Matthew is an eBay Expert & consultant with over 10 years of experience on eBay. Has worked for two eBay auction management companies and has helped hundreds of eBay based businesses sell on eBay, including his own for 3 years.

Having run his own business on eBay UK for 3 years, been featured on BBC News 24, BBC Radio 4 “In Business” with Peter Day and also featured in the Sunday Times.

eBay Top Rated SellerHosting the very first eBay PowerSellers meeting of its kind in the UK, attended by eBay, which then lead to the eBay university program. Then working for the USA auction management company (now owned by ChannelAdvisor) here in the UK and then later on another eBay listing software company, Matthew has probably seen more eBay based businesses outside the confines of eBay than anyone else in the UK.

Matthew takes a different approach to eBay and it really shows in the articles he writes. eBay is just a sales channel, admittedly a rather large one at that, but this should never be forgotten and he knows that its all to easy to become caught up in a whirl-wind of noise that is generated by selling on eBay and does his best to help keep your feet on the ground and focus at the job at hand, making more profit.

Its unlikely you’re going to ask Matthew something he does not already know about eBay, you can contact him on his dedicated Contact Matthew page.

Select Exactly the RIGHT eBay Store Subscription Level For Your Business

We can be easily confused by which eBay shop subscription level our eBay store should be on, it’s not clear unless you do the maths and the extras features only confuse matter. The difference in combined prices for eBay store descriptions could cost you thousands

In this guide I’ve made a simple table for you to use for all the international eBay sites and make it super clear so that you can choose exactly the right eBay store subscription level that suits your business.


Pick the CORRECT eBay Store Subscription Level

Next year after the recent eBay updates  it’s going to be come a little more tricky with the increased international site visibility for eBay Stores and because this is happening, part of one of the guides I have been writing will be out of date by the spring of 2013.

Between now and then there is still some confusion kicking around as it is not clear which eBay store subscription level you should be on as we are shown numerous different features of eBay Stores and it’s not apparent which level one should choose.

So let’s make this really easy for you, the only factor that dictates which eBay Store Subscription level that you should choose is….

The number of listings you make and run each month

It’s that simple, no other upgrade option until Spring 2013 warrants you moving up a subscription level  because it all comes down to listing fees. The higher the number of listings you make for FixedPrice/BIN “Good Till Cancelled” listings determines which shop level you should be on.

So the table that will tell you which eBay Store  subscription will need updating for next year, but for now below is table that shows you exactly which shop level you should be on based on the number of eBay listings you make each month.

I have included the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Germany, Spain, Italy and Australia eBay Store subscription levels in the table that follows.

The eBay Subscription Table

Number of Listings

eBay Site Level Currency Subscription InsertionFee 100 250 500 750 1000 2000 6000 7000 8000 9000 10000
UK Basic GBP 14.99 0.10 24.99 39.99 64.99 89.99 114.99 214.99 614.99 714.99 814.99 914.99 1,014.99
UK Featured GBP 49.99 0.05 54.99 62.49 74.99 87.49 99.99 149.99 349.99 399.99 449.99 499.99 549.99
UK Anchor GBP 349.99 0.00 349.99 349.99 349.99 349.99 349.99 349.99 349.99 349.99 349.99 349.99 349.99
Ireland Basic Euro 19.99 0.13 32.99 52.49 84.99 117.49 149.99 279.99 799.99 929.99 1059.99 1189.99 1319.99
Ireland Featured Euro 59.99 0.06 65.99 74.99 89.99 104.99 119.99 179.99 419.99 479.99 539.99 599.99 659.99
Ireland Anchor Euro 449.99 0.00 449.99 449.99 449.99 449.99 449.99 449.99 449.99 449.99 449.99 449.99 449.99
USA/CA Basic USD 15.95 0.2 35.95 65.95 115.95 165.95 215.95 415.95 1215.95 1415.95 1615.95 1815.95 2015.95
USA/CA Featured USD 49.95 0.05 54.95 62.45 74.95 87.45 99.95 149.95 349.95 399.95 449.95 499.95 549.95
USA/CA Anchor USD 299.95 0.03 302.95 307.45 314.95 322.45 329.95 359.95 479.95 509.95 539.95 569.95 599.95
Germany Basic Euro 19.95 0.1 29.95 44.95 69.95 94.95 119.95 219.95 619.95 719.95 819.95 919.95 1019.95
Germany Featured Euro 49.95 0.05 54.95 62.45 74.95 87.45 99.95 149.95 349.95 399.95 449.95 499.95 549.95
Germany Anchor Euro 299.95 0.02 301.95 304.95 309.95 314.95 319.95 339.95 419.95 439.95 459.95 479.95 499.95
Spain Basic Euro 14.95 0.15 29.95 52.45 89.95 127.45 164.95 314.95 914.95 1064.95 1214.95 1364.95 1514.95
Spain Featured Euro 39.95 0.05 44.95 52.45 64.95 77.45 89.95 139.95 339.95 389.95 439.95 489.95 539.95
Spain Anchor Euro 99.95 0.01 100.95 102.45 104.95 107.45 109.95 119.95 159.95 169.95 179.95 189.95 199.95
Italy Basic Euro 19.95 0.15 34.95 57.45 94.95 132.45 169.95 319.95 919.95 1069.95 1219.95 1369.95 1519.95
Italy Featured Euro 39 0 39 39 39 39 39 39 39 39 39 39 39
Australia Basic AUD 19.95 0.4 59.95 119.95 219.95 319.95 419.95 819.95 2419.95 2819.95 3219.95 3619.95 4019.95
Australia Featured AUD 99.99 0.3 129.99 174.99 249.99 324.99 399.99 699.99 1899.99 2199.99 2499.99 2799.99 3099.99
Australia Anchor AUD 499.95 0 499.95 499.95 499.95 499.95 499.95 499.95 499.95 499.95 499.95 499.95 499.95

