What’s All this Renewed Talk About Optimizing for Mobile?

What’s All this Renewed Talk About Optimizing for Mobile?

You might have noticed some talk around the water cooler about adding a viewport meta tag that has to be added to your eBay listings. And you're probably wondering what all the fuss is about. You've been listing for mobile optimization as recommended. Everything is size 14 font, left aligned with bullet points. No images are embedded in the description and all of your Policies are taken out. So what's new?

The viewport meta tag assures that your listings are optimized for any device they are viewed on from the desktop all the way down to the smart phone with a simple line of code that communicates to the browser how to render the listing. The object is to be sure that every listing can be easily read without horizontal scrolling, one hand only for vertical scrolling that we are all used to at this point.

macbook-606763_640

If you want to check to see if your listings are mobile friendly, even if you think they are just click here for eBay's mobile friendly test.  Mesha Travesser, owner of Classy Soles did a great video to show you exactly how to add the code to your listings. I am thrilled to be able to post this with her permission for your benefit. And after you're done updating your listings, or before even, take a peak at some of the great items she has listed. You can check them on your smart phone or your tablet, or even your laptop and they are sure to render just right for your browsing pleasure.

http://https://youtu.be/D7z0Qs1CNT0

You'll want to keep this code handy <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0, maximum-scale=1.0, user-scalable=no"> Going forward you will want to include this code in all of your listings. It is best, according to eBay to have it right before your description, but will also work at the end. For me I just saved a listing as a template in eBay with the code inserted at the beginning. No need to remember if you always use the template, I actually made several, one for each category. 

It might sound intimidating but it's really not and will certainly benefit you in terms of search results.

Feel free to leave a comment or if you have questions you can message me through the contact link or look me up on Facebook.

HTML What Is It and Why Do I Need It?

HTML What Is It and Why Do I Need It?

With some of the new changes on the eBay selling platform, there are many questions about html. It is typically not something that is needed when selling on eBay, but is always helpful to know at least the basics. These slides are just that, basic. What is it? What does it do? HTML is language that defines the text on a web page. This is done with tags. Generally there are start and end tags. Different attributes can be defined with html. Attributes such as a url in a link or inserting an image in a listing with attributes for alternate text, size, and of course the actual url of the image. If you want to know just the basics and get a little better understanding of what Html is and how it works, take a look at the slides below.

Customer Service is Key!

Customer Service is Key!

 

Customers Deserve the Best!

I've noticed a lot of discussion about customer service lately and more specifically, returns. It's a fact, returns are part of running a retail business and as such should be figured into your pricing. This is the easiest and most painless way to cover this cost. I don't know about you, but I almost never will buy from a seller who does not offer a return service. That being said, I have never returned an item that I have purchased on eBay in over 12 years. When the seller has a return policy in place, it eases my mind that they are a professional seller who takes their business seriously. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, but nonetheless it is reassurance as a buyer.

Why Don't You Offer a Return Policy?

I've heard all the reasons that for what I'm sure are personal reasons that a seller won't take returns. These range from "I want to get rid of this, I don't want it back" to "I'm not Wal-Mart, Macy's, Target, etc. I'm just an eBay seller". Just an eBay seller is certainly no small thing. It means that you own a business that is yours. It may be small and that is okay too, but no matter what the size, it is a business and should be operated as such, returns are a part of that, a normal part. Another common reason is "I put all the measurements, flaws, great pictures, and a great description. It's not my fault they (the buyer) can't read them." While you may be great at describing your items including the measurements and pictures, that is not a guarantee that the item will work for the buyer. If it's clothing, I honestly don't think most people know what their measurements are. And though they know their size, every brand is different. In fact it's not uncommon for the same brand, style, and size to have discrepancy in measurements. As a buyer you are unable to feel the fabric, tell what the fit is, and in general how it's going to look on you. I use clothing as that category typically has a higher return rate. Electronics is another category that has a higher return rate for various reasons. Sometimes it is as simple as the buyer doesn't know how to operate something. A lot of times a message or even a phone call if the circumstance indicates that is the best way to handle it can resolve the issue and prevent the return.

