The WOM Factor – Why ALL eBay Sellers are Not Equal


The Word of Mouth Factor

I’ve answered too many eBay’er questions over the years, its probably why I have such a tainted view on specifically eBay buyers, my personal ‘resounding’ conclusion is that they’re scared and really scared at that, almost to the point of paranoia.

In the next few minutes, we’ll be looking at the different types of buyers and a new system of gauging sellers, not feedback, but a derivative of feedback, which gives a clearer overall picture of the seller in proportion to their customers views and perception of the business. I’m calling this the WOM factor.


For multi-channel businesses, they’ll know that there are three different breads of customer and they vary enormously. These are:

#1 The Website Buyer

Website customers are the most relaxed of them all, you’ve woo’ed them with your marketing and reassured them with your subliminal security and reassurance factors. They’ll be happy with a couple of days shipping time and normal have already answered their questions before even buying from you.

#2 The Amazon Buyer

Its extremely rare to receive a question from a Amazon buyer and if you do its 99.9999999999999999999999999% of the time related to shipping or a broken item. Besides that, they’re quiet as a mouse.

#3 The Psycho eBay Buyer

I feel sorry most of all not for the sellers on eBay, but for the buyers. Mentally unhinged, these buyers are the stuff of customer services nightmares, they’re scatty and nuts, they’re lunatics and time wasters. But most of all they’re just scared.

They’re scared of being ripped off, they’re scared you’re going to steal their money and emigrate to Nigeria and then sell all their personal details to a chap in a mud hut who will spawn 10 versions of themselves as the victim.

Harsh, but that’s the kind of metal thought patterns that go through these paranoid buyers heads

Word of Mouth

This isn’t a new concept, infact its a very well documented concept, in short it simply says, that for a good experience a customer will tell two people and for a negative experience, they’ll tell 10 people.

Loss & Reward

This also sits well with the experiences of reward and loss. If I take your pet cat called “puddles” away from you right now, never to be given back, the sense of loss you will feel will be immense; However if I give you back a kitten called “Spot”, you’ll learn to love the little ball of fluff, but it will never replace puddles, who’s loss carries a far far greater sense of loss, than any gain can give.

Also word of mouth is extremely strong, companies are scared of the extremes that can occur with terms being coined such as ‘Brand Terrorists’, those customers that have been so pissed off by a business or brand, there is no stopping them ram-raiding the company or brand at any opportunity.

Inversely, when tribes are formed (Seth Godin’s input here)  “Brand Sponsors” are created, those people that are just nuts for a product or service, the most immediate example I can think of are Apple fans. I’m an Apple product fan, but I’m to the level of what I would call excessive, that some of these Apple nut-mini-Steve-Jobs are.

Using “Word of Mouth” to Measure eBay Seller’s

Its not hard to see why either, if we use the rule of that one positive comment will create 2 positive word of mouth reviews and a negative or neutral comment -10 word of mouth reviews, then its not hard to do the maths on a random selection of sellers and understand that eBay’s growth is actually tainted by its underlying feedback system and also that all sellers are not actually equal.

The DATA – Random Sellers Feedback

These were taken completely at random, I picked four categories and picked a couple of sellers for each category from the top of the list (yes I’m aware this is weighted by the best match algorithm) and included their feedback for the past 12 months and neutrals are counted as negatives.

I have not included revised feedback, I could not decide whether these were positive or negative events, so have elected to ignore them completely. If I was forced to add them, I would class them as a negative event, as it was not a “perfect” transaction, perhaps I should look at this again in a few weeks and maybe I’ll attribute a +3 or +4 to these, but for now, I’m not sure.

PS: What do you think? Post in the comments below!

Random eBay Sellers Feedback Scores

ID Positive Negative +Points -Points WOM Factor
jpe_enterprises 189 2 378 20 5.29
loco_gadgets 378 1 756 10 1.32
benthamltd 80791 1008 161582 10080 6.24
argos 259217 6181 518434 61810 11.92
xia090729 561 7 1122 70 6.24
glamorousoutlet 22585 530 45170 5300 11.73
bench_outlet 40274 530 80548 5300 6.58
bessy0302 2960 12 5920 120 2.03
online4babyltd 55870 614 111740 6140 5.49
babzeeonline 19549 217 39098 2170 5.55
tennis-deals-2008 4221 24 8442 240 2.84
poshtotz-store 5337 34 10674 340 3.19
little-devils-direct 773 10 1546 100 6.47
flyingplaneman 4765 68 9530 680 7.14
kmsdirectshops 14069 198 28138 1980 7.04
aqua_spot 894 7 1788 70 3.91
Totals 512433 9443 1024866 94430