All prices correct as of February 2012 and are of course, subject to change by eBay at any time.

Using The eBay Stores Table

If you look at the table above, I have colour coded the paths for each site so that you can see where a crossover occurs and where you should consider upgrading or downgrading your eBay store subscription level.

If we pick  on the eBay site UK in the first three rows, we can see that when you get to 750 listings, you should consider upgrading to the “Featured” eBay Store from the “Basic” subscription. Then at exactly 6,000 eBay listings move from “Featured” to an “Anchor” subscription level.

The cost of choosing the wrong level could be thousands

The cost of choosing the wrong level could be thousands, already showing as over £750 for the 10,000 listings on the UK site and if we take another example of Australia on the bottom 3 rows, get the numbers wrong and the difference between $2419.95, $1899.99 and $499.99 is absolutely huge!

Reference Pages & Notes

Below is the list of pages used to compile the comparison table for fees and will have the latest fee structures. For each of these sites, the “Other Categories” value of insertion fees were used. If you sell media products such as books, DVDs or CD’s then these fees are typically lower and will change between the eBay sites. eBay Motors is not part of the table.

What Level Are You On? Is it the RIGHT Level?

That’s a serious question.

Use the table above to check to make sure that you are on the right eBay Store subscription level for your business and if you are unsure, just ask in a comment below or in the forums.

Improving eBay DSR’s – A Personal Account

eBay Detailed Seller Ratings Card  - DSR'sThey’re eBays version of your school report card and every time a buyer leaves you a feedback comment, eBay asks them to leave a survey on your performance as a seller. I am of course referring to the “eBay Detailed Seller Ratings”.

The following is a guest post from Pete Moran who has documented his struggle, successes & strategery in turning the eBay DSR’s to his advantage.

All successful eBay sellers will highlight the importance of keeping your Detailed Seller Ratings (DSR’s) as high as possible. Not only does it give buyers confidence you do as expected but also allows access to the eBay powerseller and Top Rated Seller program which if you are serious about eBay you need to be in.

However for those relatively new to eBay or just starting out as you scale your business you may notice that your DSR’s start well but then gradually slip as the number of transactions grow.

This is exactly what happened to my business and the following article describes what I did about it.


Our Background

Our business was never planned, my wife started selling our unused brick-a-brack at car boot sales as so many of us do.  However, she took it the step further and started buying really nice vintage and retro items from other people’s car boots and selling it for a profit at her own.

“Our business was never planned”

Pretty soon she graduated to buying at car boots, auctions and a wide variety of other sources and selling part time on eBay.  Although still modest sales the business showed promise and she quickly (within 3 months) became a PowerSeller and then a Top Rated Seller!

With these honourable titles business accelerated and what started as a hobby became a full-time job.  I joined my wife in April of this year as a family business with the intent to making a decent living doing something we both enjoy.

