10 Surefire Ways to Lose Sales on eBay

July 22, 2014


Many of our customers use ShipStation to fulfill orders for their successful eBay businesses. We want to see you blow the roof off your sales goals. With that in mind, here are 10 common eBay selling mistakes, with tips on avoiding them:

1. Not Testing and Not Using Strike-Through Pricing

Have you tried Strike-Through Pricing (STP) on eBay, which shows items with discounted prices, including limited-time free shipping offers? You don’t want to ignore this free eBay feature. What if potential customers are missing your auction by choosing auctions with visibly reduced prices or sales? Learn more about STP here.

2. Letting Your Feedback Rating Slide

Top eBay sellers advise keeping your feedback rating as close to 5 stars as you can. 5-star ratings earn you new customers while saving you money on eBay fees as well. Send emails to your customers asking them how you can make them 5-star happy. Also ask them to leave very specific feedback. You can even make suggestions as to what they might post, such as “Fast shipping,” or “Beautiful product.”

3. Not Offering Free Shipping

You might offer a variety of fulfillment methods on eBay, including next-day delivery. But if you don’t offer free shipping, in a competitive marketplace like eBay, this is a mistake. Analyst research from Gartner shows that more than 50 percent of customers who take advantage of free shipping report that they will buy from those merchants again.

4. Not Answering Questions

This is not just common courtesy. If you don’t answer questions, you might lose out on a sale, and/or get negative feedback and ratings.

5. Bland or Incomplete Product Descriptions

Embrace your inner word nerd and polish your marketing prose. Communicate enthusiasm without smarm to gain the buyer’s attention. Also, be specific. The clearer detail you give, the fewer questions you will need to answer, saving you time. The right word choice will make you the preferred seller between two similar auctions.

6. Using Flat, Boring Titles

Similar to SEO or search engine marketing, you need to drop meaningless filler words in favor of keywords you know someone would be searching for. For example, not, “Awesome! New in Box Patio Set,” but something like, “Elegant 6-Piece Pottery-Barn-like Patio Dining Set: $699.”

7. Not Having Images

A few years ago, eBay announced that 83 percent of their shoppers completely skip over listings with no imagery. You should also strive for original pictures as well, so you stand out from the crowd. Representatives from eBay seller Sheer Miracle Mineral Makeup also advise creating an image that has big bold words, such as, “100 percent 5-star seller,” or “Money-Back Guarantee.”

8. Avoiding Analytics

eBay provides you with key metrics for every product you list, but many people don’t take full advantage of these tools. Monitor trends, click-throughs, views and more to improve strategy. Look here for more about the free eBay analytics tool.

9. Forgetting to Check eBay Seller Release Changes

You need to keep on top of eBay changes in order to adjust your strategy. In 2014, eBay made big changes to how it measures sellers’ performance. eBay uses those metrics to decide which sellers get better or worse exposure in search results and whether you get fee discounts. The full eBay Spring Seller update can be accessed here.

10. Making All Sales Final

An online buyer is taking a risk that what he is ordering is exactly what he thinks he sees in a few pictures, but, once shipped, he could find that he’s not really a size “medium” since he turned 40, or his wife wanted tanzanite not marcasite jewelry for her birthday. Neither of these scenarios are the fault of you, the seller. However, phrases like, “All Sales Final,” and “No Returns,” are stop signals that send buyers looking for your competitors’ offerings. Yes, returns are a hassle for you, but if you are charging fair shipping charges and are very descriptive in your listings, there will be very few returns. Accepting returns with grace and trying to meet the customer’s needs another way can also lead to positive feedback and long-term loyalty.

Now that you are armed with these ideas, ShipStation is excited to be along for the ride helping to fulfill those massive orders as your eBay sales skyrocket!