Understanding the Data

I’m quickly adding that several of these sellers actually had either 100% or 99.9% feedback scores, this is only one factor that I am indicating in this article. While the vast majority of these sellers are above 99.0% feedback, Argos stands out for two reasons:

  1. They have a feedback score of 98.7, the lowest of the group
  2. They have the worst ratio 11.92% of WOMF

The second, is on face value an OK seller, they have a score of 99.1% currently, which is good enough and almost all retail stores in the physical world, would probably never be able to achieve this.

Glamorousoutlet are turning over a decent amount of items, with 22,585 feedback in the last year, this is probably around +32,000 orders, however they have incurred 530 negatives, or using the WOM Factor a negative score of 5300, giving them a WOM of 11.73 which when you look at Argos with their 98.4% feedback, is actually worse in proportion!

How to Calculate the WOM Factor

Calculating this is easy, you take your positive feedback for a set period of time and times it by 2, then you take the negative and neutral comments and times them by 10. Then divide the negatives by the positives and times by 100 to gain a more friendly number. In short the lower the better.


How to Calculate "The WOM Factor"


What Customers Really Think

Being able to gauge what your customers truly think of your business is stuff of marketeers wet-dreams. This new factor, I’m coining as the “WOM Factor” can be one tool in your arsenal to accurately gauge what your customers actually think of you.

To give you a measurable and a new dimension on what is just raw numbers. The WOM Factor gives you an indication of what is the actual effects and general response of your business on the outside world.

I wonder what the WOM Factor for Microsoft is?
I wonder what the WOM Factor of Apple is?
I wonder what the WOM Factor for the entire eco-system of eBay is?

Whats Your WOM Factor?

This leads to the pivotal question, whats your WOM Factor?

We (Almost) Have a Winner! – in October, one of my first articles was relating to a company called Misgguided. You can read the original article here What a Silly Design Flaw – They had just had a new website redesign, but neglected one crucial thing…

They had lots and I mean lots of keywords stuck in images.


This is a before screen shot and was the basis for the article:

Missguided Lost Keywords

Missguided With Lost Keywords Hidden in Images

Looking Closely

And you’ll see that 38 words are hidden from search engines as sadly search engines cannot read words contained in images. Yes they can read ALT and TITLE tags, but having the description on the page is far more important.

And Today We Have?

Something different. While not so pretty as the first, they’ve not only remove the text from the images, they’ve also included the category links.


We have all text now, including new category links

Superb, Yes?

Nope. While releasing the keywords from the images and adding several as links into the sub categories, we’ve reduced out keyword weighting and also reduced the appeal of the header section.

First off, we’ve lost the style of the header, namely the particularly ‘fit’ model and the accessories line. I’ve high lighted these in blue below:


Loss of Two Key Sections

Also while actually gaining two words to the word count, we’ve lost the flow of the text.


Scarves, bangles and bows… charms, belts and bags- add delightful details, luxurious lockets and perfect pearls to complete any outfit! See below for our full range of bags, belts, bangles, bracelets, eyelashes, necklaces, headbands, scrunches, watches and sunglasses.


Get the latest accessories to go with your perfect outfit. We’ve got the latest trends to complete every outfit for all occasions.

Hats, Scarves & Gloves Bags & Purses Jewellery Gifts Beauty Tights & HosieryNail Polish Hair Accessories Belts Sunglasses Slippers View All

So What Would be better?

Join the two together, just like in the original article. We take the styled images for the category header name, the model, the decent description and the raw text and combine it together so it looks something like this:


Excuse the Photoshop Skills, but it makes my point clearly


Yep. Check the top menu out, they’ve actually fixed the issue of the top tabs not being links themselves to the categories (pet hate of web designs #3, I need to find another example for this now), but have left a dead link in the header as shown in the image below.


Category Menu Dead Link

Importance of Excellent Design

The visual appeal of a website is only one part of an entire picture of how the websites performs, I’ve worked with dire looking websites that have been successful because of the other factors far out weighing the lapse in design. Its when you get everything right, is when magical things happen.

Watch This Space

So watch this space, the earlier changes did not happen by accident. If you now see these changes happen you know where they found out about them ;-)

11 Reasons Why People Don’t Buy From YOU & How to SMASH Them

In a recent white paper I was reading, a brilliant question was asked and then researched by ‘RichRelevance’ & ‘Bazaarvoice’. The paper was called ‘The “New” Rules of Engagement for Today’s Empowered UK Shopper‘ and its actually pretty darn good.