The Problem

When taking a business from a part time hobby to something more substantial, growing pains are inevitable, we started to see our DSR’s once 4.9’s drop to 4.8’s and then our postage and packaging charge DSR went to 4.7.

What did we do wrong?

Simply we didn’t have a strategy to ensure our DSR’s remained high and it was starting to show.

Reading through the eBay forum’s many people had been contacted by eBay as their DSR’s approached 4.7/4.6 with stern warnings they were not living up to the high standards expected of sellers.  It became clear that if we dropped to 4.6 there was a high likelihood we would lose our eTRS (that’s the top-rated seller status) and our sales would suffer…we needed to react and fast.

The Postmortem

“The first step in turning around our degrading DSR problem was to actually accept we had a problem”

The first step in turning around our degrading DSR problem was to actually accept we had a problem, we had not changed the way we had worked so the issue was just becoming more apparent as we scaled.

We were fortunate enough to convince Matt Ogborne to give us an hour of his time in which we gleaned some invaluable tips! He ran through each of our DSR’s and questioned how well we were doing with them, what was impacting them and what the customer thought was important.

How accurate was the item description?
eBay DSR - Item As Described 

Selling second hand goods means that unlike goods where you can take photo’s, write titles and descriptions once and sell multiple times – every item (which equals one sale) needs photographs, a good title and description.

We had been fortunate that this DSR has remained steady, we had always ensured there were several photographs of each item, especially highlighting any defects and this combined with a precise description has left us in good shape.

How satisfied were you with the seller’s communication?
eBay DSR - Communication 

We had left communication entirely to eBay – that is to say we never personalised any emails, we did not give thank you notes or inform the customer of delivery times.

eBay does a great job of automating the standard communication, but it is the most basic level of communication and could be greatly improved upon.

How quickly did the seller dispatch the item?
eBay DSR - Dispatch Time 

“we still had some hangovers from how we worked before”

As this had evolved from a hobby, we still had some hangovers from how we worked before.  On our listings we would specify we would post within 3 working days, and often it would take that long as we would wait for a number of sales before packaging and dispatching in one go.  This was of course more convenient for us, but not convenient for the buyers.

Matt rightly pointed out that buyers expect you to dispatch fast and even though you may specify how long you expect dispatch to take, ultimately if the buyer feels you are dispatching too slow then you are dispatching too slow.

How reasonable were the postage and packaging charges?
eBay DSR - Postage and packaging Charges 

This was and still is the hardest DSR to get *right* the buyer is unlikely to know the true cost of postage and packaging, many think it is just the cost of the actual postage and not to take into account the time it takes to package, the cost of material it takes to keep it safe, trips to the post office etc.

We sell some delicate and bulky items, antique porcelain needs to be packed very carefully in a lot of protective layers, boxed and sent.  This is not only highly time consuming but the costs can be significant.

Many eBay businesses offer free postage and packaging to effectively remove this DSR from a rating, we unfortunately could not do so without making a loss so we needed to find another strategy.

The Strategy

So we understood where we were going wrong, now it was time to get to work to turn around our DSR’s before our business suffered.  Making use of Matt’s suggestions as well as some idea’s of our own we devised a strategy to improve our DSR’s as quickly as possible.

The aim of our strategy is simple:

“to ensure that every one of our customers receives the best possible service from us, above and beyond what they expect from buying online“

We are human beings, and it’s much easier to offer lower ratings to a business or person who has offered mediocre service than to a business who even if in some cases may fail, makes up with it in willingness to please.

So with this in mind we worked on improving our overall service to ensure that every one of our customers felt as special and valued as they are!

The Friendly Seller

Accomplishing this started at the very first contact with a customer, which in some cases if they ask a question about an item or perhaps when they have made a sale.

“an extremely polite and friendly manner”

In every communication we try to answer as fast as possible in an extremely polite and friendly manner.  By acting like people rather than just a business in many cases we quickly build a rapport with our customers which instantly makes it harder for a customer to rate in anything but 5’s.

Keeping the customer informed

The second part of this enhanced communication strategy is to keep the customer informed at every stage above and beyond the automated eBay messages.

“keep the customer informed at every stage above and beyond the automated eBay messages”

If a courier is needed when booked we inform the customer that it has been booked, when it will be picked up and the estimated delivery date.  When it is dispatched we mark it as dispatched on eBay and then send a note letting them know that it has been dispatched.  Similarly with Royal Mail, if you organise your postage via PayPal the item is marked as dispatched once the postage label has been printed.

