eBay and Amazon must make seller holidays easier

summerIn the many years I’ve been involved with eBay and Amazon, one thing has struck me as remarkable about the cadre of small businesses who sell online: how bloody hard so many people work. I know loads of people in business, mostly small business, and the dedication is notable.

But ecommerce does seem distinct. It’s not just the amazing amount of labour that keeps an ecommerce business running profitably that I wow at. It’s also the variety of expertise every seller needs too. And all sellers require creativity and flexibility on tap. It’s a very demanding skill-set.

And that’s why in August, a holiday mindset is no bad thing. A bit of time off rejuvenates the ecommerce cells and provides some space to think too. A break is good for the soul.

So why do eBay and Amazon make it almost impossible for their sellers to completely switch off both themselves from the everyday grind and also their sales?

I was grateful to hear from one Tamebay correspondent this week with some personal reflections. He trades on both eBay and Amazon and just badly fancied a week or so off. This is what he said:

“I carefully plan things, as much as possible, so that we close eBay
down so no one can buy and also Amazon. The trouble is eBay pending echeques on PayPal and also eBay sales awaiting payment. There is also the issue of Amazon pending payments.”

“The worst, I think, is Amazon, as pending payments can take 10-12 days to clear. I asked Amazon what I could do to avoid a payment clearing halfway through my holiday and their answer was, “You can’t.”

It doesn’t seem beyond the wit of humans, or indeed eBay and Amazon folk, that more could be done to help sellers take a holiday and also be helpful to customers. Tamebay’s friend continued:

“We are a small company and try very, very hard to make sure customers are informed about holiday closures. But where we can put a nice list on our website to advise future closures, all that eBay and Amazon can manage is CLOSED. eBay lets the customer know when you will be back but Amazon offer nothing so grand.”

“Why can’t these huge organisations that are so customer orientated (Sarcastic? – Ed.) give us sellers a chance to communicate this information to the buyers?”

And that’s a plea, I suppose. All the salaried, superannuated, optioned-up staff at Bezos House and Omidyar Heights replete with expenses and sometime jollies presumably get at least 28 days fully paid holiday as just one part of their doubtless quite generous total compensation packages.

Here’s Tamebay’s challenge to eBay and Amazon staff this August. Gift those people who fuel your business and staff perks just some of the same vague rights you enjoy>> some time off.

Your mission: help a small business seller on your marketplace take a week off where they aren’t answering emails, processing sales, fearful of a bad review or an angry punter. Or even worse still: the wrath of an over zealous customer support rep condemning them for a lovely day by the seaside because they have tried their best but not met some ludicrous conditions.