I am going to take their research and focus on one key area which I felt was skipped over, why a purchase was made offline (and not online), then port it to help you SMASH every-single-one of these reasons.

The Question That was Asked:

Thinking about a product or service you researched online and purchased offline most recently, why did you purchase that product offline?

why a product was purchased offlineI’m going to now tackle each of these with you and give you examples on how you combat these, to SMASH them to pieces and give you workable suggestions that you can implement into your business right now, today.

55% – I wanted to see the item before I purchased it

This was the biggest reason found at a whopping 55%. Quite frankly. if your customer is thinking this, then you are failing as an eCommerce business badly.

That’s a pretty harsh statement, but I stand by it. Why? Because you should know better! It has never been so easy or cheap for you to add photos, video, specifications &interactions to your products and services.

You must categorically remember that this is a flat screen (ignoring 3D) and the customer cannot touch the product or service you are offering, so this simply equates that it is your role to ensure that the customer is left without a single doubt on what he/she is going to be receiving.

47% – I wanted the product immediately

Now there are some things that people need right away, nappies when you’ve run out etc… but the majority of goods & services can be delivered almost always next day and this is again your ‘job’ to deliver and to make this delivery option clear to a buyer.

When can I get this item?

When can I get this item?

Its Friday at the time of writing this and they’re both offering me Saturday delivery…

When can I get your item?

40% – I did not want to pay shipping costs

I’ll share a personal experience here, Amazon, I buy lots of books and I mean lots, almost every single day I am scoping new books to be read. I choose Amazon for three reasons when it comes to books, these are:

  1. I trust them, explicitly
  2. I like free delivery & don’t mind waiting
  3. They can deliver to multiple addresses

Now my point here is that ‘I like free delivery & don’t mind waiting‘, now if I want an item faster then I will pay for it. So here with Amazon I have options, have postage included or for sensible prices, upgrade to expedited offerings.

If you’re an eBay seller, then there are weightings in the best match algorithm to boost you up the results, but I’d suggest still offer two more services above these and promote them heavily in your listings.

36% – It was more convenient for me to buy this product offline

You must make the interaction of, payment of, everything of, delivery of your product and services as simple, as easy, as convenient as your customers want them to be. This is achievable by a collection of several individual plans coming together as one.

I heard a quote recently that sums this up:

“You cannot improve one thing by 1000%, but you can improve 1000 little things by 1%”
Jan Carlzon, CEO SAS 1981-1994

25% – I knew it would be easier to return the product if I purchased the in the store

If you’re customer is saying this and you’re a 100% eCommerce business, then you are again failing, probably in multiple contact points.

You must make the interaction of, payment of, everything of, delivery of your product and services as simple, as easy, as convenient as your customers want them to be.

20% – I knew that I could not be home to receive the delivery

This is a valid question, the vast majority of people work for a living, which means they typically go to an office (losers). This is dead easy for you to tackle, offer delivery to work addresses.

This might send a few eBay sellers I know in to panic, but come on, fraud is not that rife and on the bright side I know where they work now! Also thinking out of the box, you could give them instructions on how to verify their work address in PayPal…

16% – I found the best price offline

This better be in your retail outlet.

16% – I needed to talk to a salesperson about the product

Email, Skype, Phone, Fax, Live Chat and on and on and on and on and on… Since day 1 our[humans] greatest ability has been to be able to communicate. You could easily add your phone number and contact details at the end of the description(s), add a clear call-to-action button for life support, do what eBuyer does and have a reviews AND a product Q&A section.

I have several other suggestions on this topic, I’ll save these for another day. Or you could just phone me and I’ll spill them, but I need to see what I am working with first on how best to deploy them.

11% – The product was not available for sale online

Woooohooo find out what this was and get it on line. I want to know what this was, any ideas?

9% – I redeemed a coupon in the store

This better be in your retail outlet, provoked from a media campaign. You have a media campaign don’t you?

5% – I prefer buying products offline.

I’m actually amazed people still choose this one. But if you do not have a retail outlet, then this should be a consideration on your road map.

Although I openly admit, I love retail stores, I love isle-ends, I love to be marketed, I like to take in and try analyse why a shop is laid out the way it is, why banners are placed where and when, to see the stocks alter with the seasons. I think that’s just me.