We also drop a short note letting them know it has actually been posted and when it is expected to arrive.  This level of communication not only ensures that the communication DSR is well serviced but also highlights that you care which again makes it harder for a buyer to rate another DSR lower.

Dispatching Fast

We made a decision to dispatch the same working day for any orders before 1pm, as a small company of just two this can sometimes be difficult to manage but so far we have made it work.  The fact we dispatch so fast means our dispatch DSR is back on the up!

Delighting the Customer

When we have bought something online (assuming it is something more fun than practical) there is a certain anticipation when waiting for it to arrive.

This can be used to the wise sellers advantage in a few simple ways, Matt again gave some great ideas around this which we have implemented to a great effect.

These are just some steps we have taken:

  1. The Customers Perception of Time
    If an item is sent 1st class post in most cases the item should arrive the next day, in our message to say it has been dispatched we always indicate it is most likely arrive the day after it should arrive e.g. if it was sent on a Monday we say it should arrive by Wednesday when really we expect it to arrive by Tuesday.If it arrives on the Tuesday we have secretly earned some brownie points that it arrived earlier than specified and if it didn’t and arrived the day after, we were on time. Win-Win.
  2. Beauty is in the eye of the received package
    We make every parcel as beautiful as possible – initially as we often send larger items we would use reclaimed boxes to put our items in and then add the postage label.  Someone receiving a re-used crisp box did not have a great perception of us as a company.So we worked on our packaging, every item is first wrapped in a beautiful tissue paper before going through its ‘protective coating’.We still in some cases use second hand boxes but every time we cover with brown parcel paper so that the first opinion is always a good one!
  3. The small barrier of tape
    We ensure it takes that little bit of extra effort to unwrap the item at the final stage, in our final bubble wrap layer just using that extra bit of tape which takes a moment longer to open builds anticipation!
  4. Getting Personal
    We include a personalized “thank you” letter with every item, this is an important part which has multiple effects.  Firstly it gives you the opportunity to reinforce the rapport with the customer which was started in earlier communications. It offers the opportunity to cross sell some of your other products (but do so carefully should not turn into a sales letter) and finally you can gently thank them in advance for leaving positive feedback.Many times we have been thanked for the letter, it makes the transaction that little bit more personal.
  5. Sweets, they always work
    We also include a simple ‘lolly’ with every parcel which is mentioned in the letter as a ‘thank you’ gift.  Whilst this small step does add a cost to each parcel it once again indicates to the customer they and their business is important.Matt’s comment: I love sweeties, try it it works amazingly well!

Dealing with problems

It doesn’t matter how much you try – things are going to go wrong, items lost in the post, damaged items or a customer feels that something is not as described.

“things are going to go wrong”

In our case as we have already made such an effort to build a relationship with the customer it makes it easier to resolve.  In all cases so far customers have contacted us when something has gone wrong and we have listened and resolved the problems quickly and most importantly without taking it personally.

Even when things do go wrong it’s an opportunity to build trust with a customer, in most cases so far customers have not only been happy with the outcome but also have bought from us again!

Monitoring DSR’s

If you have an eBay shop eBay provides reports which allows you to monitor your DSR’s, you can navigate to the reports as below :~

Home > My eBay > My Account > Seller Dashboard > Your reports

eBay Top Rated Seller Dashboard

In these reports you can specify a date range and a geographical area, if you use this report regularly (weekly, monthly or keep a running log) you can easily see how your DSR’s are doing.

Since implementing our strategy we have kept a running log of DSR’s every couple of days I run a report for the last few days to see how customers are rating us.  It allows me to quickly see if the strategy is working, which generally it is.


Do we have straight 5 DSR’s? The honest answer is no, we still get the occasional 4 and the even less occasional 3 but these are by far the exception rather than the rule.

“by taking our DSR bull by the horns we have had lots of other positive side effects”

However by taking our DSR bull by the horns we have had lots of other positive side effects, we have needed and learnt to be more efficient and organised especially around communication and dispatch.

“Customers are increasingly thanking us for our letter and lolly and recommending us to their friends”

Customers are increasingly thanking us for our letter and lolly and recommending us to their friends. We have repeat business which is the best kind of business and our feedback has gone from the boring ‘great ebayer’ to really genuine nice and kind compliments.  All in all it has made our business better in every possible way.

About Pete Moran

Pete MoranThis was a guest post by Pete Moran.

