First, let me start by stating that I do not know everything and what I do know could be chalked up to personal experience, study of history and possible heavy drinking in moments of despair. On the bright side, I don't drink heavily but once every 10 years...I think it's tied to some solar/lunar activity.
Okay on with the ramble.
When I first read about eBay's revision to its Feedback system and Fee schedule, I shared in the outrage with some sellers on this community forum and a couple of others. Immediately I was brainstorming on ways to combat not just the new fees (which I found later was very easy), but to combat the new Feedback Rules. My first idea was a bit over the top and user:JeffS pointed out some good points on it and I backed away from it. However, I did not back away from brainstorming a solution.
So here I am to share my ideas with you as a community. Not to try and convert you or convince you that it is a good plan. Just that it is a plan and hopefully a well thought out plan.
There is no way to take down eBay Inc. No protest, no boycott will sway their dance of death. It simply is.
I have chosen to sell on the Internet. My choices are clear. I can invest a HUGE amount of time and money in my own eCommerce site, advertising, learning all the tricks of the trade to get my search tags higher and higher on the almighty Google Search Machine, (GSM). HA! I don't have the time or money friends. I'm sure it is fun and challenging and believe me I am working towards that goal. I think every serious merchant should. It's like buying your house vs renting.
eBay for me is the only real solution right now. It takes money to make money. Do I believe they are trying to get rid of certain sellers? Hmmm.. yes and no. I think they want to get rid of the pirates. Of course when you sink a pirate ship, sometimes you kill the slaves below deck and the boys they have on board. So some 'good' small sellers will be hurt and perhaps killed in this process. However, with a bit of imagination and courage, we can prevail and continue to sail.
1. eBay's Feedback Rules 'Revised'
I've decided that the way to beat this revision is to embrace it fully. Embrace it so much so that I will actually advertise my full support of the feedback system. My new Seller Profile is almost complete in which I state that I welcome ALL feedback. I WANT Positive, Neutral and NEGATIVE. Yes, I said WANT. I go on to say that we believe the only true way to gauge a company is by an overall feel of its customers.
This is how I came to this conclusion. I work part-time in a retail store. In this store we get every walk of life as a customer. The mom with her kids, the dad who is on his day off trying to get something done but really wants to watch the game by 3pm, the drugged out wanderer looking to steal something so he can return it without a receipt for a quick $5, the know-it-all customer who is not convinced you should be working there cause well..he knows-it-all and you don't know jack. I began looking at all these customers as my customers on eBay. I can put a face to them now when I read their emails and feedback. You can do all the right things, but sometimes you still have that customer storming out of your store yelling at how $@!*$@# retarded you are and how he will never shop here again! However, I have had customers come up to me and say, 'Man that guy is a jackass, I would have jumped him if he came at ya". NOW BACK UP! Do you understand what that customer just said? He would risk bodily injury for me if another customer attacked me without warrant!
Okay so ya ya , where is this going? If you embrace the NEGATIVE feedback, welcome it and WANT IT! The potential customer will see right through any negative customer. They will ignore it in many cases and look at the guy willing to take a bullet for ya and understand this place is a good place to shop and won't be too worried why the guy storming out was pissed. They will chalk it up as he was crazy and look over at me and think, "Oh!, that poor merchant! Let me buy something"!
So, we are embracing it, we are going to do everything we can to make negative feedback unimportant. We will demonize it by sleeping with it, we will take its power away by making it a joke. That all we care about it making sure that the customer is satisfied with the transaction even if they leave NEGATIVE. That we will still give POSITIVE feedback to them for the transaction.
As for the DSR's, we have embraced that as well. We have created a 'We hope we earned 5 Stars' Coupon Appreciation flyer that will be mailed out with every invoice. In it basically we tell the customer that our goal was to make this the easiest online experience possible and we hope we did our job! Give us 5 Stars and we'll give you 35% of your next purchase! (can I verify they gave me 5 stars? NOPE. It doesn't matter. Perhaps they 'think' I can find out. But that doesn't really matter either. The point is... they have a REAL reason to visit my store again and save money.)
Okay so you get the idea. This is the direction my company is going to combat this new eBay Feedback Rule Revision.
2. eBay Fees
I simply do not have enough information on this yet. I will watch my profit margin over the next few months and see if there is a real change. If there is, I will make adjustments where needed. One thing I did do was go with a Merchant Account. I'm no longer 'PayPal Preferred'. We still accept it of course, but now that we have our own Merchant Account we are pushing that. This should save us money in the long run. I think it brings a certain level of professionalism to the table when you can offer that. I also opened up my store to 'Money Orders, Cashier's Checks and Personal Checks (Personal checks have qualifiers and restrictions). This option was actually hard for me to do. I don't like the idea of having this stuff mailed to me. However it came down to, "Do I really want to shut the door to these potential customers"? Nope. I just have to be smart about it.
Why am I sharing this? Well, to be honest I have always shared ideas. I hope some of this makes sense, I hope some of you can find something to use out of it for your benefit. I haven't seen anyone really post real possible solutions to combat eBay's revisions. I hope this is a beginning and we open up some serious dialogue. No rants or yelling.
I would like to see this thread remain respectful.
Thank you for your time.