The survey results should not be any real surprise on what was said, just the numbers attributed to each one. Thankfully ‘I am not comfortable buying online’ was 0%, so at least there was a 100% audience.

Its extremely important that you put yourselves in the ‘shoes of the customer’ and ask yourself “If I had this concern/query does my current site/listing/item/description/marketing not only answer all of the above concerns, but smash this into dust to allow the customer to convert to become a buyer?” Think about, your buyers are. Take action now!

Business Ethics & Ones Moral Compass. Fraud &

David Wei Alibaba.comNews came out yesterday regarding the CEO and COO’s departure from amidst +1,000 customers that have been the victim of fraud. You can read two articles on this at TechCrunch and AuctionBytes.

Background has slowly been gaining pace, it was acquired by Yahoo in 2005 for a mere $1B in cash and stocks. Its a marketplace for trade between countries.It’s quite a beast and should not be dismissed for early trading.

Moral Compass

This article isn’t on the marketplace or the fraud that took place, but rather on the outcome from the news becoming public. Which provoked the the resignation of CEO David Wei and COO Elvis Lee.

Note: For those not used to these terms, CEO is ‘Chief Executive Officer’, AKA the “top dude” and COO is ‘Chief Operations Officer’, AKA “top dude’s minion” who deals with the day-to-day operations.


I’m covering a lot of ground work currently around the coveted MBA (Masters of Business & Administration) and ethics are a core part of such a program.

From what I have read and interpreted, its all about keeping ones own moral compass aligned correctly and this can actually be hard work, for which David Wei and Elvis Lee kept aligned when they accepted ownership of the failures that arose. They could have possibly come out of this with their jobs, yet chose to do the right thing.

Quoting AuctionBytes:

However, the Board accepted Wei and Lee’s wishes that they “take responsibility for the systemic break-down in our Company’s culture of integrity.” Ablibaba founder Jack Ma said the two executives were doing the honorable thing in accepting full responsibility and thanked them for their tireless service to the company.

Cannot Ignore

Whether directly or indirectly responsible, such fraud of a scale of $1.7M cannot be ignored. David Wei and Elvis Lee I suspect, must have hit their moral compasses North when this happened and woke up to the fact that as “top dude” and “top dude’s minion” they are ultimately responsible and stood down.

I’m really looking forward to the case studies in the Business Ethics section of the MBA and how it relates back to this set of unfortunate circumstances. I’m just glad to see that such a moral compass works regardless of faith or region.

Free Website Statistics Counter –

Statcounter LogoThis has been a hidden gem of mine for years. I needed a website statistics counter that was reliable and critically for me offered a hidden option, as I really did not want one of those annoying page counters at the footer of the site.

I found a few, but one stuck, that was because it offered everything I wanted and more, plus it was free, thus I have used it ever since.

Account Screen Shot

Below is a screen shot of their public example. Notice the extra menus on the left?

StatCounter Screen Shot

Differences Between Statcounter & Google Analytics

Now this is quite important, this is not Google Analytics. Google Analytics adds a much more advanced array of tools to the seasoned professional, however the differences between true web stats (server log files) and Google Analytics is huge.

Yes, there will always be a difference between every single statistics counter, but in my experience, Google Analytics only seems to capture 70% or less of the true user stats, where as StatCounter seems to reflect a much higher result, truer to the actual web logs.

Also to add Google Analytics web interface is extremely daunting to the new user, Statcounter’s is extremely simple, I like simple AND complex when needed.


If you are looking for a simple, reliable statistics counter that is extremely simple to use and implement, then is a excellent choice. Personally I suggest using this and Google Analytics to complement each other.

No, No, No. Its Your Domain Name, Use It. ChannelAdvisor Not Advised?


Channel Advisor Seller Buy4Less

Oh this made me giggle, while researching after posting the earlier article on a ChannelAdvisor customer called ‘Buy4less’ and ‘Wasting Your Most Important eBay Marketing Asset‘ I stumbled across this chestnut.

The Search Results

Click this link and let me explain the results you’re seeing.

You are seeing two things, the first is the use of the site: command, this is very useful for seeing how many pages have been indexed for a site, while not 100% accurate by Google’s own admission (see Matt Cutts from Google explain it in this YouTube video) its a great indicator and the second is a baw-drop by ChannelAdvisor for one of their featured retaliers. Let me explain.

Errr What Happended?

Now for the first link I gave, it shows lots of URL’s that have been indexed, great, but look again, the URL’s start ‘’ whats happened to the thier domain name ‘‘?