Pete is a technologist and entrepreneur, most recently selling funky vintage & retro homeware on his and his eBay store in partnership with his wife.



Your Feedback!

A week or so ago I got an email, “Matt the lolly’s are working” it exclaimed “and I’ve done a lot more too, it’s working!“.  Pete really did take the suggestions to heart, it was over a month ago we spoke on the phone. Pete crucially took action and has shared his experiences so far with us, this leaves us with this question:

What could you use from Pete’s suggestions to help your DSR’s on eBay?

Let us know in the comments box below.

The eBay ‘Word of Mouth Factor’ Revisited – Bench See a 1100% Increase!

Last year I created a measurement process for us to work out the true implications of trading on eBay. It’s aptly named it the “Word of Mouth Factor“.

After a comment left on this site yesterday by a disgruntled customer called “Douglas”, who was upset with Argos on eBay and spotting that Argos may have got worse over the last 12 months and not better, in this article I’m revisiting the original 16 businesses, to see how they have got on over the past twelve months and what their WOM factor is doing now, compared to last year.

If you missed the earlier article, you can read it here as it includes an introduction to the WOM Factor, the 16 businesses that we’ll be revisiting, the formula and a more detailed look at Argos.

Included in this article is a breakdown of how on earth Bench went from mediocre to outstanding in less than 12 months and bluntly put, a “slating” of Argos for their continued poor performance.


The Comment that Provoked the Revisit

Douglas left the comment below on the 31st, I was in two minds to publish it or not, but felt compelled to reply.

Take a read of the message left and consider what has happened and why a customer such as Douglas would be provoked to leave such a comment in a public forum.

I must disagree. I have found the Argos Outlet on Ebay to be appalling. They have sent me 2 Binatone F430 SatNavs, neither of which have worked. These were supposed to be refurbished items but clearly were not. What was galling was that they had not even checked the second replacement satnav following the broken first one. In addition their manager has refused to return all of my calls and emails. The assistant who did speak t me claimed that they were just a clearing house for Argos products and could not check them. She was not interested in the fact that they were selling shoddy goods. Finally, 16 days after returning the goods they have not issued me with any refund.
For your own good, avoid this shop at all costs.
Please avoid this shop at all costs and find a reliable supplier.

If this was another eBay account, then yes it would be very easy to brush this off as a one off, however as the “Word of Mouth Factor” (aka ‘WOM’)  identified last year Argos’s customer service on eBay is poor.

Over the past 6 months it’s gone downhill rapidly and Argos have scored the worst Word of Mouth score I have seen of 12.37

Compared to last year, where on eBay Argos were rated as the lowest performer in the WOM rating system at 11.92. Since then things haven’t really got better. In the comment reply to Douglas (for which I felt compared to apologise, after all this is a eBay customer and he may be buying from you tomorrow), over the past 6 months it’s gone downhill rapidly and Argos have scored the worst Word of Mouth score of 12.37, the highest of any account I have ever run this over.

Do you really think that a normal customer, which had a “OK” to “Good” experience with Argos would have hunted out a semi-unrelated site and left such a comment?

What is the Word of Mouth Factor?

“both neutral and negative comments are the same, they are not positive experiences”

The Word of Mouth factor takes into account that both neutral and negative comments are the same, they are not positive experiences with the eBay business and carry a much heavier weighting that a positive experience.

We are programmed to have a perversion to loss, if we loose something we miss it greatly, but if we gain something instead, for me it feel that I need around 5-10 times more positive events to outweigh the negative, loss experience (I explained this a little better in the previous article with kittens).

Because we’re dealing with eBay, the eBay platform makes it very transparent through feedback how to calculate what a business’ Word of Mouth factor is.  From the previous article, the average Word of Mouth factor was 5.81, I’m curious to see how this changes with the updated data.

How to Calculate Your Word of Mouth Factor

Before we dive in and look at how the businesses are now doing, we need to quickly revisit the formula being used. It’s dead easy to use and we can see the negative and neutral comments are combined and as they have a much higher loss associated to them, they are multiplied by 10.

I’ve put this below and takes a few seconds in a calculator. Luckily me, for the 16 below I used excel :)


How to Calculate “The WOM Factor”

Note: Try this out on your eBay account and let me know what your WOM Factor is in the comments box below.

