Are you aware of the Royal Mail changes that could affect your business?
Hello and welcome to another weekly eletter designed to help you increase your profits and avoid many common mistakes when selling online.
As always, if you have questions or there’s anything else you’d like me to investigate, you only have to drop me a line and it will always be my pleasure to help.
Now onto today’s offerings…
Proving delivery without having to pay for it
One of the most disappointing experiences for sellers is having a buyer say their product has not arrived and requesting a refund which, if you can’t prove delivery has taken place, will find eBay refunding your buyer.
Sometimes a package really will have gone astray – more often it’s a scam designed to rob you of your product and profits.
The usual way to avoid such complaints – genuine or bogus – is to pay an additional charge for Royal Mail or other courier to prove an item was delivered, usually by getting recipients to sign for delivery.
Then when you can prove an item has been delivered you’ll find eBay less likely to refund complainants and you’ll also qualify for PayPal seller protection.
And now, from this summer, instead of paying to track an item in transit and at point of delivery, you’ll get it all free of charge when Royal Mail introduces free confirmation of delivery on all standard 24 and 48 hour parcel deliveries carrying 2D barcoded labels.
Are you selling on eBay but not on Amazon?
If so, you might like to rethink your strategy based on recent research suggesting that almost half of internet consumers go straight to Amazon without using search engines to locate products and suppliers.
According to research company Bloomreach, this is partly down to Amazon developing algorithms that most accurately determine future demand for a specific product and highlighting when a product is almost out of stock, therefore encouraging consumers to place orders before they’ve all gone. The same technique helps people selling on Amazon determine when to restock certain items and by how many units.
Other top level research suggests Amazon is more responsive to buyer concerns than any other international marketplace and simply gives people greater confidence to buy. One reason appears to be easy access to Amazon’s customer service team and because the company sometimes refunds buyers direct and arranges replacement products when a purchase arrives damaged or doesn’t arrive at all.
Yes, I know, too much such intervention and small sellers could face serious cash flow problems or go out of business fast. But according to some top sellers, the fact customers can contact Amazon direct and have their concerns sorted out fast has led to some of them selling four times as much product on Amazon than on their other sales platforms.
I also think Amazon’s stance is good for sellers based on the first product I ever purchased through Amazon, a computer and accessories with a precise date for delivery. The appointed day came and went and the delivery company insisted my computer had been delivered when actually it hadn’t. On service review websites I discovered the same delivery company telling similar tales to other non-recipients.
So I telephoned Amazon’s customer service department and answered a few questions and in less than half an hour my first order had been cancelled and my payment refunded. I was invited to place another order with a promise that Amazon would deliver the computer this time. Amazon’s driver arrived with my computer less than two days later. I have since purchased several expensive items through Amazon and will almost certainly do so for years to come.
And that is why I suggest you sell on Amazon as well as on eBay!
PayPal to help people selling digital download products
A few years back eBay banned the sale of digital download products at their sites, other than from classified advertisements. The decision was sudden and many thousands of sellers saw their entire income disappear within days.
At the same time, many people selling digital download goods like eBooks and software outside of eBay found PayPal refunding buyers without investigating complaints against sellers.
That’s hardly surprising given that eBay owned PayPal and eBay’s dislike of digital download products would traverse across its entire business empire.
And so you heard tales of people having their PayPal accounts suspended and sometimes terminated after a couple of consumer complaints made against them…
But PayPal has split from eBay and is now actively encouraging people to sell digital download products using their platform to process payment and take buyers to download their products.
More exciting still, PayPal says they will review requests for refund and may find against complainants if sellers can show their product was delivered and proved fit for purpose.
You still can’t sell digital download products on eBay, other than from the classified columns, but you can integrate PayPal into virtually every other website and blogging platform as well as through sites like PayHip.com and PayLoadz.com.
There’s a website and even a dedicated telephone line to help you get started using PayPal for your digital download products. You can find it here.
More advice from Royal Mail
Royal Mail comes up trumps again with research suggesting more than one in ten buyers returns an internet purchase because it doesn’t look the same as it did on their computer screens.
More often than not it is colour that varies between a product viewed on the computer screen and the one the buyer receives.
That I know for certain… because for my eLetters and monthly magazine I use what appears to be deep royal blue for my headlines. But when my computer broke down a few months ago I edited some issues on another computer and discovered my exquisite royal blue was actually dirty mauve!
Avoid similar problems like this:
(i) Let visitors to your listings know that colours vary between computer screens and describe the actual colour in detail in your descriptions. Describe colour based on the physical product, not the way it appears on your desktop.
(ii) Make sure you own computer screen matches the actual colour of your product by comparing product images on two or more different computers.
Then if you are using a dropshipping company and their product image doesn’t match its stated colour you know it’s probably your computer to blame, not the dropshipper’s image.
Even so, you must still check images match colour descriptions provided by your dropshipping company before using them in your eBay listings.
So there are just four ideas to help you make more money and encounter fewer – and hopefully fewer than none at all – problems on eBay. Go get started on them right away.