I’ll tell you what’s going with it


There is a single page for this domain indexed in Google, what they’ve done is use masking on the domain name instead of setting up a CNAME alias or similar to make the server treat the real domain name properly. So then everything starts from rather than some horrid domain path like ‘’.


If you’re using a third party tool such as Channel Advisor, don’t settle for a crap website setup, make sure everything is in your ‘domain’ name, don’t be afraid to ask for the assistance outside for unbiased views & guidance, automaton tools are only one part of your businesses success.

Getting Out of Such a Mess

If you’ve managed to do this this, don’t panic. Ask your provider to create 301 redirects for every page they’ve got to the new domain paths. The new pages on the correct domain name are forwarded from the old domain, so you are not penalised for what would-to-Google the entire site disappearing an popping up elsewhere.


I wonder how much was taken on their website last year, I wonder if anyone noticed. I suspect ‘not a lot’ of revenue was taken this year on ‘that’ site. Pity, I quite liked the visual design.

Quiet This Week I know…


There really is something about dimly lit offices on a Friday.

A quiet week this week for blog posting, I have been working on several much larger posts that have taken up the time slots I set for writing here. I’m still here honest! But the new content is not at a stage that its not publicly viewable yet.

I’d thought I would share couple of things I have been up to this week:

#1 Book: Who Move My Cheese?

Brillant little book, here is my short review:

I received a “well loved” version, but intent on following the personal recommendation of that book I had been given, decided to read it while escaping the office.

Wow, these four little characters are so true to real life, Haw who finally adapts with time, Hem in denial, Scurry, the action’eer & finally Sniff who spots change early.

Definitely worth a read, its not even 100 pages long and there is plenty of writing on the wall to help you find your way :)

#2 Updated Pages

After following my own advice, well, the explanation of how I play in ‘Be a Player not a Bystander. Get in. Get Mucky‘ I’ve updated a couple of pages on the site to a new layout style and also altered the writing style to the 3rd party, narrator style, which I felt worked well.

Take a read and let me know what you think:

There are several others that so desperately need to be worked on, but that’s OK, at least they’re there and can be expanded upon.

#3  First Proper Poem

I even amazed myself and quite a few friends, made the partner cry, even myself cry. It was an epic journey writing it. The contents are a little personal and are dedicated to my son Alex whom we lost a  few hours after birth. He would be four this year and only now am I feeling OK to talk about it openly.

I think I did OK, here goes:

I Miss You Alex

Sometimes when no one is around I cry
Sometimes when I am around people I hide the tears
Sometimes it hurts soo much
Sometimes I feel so lonely without you
Sometimes I feel really bad because I do not hurt enough for missing you
Sometimes I forget and that makes me feel sad when I remember you
Sometimes I lay in bed, thinking of you

I wish I could hold you again
I wish I could change time
I wish you were here, but you are only in my mind or in photos
I wish I could tell the person right next to me
I wish we came to see you more often
I wish you could meet your sisters, they are truly crazy
I wish these tears would not smudge the screen so much
I wish…

I just miss you Alex. I know mummy does too.

Always thinking of you,
Daddy xxx

Reading that again, I surprised myself. I do not think this will be the start of any new writing benders, I have always been challenged when it comes to the creation of ‘creative writing’ and sadly feel that it will be a short moment of clarity and will fade away faster than the drug enticed world of the patients in the film Awakenings.

#4 Reading

I’ve managed to get quite a bit of reading done this week, the first book “who moved my cheese” I mentioned above, but I have also been updating the Book & Kindle library I started a few weeks back. The plug-in used for it needed some work on the templates and I have been fixing & updating as I go.

A few books worth mentioning:

  • Tribes by Seth Godin
  • Purple Cow by Seth Godin
  • Start & run a profitable Consulting Business by Douglas Gray
  • Who Moved My Cheese by Dr Spencer Johnson
  • What They Teach You at Harvard Business School: My Two Years Inside the Cauldron of Capitalism by Philip Delves Broughton
  • Instant MBA: Think, Perform and Earn Like a Top Business School Graduate (52 Brilliant Ideas) by Nicholas Bate

#5 Google Images Spam

These media bots are a nightmare, they’re spoiling and for the past few weeks have been distorting the figures, it does not help I use a CDN subdomain for the delivery of images and finally found this .htaccess redirect to tackle the way that WordPress deals with uncreated sites:

# robots.txt
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^$
RewriteRule ^robots\.txt$ "http\:\/\/lastdropofink\.co\.uk\/robots\.txt" [R=301,L]

This needs to be added at the very top of the .htaccess file just below “RewriteEngine On” and “RewriteBase /” settings.

