Custom made items and eBay On-Time deliveries

We’ve had a number of comments from Tamebay readers who manufacture hand made or personalised items to order and how they can meet eBay’s new On-Time delivery metric.

It’s an acknowledged issue and one that in the real world is quite difficult to solve. Ideally, as you often see on ecommerce sites that specialise in personalised goods, the customer would be able to add their text or upload images to be reproduced on goods at the time of order. The order isn’t considered as placed until the required uploads are in place and orders can’t be placed with uploads missing.

That’s just not going to happen on a marketplace so orders are considered as placed before customisation uploads are collected. Sellers then have to communicate with their customers to gather the text or images, often supply proofs and wait for approval before production can begin, and of course that introduces delays.

If an order wasn’t considered as placed until proofs were agreed then sellers of these type of goods would have no problem meeting On-Time delivery metrics, but whilst some buyers are responsive and will instantly supply the uploads and approve a proof, with other buyer the process may take a few days or even a week.

eBay have just shared some reassurance from the eBay Shipping team which will be of interest to all sellers of personalised or made to order goods:

I sell custom-made or hand-made items, and sometimes need to ship items later in order to customize the order. Does that mean my shipment will be considered late?

For custom or made-to-order items, you should specify a longer handling time in your listing so that you have enough time to customize the order per your buyer specifications. If are unable to meet the handling time because of a buyer’s specific request for customization, or if they are slow in sending you through customization specifics, make sure you let your buyer know via member-to-member messaging that shipment will be delayed, and confirm that the buyer is fine with the delay. If your shipping performance is negatively impacted as a result of the delay in shipping, you can contact eBay Customer Support and we will review and remove the late shipment if we find that it was a result of the buyer’s request for customization.

This still isn’t perfect, but in essence selling personalised goods on eBay is a bit like fitting the proverbial round peg into a square hole. The good news is that eBay are listening to the concerns of sellers and want to find ways to work with them to ensure that they can be successful on the marketplace and not penalised for providing the best service possible within the constraints of collecting the personalisation information.