The Updated Data Table

This table includes last years data for the WOM Factors and the differences between them (we’ll be analysing these next).

eBay WOM Factor 2012 Table

eBay WOM Factor 2012 Table

Analysing the New Data for the WOM Factors

analysis_of_dataBefore we dig in and make comparisons to last year, it should be noted that it is no surprised that a few of these accounts are now in a dormant state.

Glamorousoutlet is the biggest one to do so and have gone from in excess of 25,000 transactions in a 12 month period to pretty much nothing, aqua spot has almost gone too from 1000 transactions to 30. So these are going to be ignored.

Also “tennis-deals-2008”, after a little investigation is now called intheframetrading.

What to look for
What we’re looking for in the above data table is a positive value for the percentages on the right column, this shows that there has been a decrease in the WOM Factor of that business from last year. The lower the WOM factor the better, this means that the number of positive experiences far outweigh the number of negative experiences.

The biggest difference by a zillion miles is Bench.

The biggest difference by a zillion miles is Bench. Bench have gone from a below average WOM rating of 6.58 to an unbelievable 0.55, which is an 1103.5% increase in performance in the space of a year. Something drastic has happened with that businesses and I’ll be looking at this in a separate section.

Let’s now look at the rest of the eBay accounts in terms of their performance.

The Performers

We can see when we detail them below, we have had some excellent efforts over the past twelve months:

  • Argos down 7.8% to 11.06, but still very high and almost double the average WOM score.
  • online4babyltd down 39.6% from average to a well below average 3.93 WOM score.
  • babzeeonline down 27.5% to below average 5.55
  • intheframetrading scoring the second lowest WOM factor of 1.88 and down 51.1%
  • little-devils-direct also just below average, now down 29.1% to 5.01
  • flyingplaneman storming down 71.1% to 4.17

The Losers

On the flip side, we have had some gains, which is not good as this means that buyers are experiencing a poorer performance from the businesses in question, when compared to last year.

  • jpe_enterprises had a huge jump of 54.8%, but for 4 negatives that’s a little harsh as they’re only turning over ~200 transactions in a year
  • loco_gadgets has had a rough ride and has now exceed Argos’s poor level last year at a WOM factor of 12.47, double the average.
  • benthamltd has seen an increase from a slightly above WOM score last year of 6.24 to 9.73, that’s a 35.28% decrease in performance.

The Non Movers

bessy0302 has stayed pretty much the same last year with an superb score of 2.22, only slightly up on last years 2.03, as the total transactions for the year are around 6500, only the removal of 1 feedback would bring this back to where they were previously, the same goes for poshtotz-store from 3.19 to 3.22

That Special Note on Bench_Outlet

What the hell caused Bench, worthy of no notes at all last year to drop from what was a below average rating of 6.58 to an almost floored rating of 0.55 in the space of twelve months?

bench_outlet Redesigned By Pentagon Interactive

Updated eBay Shop Design

At some point in the past 12 months, Bench took on a complete redesign from Pentagon-Interactive as I’m pretty sure that they had a different design the last time I checked.

If you look closely at the Bench_Outlet eBay account, you’ll see that their eBay shop has received a complete redesign by pentagon and incorporates a search widget by Sovoia.

bench_outlet Sovoia search widget

The Sovoia search widget while custom designed for user and comes with it’s unique back-end system to control what is shown. While it does command a premium price, it really is a premium feature and you’ll find similar widgets on many of the brand name eBay shops such as Littlewoods, SuperDry and the original store we put it on a couple of years ago, Office shoes.

bench_outlet - eBay Listing Template Layout

Bench_Outlet – eBay Listing Template Layout

Their listing template has also received the same experience.

Consistent branding from the eBay shop redesign, the Sovoia search widget and a very clean structure for the product data layout, which makles the product details very clear and easy to read.

The image gallery is taking up a good 70% of the page width.

I’d personally have made the main image a little bit bigger, currently it’s 480 pixels wide, 550-600pixels would have been better and the thumbnails (the smaller images on the right) about half their size.

On the topic of images if we stop and consider their impact for a few moments, buyers cannot pick up and try the product on, so having superb images and an array of images allows the customer to almost touch the item and understand how it looks from all angles.

Clothing is a nightmare when it comes to sizes and that’s why we’re seeing a good third of the page dedicated to size tables which are clear to read.