Google has just got the hint and the number of incoming views for just images are going down while Bing has started upping the pace. Its my own fault I add too descriptive descriptions to images, alt tags and title tags to links and I feel it only brings in leecher’s not readers so do not mind the loss in traffic.

#6 Email InBox

Oh and I cleared my email inbox, completely. Set up rules to filter everything and I’m looking at just 10 that came in this morning that need my attention.

Happy Friday!

Those that know me well, know I get quite excited about Fridays. I’m not sure why. I just love Fridays. So on that note… Happy Friday!

Image thanks to: Arenamontanus

How To: Knowing the 10 eBay Shop/Store Design Mistakes

Oh how these drive me nuts, please, please do not make the same mistakes. We can’t blame the shop owners featured in this article, they just don’t know better. You however cannot use this excuse after reading this article though!

Top 10 eBay Shop Mistakes

Here are top ten common mistakes sellers make when designing their eBay shop.

#1 The Giant Header

This award goes to

Check the header area out on this page!

Navigating the page to the line items means you need to scroll an entire page (yes an entire page I could not believe it) and more to get to them. Plus the header is on every page, so they’re all doomed pages.

Matt’s Tip: Keep your header to 250 pixels high as a maximum, anymore than this leaves the buyer having to think what to do next and we all know that’s a bad idea.

#2 The logo is not a Link

This award goes to a previous winner,

Oh how this drives me nuts, the logo in the top header should always be a link, I covered this off in an earlier article, you can see the full details My #1 Pet Hate of Poor WebSite Design

Top left logo = Link to Homepage

Never forget this. Its basic common manners on the net. Making user the think again is a bad, bad idea.

#3 No categories

phatpocket-ebay-shopAwarded to:

102,169 that is over one hundred thousand items and no categorisation?

Even adding categories by Author Name (which they have, see the listings) would help.

You can have up to 300 categories, three levels deep, there is really no excuse for this.

#4 No Description

AZCARPARTSUK-ebay-shopAwarded to:

Take a look here and note that these are anchor stores, each paying £350 a month to be in this list. Now how many have no description?

Even though this store uses a custom header, you can still fill out the shop description area, because this description is not only used in the header, the shop search page (which we just saw), but also in the meta description.


YES-4-CAR-PARTS-ebay-shopAwarded to:

Using caps lock is widely regarded as SHOUTING, also using caps lock for all the text, does not make the text clearer to the reader, it actually helps the person typing the text.

Never used excessive amounts of caps text in a description, title, or in the case the categories because its VISUALLY VERY ANNOYING.

PS. I am ignoring the image in the header that is in the header, they appear to have forgotten to re-register their domain name

#6 Paying for a design but forgetting how it will look

megabooksuk-ebay-shopAwarded to:

Never fork out cash for a design without seeing how it will look with your information in it.

I’m guessing that if this seller had realised that they have no categories and that they were not using any gallery images at all for their listings, they might have ended up with a different design and layout.

It all looks a bit bare.

#7 Forgetting the rest of the Shop

superdry-ebay-shopAwarded to:

This one is brilliant and had already earned a ribbing in six articles, you can view them here:

So what’s wrong? They have a stunning homepage, but kinda have forgotten about the rest of the eBay shop, no categories, no real header, no left navigation, just a stark white page. This is the best case of ‘homepage blindness’ I have seen in years.

#8 Not doing anything

all-your-music-ebay-shopAwarded to:

Well, lets be fair here, they did open an eBay shop, 1/10, but have left it as that. No categories, pretty sure that the default design, no description, no logo, no nothing.

Quite sad really.

#9 Main logo, not a home link

RSJ-Motor-Factors-Ltd-ebay-shopAwarded to:

Nice design, although was a contender for #10 spot, however as I was typing I spotted the issue. I recently included this in an article My #1 Pet Hate of Poor WebSite Design.

They’ve forgotten to realise that the default user action to go back to the homepage is to click the icon in the top left, the logo part where RSJ is written, sadly this entire header contains no a single link, so the browser is left flapping with no-where-to-go.

#10 No custom pages

WHATEVER-LAPTOPS-ebay-shopAwarded to:

I’m not knocking this store to much, the owner has completed a great job, added a logo, changed the header, added a shop description (not shown on this layout, but it is there), has really nice categories, two feature boxes along the top, nice product images, decent titles.

