eBay says: treat new buyers “with a little extra TLC”

By Dan Wilson August 3, 2017 - 12:02 am

Last week eBay held their conference-cum-jamboree in the US which is billed as eBay Open. Rather like eBay Live! way back when, it’s where sellers and buyers gather to learn and celebrate their businesses and eBay. If you click on the link above you’ll find some videos (sadly unembeddable on here) including a keynote from eBay CEO Devin Wenig. Needless to say there is rather too much schmaltz for European sensibilities but it’s quite an interesting watch.

(As an aside, it’s worth noting that when Devin reminds the crowd of mostly sellers that they have managed to remove third-party listings across the site gets a decent whoop of approval. There hasn’t been any noise as to whether that will be coming to the UK. It would surely be welcomed.)

One other talk was from Hal Lawton, who heads up the North American division of eBay’s business, and he was talking about the new buyers (who will likely also become sellers on some level). It’s worth noting that 14 million people became have joined up and become new active buyers and sellers over the period of 2015 to 2017.

Wth specific reference to zero-feedback buyers, Lawton told eBay Open: “How about we all make a commitment that as we see them, we reach out, we treat them with a little extra TLC, because they’re the heartbeat of the next 5 to 10 years of eBay.”

He also noted that sellers had remarked to him that dealing with the rookie buyers is often an “uncomfortable” experience. It seems correct to point out newbie buyers will fall into two categories. Those who are genuinely green and (a doubtless much smaller number) who are ne’er-do-wells starting up a new account

It doesn’t seem to us that, especially considering that buying is really very simple, that newbie buyers are a particular problem. And knowing sellers as we do, they will usually cheerfully help the genuinely befuddled and confused. It’s not a complaint that we do seem to hear often though, that newbies are a pain. But you’re at the coalface, are new buyers much of a problem?

  • Northumbrian
    12 months ago

    Be it New or old buyers, eBay need to support sellers! with buyers who don’t understand or from confusion
    Impact a sellers ability to trade,
    Till they do ,we treat new buyers with extreme caution

  • Stuart
    12 months ago

    Happy to treat new buyers well, however ebay don’t help. Typically example last week, customer purchased an item for £4.99 with free 2nd class post. Called up to say their item hadn’t arrived 2 days later as ebay said it would arrive and it was a birthday present. Why hadn’t we got tracking, why had it not arrived, please send another on a next day delivery!

    Zero chance of ever making money with stuff like this going on, every single day.

    • 12 months ago

      Totally agree

      Ebay sets the sellers up to fail, and therefore also sets the ebay buying experience to fail, with it’s unrealistic ETA dates to buyers and a lack of sales push for faster/tracked delivery options, which most of us offer, but are seldom taken up by buyers.

      I had someone order a similar priced item on Tuesday evening (so goes in the post on Wednesday), that they left a message with saying it was needed for Friday at the latest. It’s listed as 2nd class standard for the free delivery. Did they splash out the extra 40p for first class upgrade? No, of course not. Assuming they gave it any thought at all, they’re relying on it arriving on the second day of a 2-3 day delivery service. It may well get there on Friday and in time for them, but it’s 50/50 really, and it won’t actually be “late” if it arrives on the Saturday, though doubt they’ll see it that way.

      Is there a solution? Possibly. As sellers, ebay sends us those “Top tips for selling your items on eBay” messages once a month. The messages aren’t anything new or useful for the experienced seller, but why not do something similar for the unexperienced buyers? If they could get it across to them that, ETAs are estimates only and any delays are largely down to Royal Mail, that buyers can improve the odds of getting important deliveries on time by upgrading, that they can track items by paying for the tracked service, buyers and sellers would all be better off for it.

    • Ian A
      12 months ago

      If ebay gave sellers more discounts and incentives and didn’t charge fees on postage, chances are sellers would be able to send 1st class instead of 2nd resulting in a better experience for the buyer. Crazy idea I know. Or maybe ebay could use their financial might to do a deal with Royal Mail for its sellers?!

    • james
      12 months ago

      ebay used their “might” do do a deal on collect+ and SWORE they were doing so with no profit and passing on all savings, as a service, blah blah blah.
      buying a label off ebay costs 150% to 200% of what it costs for me to get it myself, and i dont have 1% of the “might” of ebay.
      the less they interfere and skim even more margin off us the better.

  • steve
    12 months ago

    new buyers can and often do need help. A simple phone call is the usual solution, but how to get your number to them…..

  • james
    12 months ago

    very seldom do i have a 0 feedback confused buyer.
    regularly i have people with 100+ feedback tell me they dont know how ebay works.

  • Northumbrian
    12 months ago

    Its the buyers that know how ebay works that we have trouble with,
    Can you send a return shipping ticket,
    I have not received my item,
    The box was empty,
    We await your solution before we comment on your feedback profile,
    Were disappointed, We feel a partial refund would conclude this transaction ,
    Etc etc etc

    *****Awaits usual platitudes from Mr P****

    • Alan Paterson
      12 months ago

      @ Northumbrian – lol – Actually I agree with you on this one. You have covered all my “pet hate” ebay messages. Fortunately we are in a category that doesnt get much abuse but I sympathise for sellers on higher ticket price items.

    • Rob
      12 months ago

      Each day get at least 2 – 3 messages asking for money of buy it now items. Have asked a few whats the reason they would like money off. If local and want to collect then not a problem can take a little off for postage or if wanting to buy more items then consider it. But usual reply is because thats all I can afford. Then they get offended if you reply with sorry as a business I can’t afford to give things away.

  • Toby
    12 months ago

    oh how i feel the pain stated here…. Im sick of what sellers can do for buyers, how about what ebay can do for their customers (SELLERS!).
    Just as my mind gets to grips with the flood of INR scammers, then they change tactics and now we are being bombarded with not as described etc to get free returns.
    You try to ask them what is wrong etc…. all you get is silence. So you message again… silence. Then it times out and they escalate it! now ok on occassion ebay have refunded out of their pocket rather than mine… but its just rewarding an obvious scammer. Silence means scammer 99.9% of the time.
    So where do i find the time to help all these new buyers ? Will they have the time to even listen, after all they didnt have the time to read all the help pages as to how to use ebay!? Nope, sorry im too busy filing UPI disputes, replying to questions about stuff that is clearly written in the description ( dont get me started on thsi!), dealing with scam inr, scam not as described, or just plain b.s…. it’s a miracle i get time to actually pack and post anything. The really bad thing is it seems to be getting worse each year.

    • james
      12 months ago

      dont know how many times i’ve replied to a case and been ignored,
      4 reminders from ebay to respond to the case i’ve already responded to,
      no reply for a month, even if i follow up with “can you please get back to us”?
      customer then replies on the very last day before expriry, at 11.59pm, and escalates the case, only to have ebay find in the buyers favour instantly (like the same minute, not even long enough for a human being to read the messages contained within).