurately
Be as specific as possible when writing an item’s description. Be honest about the condition and quality of the item, carefully noting any defects or damage. Format the description so it is easy to read and understand
- Be realistic with shipping times
It is vital not to underestimate shipping and handling times in the item listing. Buyers can easily become anxious waiting for their items and even more easily frustrated when the item arrives much later than quoted.
- Clearly specify return policy in item listing
Since shoppers are so used to flexible return policies elsewhere on the internet, sellers should be careful to highlight their own return policy in every listing.
- Take great photos
Photos provide buyers with their first impression of the item. It is not necessary for photos to be of a professional grade but they should be appealing and represent the item accurately. Any defects should be clearly shown. Find more tips in this Auction Nudge guide.
Keep inventory organized
One of the most common reasons for sellers to cancel a transaction is because the item has already been sold. Sellers who manage their inventory carefully are therefore less at risk of receiving a defect for transaction cancellations.
- Review listings regularly
Things change and it is important not to be caught out. Be sure to carefully review each active listing regularly and prevent any future disputes with buyers concerning technical details.
- Store stock safely and in an ordered manner
Items should always be stored carefully to avoid damage. Some larger sellers choose to lease warehouse or storage space for this reason. An organization system should also be created to avoid items becoming lost or sold when out-of-stock.
- Make sure items are well stocked
Keep a close eye on which items have low stock and be sure to restock with plenty of time spare. This is key for sellers who specialise in multiple quantity listings.
Professional customer service
One of eBay’s key concepts is to provide shoppers with a positive buying experience. One of the easiest ways for sellers to do this is to provide professional customer service to buyers, as they would receive from any of eBay’s competitors.
- Respond to messages quickly
Buyers appreciate efficient sellers and replying to messages swiftly is one way to demonstrate this. Remember that buyers may be choosing between two similar items and a quick response could be the key factor in a sale. Responding to buyers with transaction issues quickly is also important to help produce a positive outcome.
- Don’t overcharge for shipping and handling
eBay insists that sellers should only charge ‘reasonable’ shipping and handling fees. Reasonable is somewhat open to interpretation but it is clear that sellers should not inflate shipping costs to make extra profit. Using calculated shipping is an easy way to stay within eBay’s guidelines.
- Pack items appropriately
Skimping on packaging may save money on supplies and shipping costs, but it risks the item arriving damaged. A damaged item is a loss for both buyer and seller. Avoid this by choosing appropriate packaging and protection.
- Be friendly and helpful to customers, even in challenging situations
A little kindness can go a long way! Treat buyers the same way you would like to be treated, with respect and a friendly tone. Even if the transaction turns sour, always stay calm and in control.
- Always follow through on your return policy
Honoring your return policy is a vital part of being a seller on eBay. If you feel that many buyers are taking advantage of a flexible return policy, it may be time to reexamine how your business is running e.g. are the item descriptions accurate? Are the photos representative of the item? Is the pricing appropriate?
Be proactive with transaction issues
It is unfortunately inevitable that every eBay seller will eventually have to deal with a transaction issue for one reason or another. Keep this advice in mind when it happens:
- Efficiency is key
Sellers should always stay on top of Money Back Guarantee and PayPal Purchase Protection timelines. Sellers, for example, have just three business days to respond to buyers who report that an item did not arrive. A slow response will undoubtedly frustrate a buyer more, so being efficient is an integral part of providing professional service.
- Know when to back down
Choose your battles. This may sound defeatist but sometimes it may not be worth the time, money or risk to dispute a case with a buyer. If a return can fix a simple transaction issue, this can often be a better solution for both buyer and seller. The buyer is able to get a refund and the seller avoids the risk of a Money Back Guarantee case and a potential defect. Some cases, however, are undoubtedly worth fighting for so save your time for them instead!
Remember – never neglect your Seller Dashboard
Keeping an eye on your Seller Dashboard is the best way to monitor defects and seller performance. Your transaction defect rate and seller level are displayed alongside a further breakdown of late shipments and percentage of cases closed without seller resolution. By staying on top of your seller performance, it is easy to see problems and work to improve them. Neglecting the Seller Dashboard could lead to a downgrade in selling status or even suspension from eBay.