But has not picked up that there are up to 15 ebay shop custom pages to be abused.

Not making the Common Mistakes

For those eager readers, yes the lack of header logo link is here twice, it drives me bonkers, don’t do it! Its like a door to a house, but with no handles.

I know its really hard, there is normally a lot going on in a small sized business, its not surprising I was able to find all these issues in a few pages. But at least you now know what the most common mistakes are and to avoid them.

I have been working two other articles on the eBay shop, these are linked to below, the first article is already live, the second is due in the next 2-3 working days:

How to: SEO for eBay – 10 Minutes Per Day

Just because you pay eBay a fee for your eBay shop, insertion of a listing and a final value fee when items sell, unfortunately this does not mean that eBay unleash a team of experts to promote your business.

In many ways you’re left to your own devices and as long as you convert buyers now and then, it kind of keeps everyone relatively happy. But why should you be happy with mediocre?


I'd like to eat the entire cake, but I can only take one slice at a time

Cumulative effect

Once you’re in the game (see my earlier post on “getting in the game“) its only a matter of “practice to make perfect” and it does not need to consume hours each day. Just a few minutes here and there and the combination of lots of little things, make one monster!

Take this article for example, I conceived this while eating lunch on the back of a napkin, nothing major, a few notes, then prepared the layout, back filled it and this morning added some images and annotations. It is putting everything together, the idea, the notes, the layout, the back filling, the visual candy. The cumulative effect of this is the final product, this article.

Breaking it down

I was once asked this question:

How do you eat an elephant?

I paused for a few moments and honestly thought *k, that is a an enormous beast, I’m going to need a slab of garlic butter to go with that steak. While day dreaming on it for a few seconds, I was given then answer:

With a spoon

Yep a spoon. I got the point instantly. I’m hoping you do too.


See even elephants need spoonful sized mouthfulls too. Yummy. (Look at the people in the car, the dent on the roof and I'm pretty sure he's got his pinkie out too, rofl)

Only 10 minutes, set the calendar right NOW

Before you continue with this article, open outlook, Google calendar or write on your diary for the next two weeks, a 10 minute block at the same time each day, to look at and make these changes.

If you drink tea or coffee, all we’re saying is that we are going to have a quick 10 minute break, with a cuppa at a set time each day. With this done, lets dive in.

The areas of eBay to focus upon

We’re going to focus on a few key areas and then make the tasks really simple to do. These areas are:

  1. Research
  2. Listings
  3. The eBay Shop
  4. Reviews & Guides
  5. Outside of eBay


If you are just starting the ball rolling, your first few mini sessions should be focusing upon looking at your competitors and understanding how they are better than you and how you can learn from this to ultimately sell more.

Firstly we need to identify who the real competitors are, do not use gut-feel for this, use facts. Go to Terapeak/ and sign up for the ‘advantage’ account, its $25 or £16, it’ll be the best £16 you have ever spent.

Searching by category and keyword searches to find the real competitors, compile these into an excel list based upon value of turn over and make a point of reviewing each of these, noting the points you like about them and equally the points you dislike.

Oh and do not forget eBay Pulse, somewhat limited, but can help with identifying top keywords and top sellers.

Once you have found your list of true competitors, check this list once per week to see how they are doing. Then once per month, go back and review the list and see if any new competitors have arrived and track those too.

I know companies that know more about their competitors than they do about themselves. A healthy paranoia is good, although some to border on excessive.

eBay Listings

To focus on this effectively, we are going to break this down into further sections, these are:

  1. Listing Titles
  2. Listing Descriptions
  3. Additional Text

Listing Titles

Even the most seasoned sellers can improve their titles, using the research in part one, you should already know top keywords for your categories. If you only do 20 titles in the 10 minute session, in a week you would have done 100, two weeks, 200 and in a month, a staggering 800 titles. Get started now!!!!

Listing Descriptions

I’m pretty sure every single description every written could be improved in some way. Again do not panic, we’re not after the entire elephant, we’re just after a tasty spoon full. You may have already learned through research that others may be creating clearer, more friendly descriptions that what you have.

One by one, with some time. That’s all it takes.

Additional Text

I’ve added this as an extra section, because we’ve covered the main two sections, title and description, however what about the rest of the auction contents?

I’ll give you some idea on the degree of scale I was recently given from a client, there had two lines, totalling no more than than 40 words for the description. The other 1454 words were terms and conditions and other useless scary junk.