But even if it doesn't, taking a return shouldn't be painful. The reality is most returns will be initiated within the first week that the buyer receives the item. Starting in fall of 2015 eBay has made it simple to set up your return policy and take care of all of your return requests directly on eBay, including providing a return label to the buyer. The process is simple for both the seller and the buyer. eBay follows the policy that you have set up. If you want the buyer to pay for returns, you state that in your return instructions. Keep in mind that if an item is damaged or significantly not as described, then you, the seller are responsible for return shipping. You can read the full policy here http://pages.ebay.com/sellerinformation/returns-on-ebay/index.html#faq=faq-7 . This page has all the necessary information and walks you through setting up your policy and the entire flow of the process from start to finish.

When you accept returns, your buyers have a lot more trust in you! More trust translates to more sales. It hasn't been my experience that it leads to more returns, in fact quite the opposite. My belief is that you actually protect yourself by setting your own return policy versus the buyer having to jump through hoops and ultimately opening a case. Which would you rather have, a return that you will list again and sell again or a case opened? It seems pretty straightforward to me.

Customer Service

But now starting on May 1, 2016 I have to offer a 30-day return policy if I want to maintain my TRS status.

This is a true statement and one that you should have no concern over. Personally I've offered 30-day returns for a couple of years now and the reality is that my return rate dropped when I increased the time from 14 days to 30 days. In fact my returns dropped from an average of two a year to about 1.4 per year. And I sell a variety of items that include clothing and collectibles. With collectibles I think it is fair to day that buyers know what they are looking for and I can't actually remember any collectibles that I have ever had returned. Within this year I will be changing my return policy to 60 days on everything except my consignment items. Why not? If the rate went down when I went from 14 to 30 days, it might just drop lower going to 60 days. For sure it will give my buyers a reason to shop with me and feel comfortable.

Think about how you want to handle this going forward. If you don't offer returns seriously consider setting up a return policy. Give your customers the security of knowing that they can return an item if they need to, they don't have to "fight" or go through any hassles in order to do so. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised when you see a difference in your sales. If you offer a 14-day return and are concerned about changing to 30 days, get out your calculator and find out exactly what your percentage of returns has been, my guess is it is less than 2% (which is somewhat of a normal percentage). Figure out how to cover your returns by spreading them over all of your listings, and take the plunge to a longer return time. See if your return rate doesn't actually decrease while sales could even increase.

Make your customers feel good about shopping with you! Treat them exactly as you would expect to be treated by any online retailer. Hassle-free is definitely the best way to be. Offer customer service and see how your customers show their loyalty by returning to you on a regular basis. 

USPS Postage Updates 2016 Part 3

USPS Postage Updates 2016 Part 3

Effective January 17, 2016 the new postage rates are in effect.

eBay sellers hopefully you have started editing your listings and calculating what impact the new postage rates mean for you. If you use calculated shipping rates in your listings, you really have nothing to do, unless you want to change some of your lighter weight items that are between 13 ounces and 15.99 ounces to first class. This will save the buyer money on the shipping over the previous Priority Shipping. What this means for me because I plan on using the new first class rates even on free shipping items, is that I am re-weighing my items to be sure which items fit in this category. I will also offer an upgrade to Priority that the buyer pays for.

If you have free shipping, you may need to add the increase in postage to your price. Remember the object of selling on eBay is to make money. With the new pricing, you'll find the additional postage cutting into your profit.

Don't forget about FedEx and UPS. Even though they use dimensional weights, there are times when they may be less expensive than USPS for your shipping needs. Always make the comparison between all available shipping carriers.

Parcel Select versus Priority

It still seems even more evident that with the new pricing structure that shipping Priority is actually cheaper than Parcel Select IF you print your labels through eBay. If you are a Top Rated Seller (TRS) this is even a more noticeable difference. As a TRS you will be paying the Commercial Plus Rates.  If you are still working on becoming a TRS, you will pay the Commercial Base Price.  If you use Stamps the rate you receive will be the Commercial Base Pricing. Be sure and check your postage provider to be sure they offer the Commercial Base Pricing. If they don't or if you go directly to USPS to print your labels, you will be paying the Retail Rates.