Even a performing eBay account always has room for improvement

A comment here shows that even a performing eBay account always has room for improvement, it would have been very easy to show or hide the other genders size table, after all this is a Men’s hoody, the Women’s sizing is irrelevant. This is possible in ChannelAdvisor through different templates or even Javascript to hide the section based upon category or a custom attribute or just maybe they have not considered this.

there is a “boat load” of opportunity being left on the table

If you start to dig around the listed items, you’ll see that for the vast majority of the items listed, item specifics are nothing more than just Brand, Condition and Style.

eBay Outlet Company logo in Search eBay Results

While the brand “Bench” gives the account a huge boost, along with the Bench Logo that eBay outlet Stores have shown next to their items in the search results,  considering that I can name at least 10 other important item specifics for the fashion category off the top of my head (Main Colour, Exact Colour, Length, Sleeve Type, Pattern, Fit, Multipack, Garment Care, Neck Line, Material, Exact Material, that’s 10 I’ll stop now) there is a “boat load” of opportunity being left on the table.

Their sales data from Terapeak indicates that in the last two months that the bench_outlet account has cleared ~£210,000 of kit and almost 11,000 transactions, up on a similar date range a year before  of £175,000 of kit and just over 9,000 transactions.

To cover +5,000 transactions per month, for which Bench_outlet are doing on average 5,800 transactions each month now, generally needs either massive external exposure, which Bench as a brand has or sustained internal exposure by eBay through daily or weekly deals.

Bench has obviously had the support of both and frankly would not be manageable without a back-end system that is up for the job for processing soo many orders and product data into the eBay.

In this case it’s ChannelAdvisor and while I did hope to begin with that this another Pentagon-Interactive success story through managed services, the redesign that was done for them has obviously played a key role in the success of Bench, combined with the back-end processing from ChannelAdvisor.

Bench actually value their brand and are leveraging eBay to almost it’s full potential.

At the time of publishing this article, it’s not known if Bench_Outlet were using ChannelAdvisor 12-18 months ago, the oldest record I have is 8 months ago and they were using them.

You have to agree that is a whopping improvement in customer services management and when compared to Argos (who get a complete slating in a few moments) Bench actually value their brand and are leveraging eBay to almost it’s full potential. Something dramatically changed at Bench about a year ago and who ever started it, needs a beer (and of course the team that made it happen).


In the comment that provoked the revisit to the WOM factor a year later from it being first published, Douglas detailed a very poor experience with Argos and confirms my original point of the WOM factor, that the “word of mouth” experience passed is most likely to be passed when the experience is bad, not good.

As pointed out in the reply, if the service had been “OK” or even “excellent”, do you think that Douglas would have taken the time to post that comment here? Nope, I don’t think so either and that is exactly why the Word of Mouth factor is soo important.

Argos, while clearing a lot of kit on eBay, some £5.2 million over the past 90 days, may be doing their business more harm than good when we take into account their continued poor performance in relation to customer services.

With a consistent “double the average” WOM score for both years at 11.92 and 11.06 in this sample group, the likelihood of negative comments and reviews such as Douglas’s is at least twice as much as every other business in the original sample group.

Devaluing a brand name, does that have to be the cost of trading on eBay?

That’s a very serious question, one I hope, for all our sakes Argos might consider and from the other examples, especially that of Bench’s, thankfully the answer is no, this does not need to be the cost of trading on eBay.

Your Feedback

All eBay accounts are your potential customers, the likelihood that a customer that sees an Argos item is going to see one of your items is very high considering the exposure they receive on eBay and for exactly that reason…

I personally dislike the idea that of a company such as Argos pissing off thousands upon thousands of eBay buyers each year.

And yes it is thousands with over 5,400 in the past 12 months that have left neutral or negative feedbacks on the account and the worst performing outlet feedback score that I know off, when clearly shown by Bench, that it does not have to be this way.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments box below.

Making Sense of the eBay UK Updates for August 2012

This is probably the most comprehensive guide there is to the eBay UK updates that is being released this morning that covers the impact of the updates to you and your business.

Pop the kettle on, as this one requires your complete attention. If you’re on the move there is a treat for you with a special mobile version of this guide especially for you.

It’s that time of year again and eBay have loads pre-Christmas treats lined up for you in the August 2012 seller release and one thing for sure, eBay is on your side for the busiest season ever.

There are stellar changes lined up for us and there is a lot for us to cover, however unlike the eBay updates we had in May, I’m not going to be using a scoring mechanism for the updates, because as a general rule the updates are all positive, with the exception of two epic changes that is….

