Sunday, 20 August 2017

eBay Neighbourhood is closing down, but the Trading Assistant Directory Lives On!

Ebay neighbourhood is closing down after a beta test of the programme that has been happening over the past 12 months, the programme was not without its flaws the main one being that only private sellers could join the program, this created a few problems in the fact that anyone selling for a profit i:e selling someone else's items for a fee, in this case 40% commission is classed automatically as a business, so this is one initial huge flaw in the ebay neighbourhood plan.

Ebay Neighborhood was not dissimilar to the continuing eBay Trading Assistant programme, the main difference being that the trading assistant sets their own terms and conditions including how much it charges in fees and commissions, this is where we started out over 10 years ago.

The programme relied on ebay inviting people to the programme, it was not something that just anyone could join, unlike the Trading Assistants Programme where you can sign up to their eBay Trading Assistant directory and be found.

The ebay neighbourhood portal matched people with a seller in their area and they could contact them directly and make arrangements to sell their items for them, you can take a last look at the portal here

The trading Assistant Directory tags onto your 'about me' page in ebay near to your feedback profile (See below) or click through to the directory here

It is quite surprising how few people know that eBay have a Trading Assistants Directory considering it has been in operation for many many years, over 10 +, years but I am unsure how long exactly, unlike many other experiments that eBay tinker with such as the ebay University that is also now debunked and replaced with eBay training videos which can be found easily on Youtube (click here)

These Trading Assistants, such as ourselves are always happy to answer questions about trading on ebay or steer you in the direction of being successful for yourself on eBay or if all else fails we are happy to sell your items for you!.

If you want to know more about our services take a look at our website here where most of your questions can be answered, or pop your question below and I will be happy to furnish you with an answer or if you feel more comfortable please feel free to email me and ask me questions!.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

History Preserved, eBay's Unintended Consequences!..

One thing I love about eBay is the History that it preserves. being a huge History Lover, anything of historical value catches my eye, but some of the history floating around on ebay is quite astonishing.

I am a member of a number eBay groups on facebook, being a member of a facebook group is a valuable thing to do if you want to get serious about eBay, there are some fabulous people in those groups that share their experience and expertise around ebay and its workings, but what I love the most is the variety of ebay stores out there.

One particular eBay group has a 'share your store' post every day and some of the stores that get shared are amazing.

One particular store recently shared that caught my eye is entitled K-Town Consignments I spent quite a while browsing, with their 8,000 plus listings there is a lot get through.

What a fabulous store, the history contained in that store is amazing, here are some of my favourites.

Call me a geek but there is something very satisfactory about looking through the Vintage Collectable listings on eBay.

From Bedwarmers to Sewing Boxes, bell Boxes to Vintage Knomes, it is all there, History, preserved!...

This history that is often forgotten is no longer confined to Museums and private homes, we can all access this wonderful history of humankind thanks to eBay.

With the myriad of amazing eBay stores buying and selling pieces of timeless history instead of dumping these fabulous pieces in skips, people are making a living from them. History serving the present, while being preserved, I find it quite beautiful!...

Friday, 18 August 2017

Changing with the times!..

Over the past few months eBay has seen an amazing amount of changes going on, from new fee structures to new listing requirements, all these changes could be a make or break for any business. Here at Maine Trading we are no exception.

We have gone through some big changes, from our fee structure and returns policies, we have completely reviewed  and fundamentally changed how we work to ensure our customers benefit and our business benefits.

Some of those changes have been small but have made a huge improvement in the way we work and some have been pretty big changes which will see our customers receiving more of their earned money.

Over the past year we have been analysing our customer accounts to assess how much they receive of the money raised through sales and what I saw made me feel pretty sad. One customer only received 8% of their overall total sales the rest going out in expenses, ebay and paypal fees, postage and commissions. This of course is an exception to the rule but never the less a situation that we never want to see repeated again for any of our customers.

We feel that is by far not acceptable for any customer to be facing those kinds of returns, we knew some big changes had to come to ensure all our customers received a greater share of their profits, while keeping our costs down.

We looked at the biggest expense which was the postage, in most cases over 60% of revenue raised went on postage costs this is without the paypal and ebay charges that go on top.

We looked around and found the cheapest postage options that gave the most reliable service and best insurance protection, we weighed up the benefits of fast and free service which for the benefit of a small percentage off the ebay fees charged we found was not worth it, not only in terms of the threats to our business metrics if we could not fulfil the 1 day deadline, but the cost of that service that the customer did not pay for despite trying to hide it elsewhere in the cost of the item sold, the price we receive for the items would not withstand the pressure of the extra cost.

Over the past few months we have tested out new postage costings on our listing which cover all associated postage costs from packaging to ebay and paypal fees and we have found that in actual fact despite postage costs being more for the end consumer it has made no difference to our rate of sales, in fact despite making similar volumes of sales the returns have been at a much better margin.

We did spend the past 6 months using the eBay postage option to see how it went and found that not only did it cause our postage bill to be much much higher than we have ever paid before, it also created more problem deliveries, while the cash flow release with their pay monthly option was a great idea and did generate a good cash flow, it caused far to many problems for us to consider keep using it.

The loss of items that occurred despite still being with Hermes was like nothing we had seen before, lots of people complaining that their item had not turned up, despite tracking stating delivered or items being damaged. This was quite interesting to watch as while going direct to Hermes or using Parcel2go none of these problems arise. I have still not worked the reason out other than the fact that ebay go through Hermesworld and the other goes through myhermes, what the difference is between them I have no idea.

Another of the changes we have gone though is a change to our commission fees, we have started to charge a flat fee of 35%, again through the analysis of the statements from the past year the low returns the customers had been receiving we felt were unfair.

To achieve this we have had to ensure that our own stock levels are forever increasing, this allows us to absorb any insertion costs that arise from listing on ebay, our customers now pay no insertion fee at all. The commission fee incorporates the paypal and ebay fees that are charged in association with a sale, including any postage fees, so rather than charging the customer 20% commission and a further 10% to account for ebay FVF and 3.4% Paypal Fees and a further listing fee, leading to us having to create complicated statements every month, we can now issue the customer with a simple statement with a commission fee of 35% all inclusive and not charge insertion fees, this has the added bonus that statements are now far simpler and quicker to raise.

We feel this is a massive change and one of our best changes as opposed to the customer receiving anything from 8% upwards after the extraction of expenses, they will now receive 65% of the final sale, in addition to this we have changed how we deal with returns. 

As we all know returns are a massive part of any business and can cause our customers frustration with the costs associated with those returns and the inconvenience of not knowing what their percentage rate of return will be, so we have changed this so that we take all risk associated with those returns. If an item is to be returned we will still pay our customer the final costs minus our commission, we will then deal with that return as if it was one of our stock items and transfer ownership to ourselves and either re-sell the item to try to recover some of the return expenses incurred or dispose of the item. Thus removing any anxiety our customers could face while we have to deal with returns on their items. Both the end consumer gets satisfaction knowing they have hassle free returns and our customer has satisfaction that any sale we make is final and returns are not their problem.

Further changes we have made are to the way we spend time listing, instead of listing and bagging we now just box instead of bag. and we have started to use a white background and give more detail to the listings.

One change that ebay have made and are currently implementing will not affect us too much, is the use of EAN numbers, as we list mainly used items the use of EAN numbers is not something we have to be too concerned about as our category of used is exempt from those changes, for now at least!.

In addition to those changes we have been busy creating this blog and have updated the website so this has been a very busy few months over the summer slump in sales. Despite the low sales we have used the time wisely in preparation for the Xmas boom.