Make all other content so simple, you’re mother could read it with her glasses off. Shipping, simple, terms, simple, anything else, simple. Customers are paranoid creatures, do not scare them. Caress them with nice information. Kinda like I am doing to you now :D

The eBay Shop

Again, this needs to be broken down in to spoon sized chunks so that it can be tackled in just 10 minute chunks.

  1. eBay Shop URL
  2. eBay Shop Pages
  3. eBay About Me Page
  4. eBay Shop Description
  5. eBay Shop Categories
  6. SEO Keywords

eBay Shop URL

The first task when looking at the eBay shop is to look at the URL. If we are dealing with an extremely well known & established eBay shop, then do not alter it.

However, if you are just starting out or have only a small following, then choosing a eBay shop name, making a URL that includes a nice keyword right name is strongly advised.

Edit your eBay shop name (thus URL):

eBay Shop Pages

I have an entire article dedicated to this. You can view it here:
How To: Using eBay Shop Keywords to Leverage the Extra eBay Shop Pages
(This may not be live at the time of publishing this article)

Edit your eBay shop custom pages:

eBay About Me Page

I have this noted to dedicate an entire article to this page, however in short the eBay about me page is a very handy page, as it gives you an extra icon next to your eBay ID. Its the ideal pace to promote your business and is the only page you are allowed to include a link to an off-eBay store on.

Edit your eBay About Me page:

eBay Shop Description

The eBay shop description can appear in more than one section. The first section you need to be aware of is that its used in the meta description tag for the eBay shop, also on some eBay shop templates its also used in the header area.

You’re allowed up to 300 characters for the description. I’d suggest the first 40-50 are human readable and then the majority are a list of the brands or other unique attributes and then are ended with another human readable sentence of 10-15 words. This way it reads well for both humans (primary goal) and search engines (secondary goal).

Edit your eBay shop description:

eBay Shop Categories

You can have up to 300 categories, down three levels. Named what ever you want with in reason, up to 30 characters each. The added bonus is, that you can set separate keywords for these categories too!

Edit your eBay shop categories:

SEO Keywords

You can give each of your shop categories up to two primary keywords and six secondary keywords, plus you can specify your own keyword sets for the homepage as well.

If you are dealing with a wrath of categories you created in the earlier step, just plod your way through them, Just think in a few weeks, they’ll all be super hot, loaded keywords words and the task will be complete for a short while. Because you’ll want to be coming back to look at these again later to improve them further!

Tip! Refuse the urge spam the keywords. Think or even better, research what people are searching for an how that matches your category and match the keywords you use to the products you have in that given category.

Edit your eBay shop keywords:

Reviews & Guides

These are stellar places to pick up well targeted browsing buyers. The last time I had a stab at the reviews, I got an account to the top 100 reviewers on eBay UK. It took a lot of work and I did have a team to help me achieve this. But it can be done.

Take a look at You can review almost anything within reason. I’m not going to cover why you should be doing this in great detail here as again I have this already noted for a future article. But in short, it will help you be seen as the ‘Authority’ in your given area.

Tip: Stuck for an idea? Pick three items and say why you like one more than the others, now go!

To create your first review:

Outside of eBay

Its all about tipping the scales in your favour

I’m not going to be lame and suggest Facebook, Twitter as you already know this. What I am going to suggest is that you start your own blog, so you can talk about your items with your own community.

In short ‘blogging’ only requires some time, you have 10 minutes each day, thats all that is needed. Articles do not need to be huge like this one is, short and sweet works well too. Just be honest and show your passion.

If you’re worried about costs, do not be, here are two free options and they’re both great:


Forum posting and generally just talking about your business and products will attract people. The more you talk, the more people will follow, its quite simple.

One crucial point I feel I need to make is that you should categorically should not use paid search such as Adwords or similar to promote your eBay shop. If you are at this level, then focus your attention on a creating your own web store outside of eBay.

Again the 10 minute rule applies here too, get in and get going and by the end of the month you could have created at least 20 blog posts!


I have shown you that all you need is 10 minutes with a cuppa to make a difference. We’re not after eating the entire elephant, or a VW with two people in it for that matter, but we can have a scoop of it each day and finally reach our ultimate goal. Now go get started!

Stop - Take Action!Take Action
Now that you’ve read this article, grab your calendar and put down a 10 minute window to make one small change, you’ll be amazed at the effect of this after just a week.