The online marketplace known as eBay has been around for so long that people may have been taking it for granted at this point. Despite that, there are plenty of people whose lives are pretty much integral with the website. Some buy whatever they need from it, while others sell there on a regular basis. While most people either occasionally render services there or just browse around every now and then, those who do use the site regularly do have to care about their own reputations within it.
Much of that reputation is acquired through feedback, whether as a buyer or a seller. For this guide, we shall mostly focus on the eBay seller's side of things. Ideally, eBay feedback is a two-way street, wherein both buyer and seller leave each other feedback to help one another. Adding to that may be the first step for you to get more positive feedback on eBay, but there's a lot more to that.
The importance of positive feedback on eBay
As an eBay seller, you are reliant on your reputation in the website to make sales. A big part of that reputation is the feedback you get from customers, and they can either be positive or negative. Positive feedback can neither be blatantly asked for or taken lightly as it's supposed to be received honestly and organically. You earn positive feedback by selling good quality items and offering ample customer service.
On the other hand, eBay buyers also rely on the same thing to be seen as customers worth considering when an auction bid or purchase is made by them. Being a consistently bad buyer on eBay can reflect poorly on you and your reputation in the site, racking up negative feedback from irate sellers who get burned by bad buying behavior.
There are eBay sellers who end up selling their accounts with high feedback scores for a good chunk of money. While it's certainly not something that should be encouraged—in fact, it directly goes against terms and conditions—it does illustrate just how important high feedback scores are in eBay. It's a fact that accounts with high feedback scores get more bids and sell more items.
How eBay feedback system works
The Feedback score is the number in parentheses that's right next to an eBay member's username. It's ubiquitous to one's identity in the site, thus cementing its importance in the eBay ecosystem and how the community views you.
It's required by eBay to have buyers rate sellers in four areas—item as described, communication, shipping time, and shipping and handling charges. In order to get positive feedback, you must do well in all four criteria.
Become familiar with how the eBay feedback system works.
There are three types of Feedback you can receive in eBay—positive, negative, and neutral. The Feedback score is accrued from the number of positive, negative, and neutral Feedback ratings received over time. Sometimes, you may also see a star next to the Feedback score.
A higher Feedback score means the user has received more positive ratings. As that Feedback score goes up, the star changes color. A Feedback score of at least 10 gets you a yellow star, and it can go all the way up to a silver shooting star, which corresponds to a score of 1,000,000.
The seller's Feedback score is raised or lowered by a total of 1 point, based on the number of positive and negative feedback. If the seller gets more positive feedback compared to negative feedback from the same buyer in the same week, the seller's Feedback score is raised by 1 point; and vice versa.
A short comment can also go with the feedback, containing more details about the transaction. Both the feedback and the comment are then permanently kept in the record. Buyers are given 60 days from the end of the auction to leave feedback.
Viewing other users' ratings in the Feedback Profile .
If you wish to know more about another user's Feedback rating, click on the Feedback score next to the username. You may also search a member's username in the Find Feedback page to view that person's Feedback Profile.
You can then see not only the score, but also the percentage of positive ratings, recent ratings, comments, bid retractions, and so on. You can learn more how that person is as an eBay user through this method.
How to get more buyers to post positive feedback
Sell only quality items.
Most eBay sellers are usually just getting rid of extra stuff they don't need, and that's perfectly fine since that's what eBay is mostly for. However, you wouldn't want to sell items that are too far gone or just look too bad of a shape to even be usable. This is even more important for those who are looking to get serious on eBay as selling things that are sub-par even for second-hand items will be seen as poor form.
No one wants junk, so at least be able to spruce it up and make it look nice. However, make sure you are telling the truth when it comes to its condition. If an item is well-worn, don't say it's barely used since that would be an outright lie. Tell the truth about the condition of the item, then clean it up and present it in as best as you can. If it's too far gone, then don't sell it on eBay at all then.
Package items nicely.
Speaking of presenting items as best as you can, being able to package them well can add to the overall quality. If you're just a humble seller starting out with not a lot of resources, putting them in clean Ziploc bags should suffice for small items and boxes with packing material for larger ones. Just make sure to not use newspaper as packing material since the ink could get on the item itself.
But once you start getting more serious and have more resources at your disposal, you may now want to have more proper packaging with your brand on them. This conveys a more professional look that can show just how well you can handle business and serve customers.
In any case, good packaging can convince buyers that you're a seller worth buying from again. They may also tell other buyers about you, recommending your wares and services for their own needs. Through this and your improving Feedback score, your endeavors in eBay can gradually improve over time.
