The Perfect Ebay Buyer. Fact or Fiction?

Posted in Ebay Business at 10:06 pm by tywiggle

I have been a Powerseller on eBay since the late 90′s. During the journey I have learned many things and have experienced the very extremes of humanity, from the utmost in decency to the most absurd and asinine behavior known to man. At the peak of fun and prosperity on eBay (which I feel are days never to return), I experienced a level of sales that resulted in eBay fees totaling to what most Silver Powersellers do in gross monthly sales. Currently, I have a greatly reduced presence on eBay, but still maintain several modest stores that are in the Silver to Gold Powerseller range. Over the past years, I have formed a great number of well earned opinions. This discussion answers a simple question that every eBay seller should pose to themselves: What should be expected from an eBay buyer?

A common misconception shared by many buyers on eBay is that once they have paid for a transaction, their job is done. I have paid you “oh so quickly”, so just where is my feedback, you silly seller? Don’t you know how eBay works? This belief is held not only by the ever present crowd of “newbie” buyers, but also by veteran buyers with large numbers of feedback. These veteran buyers are generally not experienced in selling but still feel they are eBay experts. I believe that payment is only the first step. I believe that too many over-zealous sellers have enabled buyers to falsely hold expectations beyond the realm of reality for volume sellers. Many buyers simply do not understand what a seller goes through to make a transaction work. Smaller sellers may not ever reach the rather minimal volume of one thousand a month in gross sales for 3 consecutive months to reach the level of a Bronze Powerseller. Many of these smaller sellers are stay at home types that eagerly await an actual buyer. With a completed payment comes much, much gratitude and an eagerness to provide a pleasant experience for the buyer. In fact, whatever the buyer wants the buyer can have. The buyer wants shipping charges below actual costs or even free. The buyer wants the shipment to leave instantly after payment, which is to include weekends and holidays. The buyer wants the absolute lowest price possible, again, as close to free as possible. The seller may just do everything they can to accomplish this ideal for the buyer. Bottom line? Profit? Well, what does that have to do with anything? Thousands of transactions like this happen every day on eBay. Hence some eBay buyers’ expectations being held beyond the realm of reality.

If these smaller sellers can be set aside, we can consider the Bronze and Silver powersellers. I consider these the true heart of Ebay. These sellers probably have a different perspective than the average eBayer. They most certainly have more insight than the eBayer who has never sold. They have a more consistent volume of sales to contend with as they face the many challenges of internet based selling. They have met these challenges by understanding their buyers and have put systems and processes in place to serve their buyers. If they are meeting the powerseller requirements with many small to medium transactions, they probably will agree with the following assertions.

  • The buyer must please read the listing. Again, read the listing. The whole listing. A reasonable amount of information is available for the buyer’s enjoyment and education.
  • The buyer must please, after reading the listing, comprehend and understand said listing and the terms set forth within.
  • The buyer must please understand what the item is. It is described in the listing. Accurately described.
  • The buyer must please understand what the shipping terms and charges are. They are described in the listing. Accurately described.
  • The buyer must please understand that the above mentioned shipping terms will affect the delivery time. If the least expensive method is used then delivery time will be slower than the more expensive options.
  • The buyer must please understand that shipping services and packaging cost money.
  • The buyer must please understand that once the package leaves the sellers possesion, the seller has no control over the package. It will arrive when the decided upon carrier and method completes the delivery. Persistent emails will not change this fact.
  • The buyer must please pay on time and without having to have their hand held throughout the entire purchase. Many previous buyers have accomplished payment without any interaction or custom step-by-step instructions. Payment can be accomplished by walking through the steps.
  • The buyer must please conduct themselves in a reasonable and respectful manner at all times.
  • The buyer must please maintain reasonable, two-way communication at all times.
  • The buyer must please have a working email address that accepts emails from the seller. Spam or bulk mail folders must please be checked if emails are not being received.
  • The buyer must please not conduct any type of fraudulent activity. Please do not charge back, steal from, cheat or blackmail the seller.
  • The buyer must please leave positive feedback if the transaction has been completed in a reasonable way and according to the terms stated in the listing.
  • The buyer must please understand that the world is not perfect and mistakes happen to everyone.
  • The buyer must please communicate any dissatisfaction to the seller and allow for things to be remedied in a fair and timely manner.
  • The buyer must please understand the transaction is not completed until feedback is left by the buyer. This indicates to the seller that the buyer is satisfied.
  • The buyer must please understand that feedback is a voluntary opinion. Feedback is not a requirement on the part of a seller. Seller’s feedback is not a right for the buyer. Please do not pester the seller for feedback.
  • The buyer must please understand that they are not the only buyer on earth and that their concerns will be dealt with as soon as possible.

A buyer that meets the above criteria is indeed a perfect buyer. This is the type of buyer that any business, on or off of the internet, should appreciate and strive to keep. The vast majority of buyers on eBay are the perfect buyer. I would personally say that well over 90% of those we encounter make the grade. What about those ever abundant and joyful buyers that come up a bit short of ideal? Well, that is another discussion for another day. Please stay tuned.

2 Comments »

  1. Bobbi Clinger said,

    August 10, 2007 at 11:13 am

    PLEASE convince ebay to make this a required tutorial before even placing a bid, and do it now! You have spoken my thoughts.

  2. Carrie Wigal said,

    August 10, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    I have another one to add…The buyer must understand that the seller has a life outside of their particular eBay transaction and be respectful of that. This includes not demanding to resolve an issue over the phone when they’ve clearly called at a bad time (ie. babies screaming in the background, during the family mealtime hour, when you’re about to walk out of the door to meet a pre-scheduled appointment, etc.).

    Oh, one more…The buyer must understand the seller does not sit at the computer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week waiting to instantly respond to emails. Please allow a reasonable amount of time for emails to be answered.

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