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ASQ link moved to bottom of listing page

By Chris Dawson September 30, 2010 - 1:53 pm

If you’re looking to ask a question about a potential purchase then from today you’ll have to hunt for the As Seller a Question link. It’s been permanently removed from the top of the page and relocated to the bottom.

eBay say that in tests the less obvious position reduced questions from buyers with no impact on sales. Basically eBay are doing you a favour by (hopefully) reducing your workload. At least buyers will now have to scroll past your full description, even if they still don’t read it, before they can ask a question already answered in your product description.

I have to say on this I tend to agree with eBay that pre-sales questions make little difference to sales. A friend of mine once tested the impact of answering questions across two eBay User IDs selling identical product. On one ID he dutifully answered every question from buyers, and on the other he deleted every pre-sales question unanswered and only replied to post-sales questions. It made no difference to sales whatsoever (although that was before today’s communication DSR which may have been impacted).

What do you think of the new position? Do you answer questions anyway or have you turned off the ability for buyers to contact you direct from listings and rely on Auto-Answers and Customised Questions and Answers?

  • paddy
    9 years ago

    This could be a good thing. Amongst other things it is somewhat annoying when you get an ASQ asking about a the dimensions of a unit when its written quite clearly in the main body of text.

  • Jimbo
    9 years ago

    I didn’t mind the old position and I don’t mind the new position.

    Being cynacle I would say that is has been moved for the benifit of outlet sellers.

  • 9 years ago

    We are happy to communicate with buyers, they can ask what they want as long as they pay.

    Good for volume commodity sellers though I would guess which would fit in with what Jimbo said.

    OT. browsing eBay in IE today and it shows the feedback score and percentage for each seller in search results, is that new? never seen it on chrome or FF.

  • BigPoppa
    9 years ago

    My experience of questions is that if a buyer asks if we accept returns, they WILL return the item.

    …And if a buyer asks, post sale for a tracking number (chose 2nd class post) then that item WILL be lost in post.

    eBay can change what they like, move buttons etc. At the end of the day, the typical (but not all) eBay buyer is still from the same gene pool…if you know what I mean.

  • Bill
    9 years ago

    This probably explains why I haven’t received any of the daily ‘how much is shipping to my country?’ questions today (full shipping costs are always given in my descriptions).
    I have however received two questions with the seller informing me that they have ‘added x amount for postage as stated in the description – hope this correct?’
    So for me, I would say it’s a huge improvement. At least until this type of buyer discovers where it’s been moved to.

  • Matthew Ogborne
    9 years ago

    There has always been a huge difference between the number of questions from an Amazon buyer, a website buyer and an eBay Buyer.

    The simple reason for this is ‘trust’. People trust the Amazon logo, the buyers on a website have different [I’d argue lower on all counts] expectations to that of an Amazon or eBay buyer.

    But eBay buyers are generally programmed to be suspicious of eBay sellers, I’m sure 75% of the nonsense questions are really ‘are you real?, I’m scared of being ripped off’.

    Matt

    • 9 years ago

      I’m sure you are right about the nonsense questions. Interestingly, I get far fewer of them on my website than I ever did on ebay!

  • del
    9 years ago

    I don’t have any pre-sale questions as I have the ASQ turned off, it stops the silly questions.

  • I disagree that Ebay did any research or that it is right on removing the ‘Ask seller a question’ link.

    The moment Ebay removed this option of asking question before buying, our sales tanked and we almost never get any questions anymore.

    We LOVED questions! We had no interest in less questions.

    With (new) commodities type items the seller will usually get few questions, so not be affected. But that is not the case with used, old, antique, incomplete etc items. Those type of sellers are oin trouble now.

    And it is even more important to ask questions with ‘media’ type of items, like books, posters, music sheets, maps, old records, magazine and newspaper back issues etc.

    The buyers have specific needs that we can never anticipate fully, and usually it does not pay to invest in 100% laborious complete descriptions for items below $25 and/or with small margins. So those will always require ad hoc ‘details via email’.

    The implicit presumption of Ebay behind removing the ‘questions’ option is that humans are all knowing and perfect, so no questions are necessary, which is ridiculous. 80% of my customers will have very specific questions about ‘how many pages is an article’, ‘are there photos on ….’, what condition is the …..engraving in’, etc? Now they will simply abandon our store (no interest in playing detective, looking for the hidden link.

    I would not be surprised if the sales in our entire category (magazine back issues – about 800,000 items) has crashed.

    And this will also create an even worse image of Ebay, so buyers will also refrain from navigating the site further once they encounter this major barrier.

    As a ‘patch’ I have started to add a huge button ‘Ask Question’ on each listing in the ‘description field’, but it is obviously lower, so less visible.

    In short: Give us sellers back the highly visible ‘Ask Seller’ link. And, if anything, make it bigger! Learn from Bonanzle where they even have an entire very visible live chat box to ask questions. The seller is given the option to use it or not.

    But I guess giving ‘options’ to sellers instead of mandates is something unthinkable on Ebay.

    The ‘one good news’? Ebay this way is actively driving entire sizable product groups away towards specialized marketplace sites, where buyers and sellers, get the functionality and online 1-stop inventory they need. The ‘generic’ marketplace Ebay will soon be an empty shell, not meeting the needs of any product group.

  • 9 years ago

    I welcome pre-sales questions.
    It enables me to see when I missed something vital out of a new listing. I’m only human and do this more often than I should!

    For the can’t-be-bothered-to-read-brigade I have a gmail canned response that says the answer to your question is in the listing.

    And finally it gives me a chance to BBL the complete numpties before they cause me more hassle 😉

  • JohnC
    9 years ago

    And ebay moving a link is so important that they need to make an announcement!

    What next, “ebay alters the font size”?

    • 9 years ago

      I think moving that particular link is very important. Personally I’d argue that if it’s important enough to need an announcement (as it is), it shouldn’t have been moved.

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