Deliver on time.
This is pretty much the most important thing as a seller on eBay. Delivering your goods on time consistently is the biggest factor when it comes to getting positive feedback. With shipping, that's up to the shipping company, postal service, or whatever else is chosen to deliver the goods overseas. However, you can still do what you can on your end to hasten the delivery.
Simply by processing the order as quickly as you can helps greatly. Most of the time, whenever an item takes a long time to get to its destination, it's mostly because it hasn't left its place of origin for a long time due to processing hangups.
If you are able to smooth out the paperwork and logistics on your end, you can make your operation much more efficient. Items can then reach buyers sooner and they'll surely be thankful for it.
Don't skimp by shipping differently.
Listing one shipping method that a buyer opts for, then shipping it a different way to save money—that is an absolute no-no. Not only is that an act of dishonesty and unfairness, it can also reflect very badly on your reputation. It's not that hard for a buyer to figure out you lied to them this way since they'll know upon receiving the item that the method of shipping was not what they chose.
If the shipping option they chose is the fastest one, it has to get to them as quickly as hoped. That only means you should do as you say and ship it through those chosen means. Since the buyer would pay for the shipping anyway, it's not like it's a loss for you to do so. Doing it a cheaper way in foolish defiance does earn you a few more dollars, but you'll soon see your Feedback score dip down.
Have a solid return policy.
You conduct business long enough and you'll soon encounter a case when the buyer receives a product that is faulty or damaged. The contingency is to have a good return policy that allows the buyer to return the item and receive an identical one that's perfectly fine.
It may be a bit of a hassle, but it's way better than having buyers be stuck with defective products (or salvaged products) that they paid good money for in the end. If they're able to get replacements or get their money back quickly, then they'll be pleased that they were given a chance to not regret their transaction with you, which should then still reflect well in their feedback.
You must communicate with the buyer at every stage of the purchase.
This is because customers will get anxious once they've made their payment, and every minute they haven't gotten their hands on what they just paid money for without any information takes away from your trustworthiness.
Therefore, you must always be in contact with them in order to ease their anxieties and assure them of the proper delivery of their purchases. Make sure that they knew the tracking number of their purchase as well so they can be updated of its status as it's being shipped.
Buy from top rated sellers every now and then.
Do this in order to observe and learn from how they conduct their business. Not only will you see how on top of their game they are, always responding in time and answering all questions concisely, but also do certain things that you may want to do as well in order to take your own eBay business further.
Ask for Feedback Indirectly
When it comes to physical purchases, even when done online, it may seem like poor form to do direct calls-to-action. Even when most people think it's alright when done online, the nature of eBay Feedback makes CTAs seem somewhat ungraceful. It's much better if you ask for it indirectly instead with various means.
The most obvious way is to simply express how you wish they're satisfied with their purchase. If they have not paid yet, you can kindly remind them of it. If they haven't given a feedback after a month, you can send an email asking if they're satisfied with everything thus far. If you're employing drip email marketing, this can be automated for you, although it can be done just as well manually.
Prepare email templates that can then be easily customized for each buyer.
For instance, you can have one informing the buyer that their item has been sent out, and it can then include the item's tracking number. The main body of the email can be written in advance, with blanks wherein you can enter the necessary information.
That information may include buyer's name, address, item bought, and tracking number. If you plan to employ email drip marketing later on, this process can be automated for you.
Don't procrastinate on buyer issues.
While it may seem irritating to deal with buyers who can be described as "clients from hell", that temporary annoyance is nothing compared to the blemish of negative feedback. Therefore, you can't just put off complaints about things like delays in shipping, the need to replace a product, or so on.
A big part of the feedback you get is on the customer service your buyers receive from you, so it's paramount that you attend to their every need once they have initiated a transaction with you. In the end, you do it all for the long term in the name of your business.
Include a note with the purchase.
This is something extra you can do to make things a bit nicer. You can have a note—hand-written if you have the time—included within the package to thank the buyer for choosing you and to add details regarding the purchase.
Whatever last bits of detail you wish to impart to the buyer regarding the item, you can put in here as a last little attempt at ironing kinks out and to show appreciation. It's that extra bit of effort that may make things even better between you and your buyer.
Being able to gain a good reputation on eBay is virtually everything for you as a seller, and you must be willing to do whatever you can to get that and maintain it. Good customer service is the root, and a good Feedback score is the fruit that your eBay business can potentially yield. As long as you're able to maintain a good standing in eBay, it's a gift that can keep on giving.