Below is the Parcel Select Rate Chart. You can see for yourself the higher prices and because it is parcel select, it will always take longer for the package to reach the customer, many times up to 9 or 10 days.

Parcel Select

Weight Not Over (Lbs) 1 & 2 Zone 3 Zone 4 Zone 5 Zone 6 Zone 7 Zone 8 Zone 9
1 5.95 6.10 6.15 6.20 6.28 6.57 7.11 7.11
2 6.12 6.26 6.72 8.26 9.04 10.28 11.42 11.42
3 6.31 7.35 8.46 9.97 11.74 13.28 15.50 15.50
4 6.78 7.98 8.91 10.61 13.32 15.09 17.04 17.04
5 7.46 8.06 9.26 11.21 15.17 17.36 19.76 19.76
6 7.55 8.10 9.38 12.06 17.03 19.80 22.64 22.64
7 7.63 8.14 9.50 12.94 18.86 22.33 25.43 25.43
8 7.92 8.66 9.74 13.59 20.74 24.58 28.56 28.56
9 8.42 8.87 9.89 14.37 22.56 26.63 31.77 31.77
10 8.69 9.07 10.04 15.22 24.38 29.28 34.55 34.55
11 9.00 9.27 10.13 15.88 26.16 31.87 37.44 37.44
12 9.22 9.56 10.23 16.76 28.53 34.46 40.14 40.14
13 9.44 9.79 10.35 17.65 30.64 35.86 41.57 41.57
14 9.60 10.05 10.46 18.36 32.36 37.88 43.64 43.64
15 9.73 10.36 10.57 18.73 33.61 38.59 44.80 44.80
16 10.26 10.89 11.04 19.23 35.52 40.75 47.26 47.26
17 10.34 11.24 11.28 19.73 37.33 42.88 49.75 49.75
18 10.46 11.38 11.60 20.23 39.30 45.00 52.26 52.26
19 10.58 11.77 12.00 20.73 41.07 47.11 54.75 54.75
20 10.77 12.15 12.41 21.23 42.12 48.86 57.28 57.28

 

For easy comparson below is the Prioirty (both Commercial Base and Commercial Plus) so you can see for yourself the difference.

Priority Rates

Non-eTRS Rates (Priority Mail Commercial Base)

Zones

Weight Not Over (Lbs) L, 1 & 2 Zone 3 Zone 4 Zone 5 Zone 6 Zone 7 Zone 8

Zone 9

1 5.75 5.95 6.05 6.20 6.33 6.62 7.16 9.76
2 6.01 6.15 6.60 8.15 8.92 9.70 10.77 14.95
3 6.09 7.09 8.17 9.75 11.47 12.40 14.47 20.28
4 6.71 7.90 8.75 10.66 13.37 15.14 17.09 24.41
5 7.39 7.99 9.01 11.26 15.22 17.41 19.81 28.30
6 7.55 8.10 9.06 12.11 17.08 19.85 22.69 32.43
7 7.63 8.14 9.50 12.99 18.91 22.38 25.48 36.40
8 7.92 8.66 9.74 13.64 20.79 24.63 28.61 40.88
9 8.42 8.87 9.89 14.42 22.61 26.68 31.82 45.45
10 8.69 9.07 10.04 15.27 24.43 29.33 34.60 49.43
11 9.00 9.27 10.13 15.93 26.21 31.92 37.49 54.00
12 9.22 9.56 10.23 16.81 28.58 34.51 40.19 57.90
13 9.44 9.79 10.35 17.70 30.69 35.91 41.62 59.96
14 9.60 10.05 10.46 18.41 32.41 37.93 43.69 62.94
15 9.73 10.36 10.57 18.78 33.66 38.64 44.85 64.60
16 10.26 10.89 11.04 19.28 35.57 40.80 47.31 68.15
17 10.34 11.24 11.28 19.78 37.38 42.93 49.80 71.74
18 10.46 11.38 11.60 20.28 39.35 45.05 52.31 75.36
19 10.58 11.77 12.00 20.78 41.12 47.16 54.80 78.93
20 10.77 12.15 12.41 21.28 42.17 48.91 57.33 82.58

 

Priority Rates 

eTRS Rates (Priority Mail Commercial Plus)

 

Weight Not Over (Lbs) L, 1 & 2 Zone 3 Zone 4 Zone 5 Zone 6 Zone 7 Zone 8 Zone 9
0.5 5.60 5.77 5.87 6.01 6.14 6.42 6.95 9.47
1 5.60 5.77 5.87 6.01 6.14 6.42 6.95 9.47
2 5.83 5.96 6.40 7.91 8.65 9.41 10.44 14.50
3 5.91 6.88 7.92 9.46 11.13 12.03 14.03 19.67
4 6.51 7.67 8.49 10.34 12.97 14.69 16.58 23.68
5 7.17 7.75 8.74 10.92 14.76 16.89 19.22 27.45
6 7.32 7.86 8.79 11.75 16.57 19.25 22.01 31.45
7 7.40 7.89 9.22 12.60 18.34 21.70 24.72 35.31
8 7.68 8.40 9.45 13.23 20.17 23.89 27.75 39.65
9 8.17 8.61 9.59 13.99 21.93 25.88 30.86 44.09
10 8.43 8.80 9.74 14.81 23.70 28.45 33.56 47.94
11 8.73 8.99 9.83 15.45 25.42 30.96 36.36 52.38
12 8.94 9.27 9.92 16.31 27.72 33.48 38.99 56.16
13 9.16 9.49 10.04 17.17 29.77 34.83 40.37 58.16
14 9.31 9.75 10.14 17.86 31.44 36.79 42.38 61.05
15 9.44 10.05 10.26 18.22 32.65 37.48 43.50 62.66
16 9.95 10.56 10.70 18.70 34.50 39.58 45.89 66.11
17 10.03 10.90 10.94 19.19 36.26 41.65 48.31 69.59
18 10.14 11.04 11.25 19.67 38.17 43.69 50.74 73.10
19 10.27 11.42 11.64 20.16 39.89 45.74 53.16 76.56
20 10.45 11.78 12.04 20.64 40.90 47.44 55.61 80.10
Fall Seller Update for eBay Sellers

Fall Seller Update for eBay Sellers

We are eBay!

This has been an exciting week to say the least with the Seller Summit in San Jose this past week to celebrate eBay's 20'th birthday! It was during this event that the Fall Seller Update was released. If you were lucky enough to attend in person, I am envious, and you did get to hear the details in person. I did get to watch the keynote speech by Devin Wenig live through streaming courtesy of eBay. Wow! is an understatement. One of the most thrilling moments (at least to an onlooker) was the surprise guest, Pierre Omidyar. If you're new to eBay and you don't know who that is. Pierre is the founder of eBay. His first sale was a broken laser pointer. You can view the Fireside chat with Pierre Omidyar and Devin Wenig here along with all of the other videos that are posted detailing some of the upcoming changes.

So what about the Fall Seller Update? In my opinion it's the best every in almost 12 years of selling on eBay. It is fair, management listened, and acted.

  1. Seller Defects are changing...effective in February 2016 sellers can't help but be pleased with this change, it's major.
  2. Seller Hub...eBay is providing an updated Seller Hub with more details, better inventory management, and even metrics. Tools to be more effective as a seller with a lot less effort, everything in one place.
  3. Streamlined return process...again making your job as a seller much easier and customized to your settings.

These are three BIG updates. There are some Category and Item Specific changes that you're going to want to be sure to check out to see if any are in your particular niche.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to reach out to me in the comments or through Social Media. I will go into more detail about each update, but in the meantime take a look at the changes by viewing the 2015 Fall Seller Update.