More on those two epic updates later, once you’ve been through this comprehensive guide to the eBay autumn updates, I’d love to hear from you and what your thoughts are on this round of eBay updates, how they impact you and what your Christmas trade is going to be like because of them. You can let me know in the comments box at the bottom of this page.

Downloadable Edition Available!

Ebay-Updates-Ipad-Edition-2012This guide is a monster of over 5,500 words taking you through each update step by step.

That’s quite a lot to take in and because of this, I’ve created you a special downloadable version in PDF format that you can use on you iPhone, iPad or Android device.

To view this version on your mobile device:


And open in iBooks or your favourite PDF reader.

eBay to Change in 7 Days?

Before we dig into the eBay Autumn 2012 updates, I’d like to share a quick story with you from a meeting earlier this year.

Until the ChannelAdvisor Catalyst event, I hadn’t realised how much effort the team at eBay had put into organising these updates and the communications around them. Half way through the meeting, a question was asked to the audience on the premise that what would we do if we could change a specific factor and have it rolled out live in 7 days.

A nice thought, a change made in 7 days…. after basking in the idea for a few moments and I’m sure several parties taking them seriously that it was possible, the reality had hit home. Just before the meeting had started and while the delegates were just beginning to enter the room, the eBay the team huddled together.

“Right guys we know we might take a rap from some of the sellers here today, we should expect that, everything is not perfect, but we’re trying out best, lets not forget that”

To release major updates like the ones that are about to follow is not a straightforward process. There is a mountain of code to break, sorry edit :D, almost endless groups to work through, testing and re-testing and what about the buyers? Every single one of these changes, don’t just impact us as a community of sellers on eBay, they directly impact the community of buyers and they’ll need an education program as much as the sellers do!

Seven days to make a massive or even a minor change to a site with how many million users globally? Pfft not likely, twice a year is enough for me and hopefully you too.

There is a lot to cover with perhaps the most in-depth there is on the changes for this Autumn, grab a coffee and let’s dig in.

Reporting of Bad Buyers Being Introduced

eBay Report a BuyerWoooooohoooooooooooo!

Once you’ve sat back your chair after falling off while cheering, eBay have hit a home run on this one. Well, that is IF they actually action in the information they are fed from sellers.

We are going to be able to rate buyers again, but unlike before with the old “negging”, sorry “feedback” system, this process is designed to highlight “Unreasonable Behaviour” by buyers through a new form.

This form is available after the purchase has been made via the feedback page and through a set of different set options than before, leave feedback about the buyer which is forwarded directly to eBay for them to process.

“We all know that a small number of buyers on eBay have been playing the system”

Let’s be frank here, we all know that a small number of buyers on eBay have been playing the system since the ability to leave negative feedback for them was taken away from sellers some time ago.

I covered one dynamic of this around the frequency of “lost orders” when comparing eBay & Amazon a week or so ago and the feedback in the comments from business owners who also use both marketplaces was compelling (also very constructive too, see the comments around the use of a barcode for a “suggested” tracking method on untracked orders to lower the “lost” rate).

Update: This is an important note around the reporting of buyers from John in the comments at the bottom of this article:

John says:
I was concerned that reporting a buyer wouldn’t be possible if auto feedback was enabled but eBay tell me that it will be possible to still report dodgy buyers.

A video from the James Stewart, director of eBay’s EU seller team is below where he explains this part up of the update in detail:

The amount of time and money being wasted by eBay businesses due to buyers playing the game must be reaching scary amounts now and while thankfully it remains the few, it’s started to us hurt more and more as time has gone on. Time will tell if eBay stand by the statement of:

eBay UK says:
Based on your report and additional information that eBay has about the buyer, we’ll investigate if there’s a pattern of unreasonable behaviour. If so, we’ll take appropriate actions, including buying restrictions or even suspension of a buyer’s account.”

How to Report a Buyer that Exhibits Bad Behaviour

When the process is put live it will be really straight forwards to notify eBay of a bad buyer and it is important to note that this can only be done through the eBay website and cannot be automated using the eBay API.

Note: It has been confirmed that there is no intention currently to allow this to be available in the eBay API (the interface that 3rd party tools use to talk with eBay), as that could undermine the new process through automation tools and that’s the last thing we need. Phew!

Step #1 – Select the “Report a Buyer” Option

After a item has been purchased, on the Leave Feedback page here a new option will appear called “Report a Buyer” where the eBay account is the seller for one or more transactions.

Select Report a Buyer on eBay

Step #2 – Select a Reason

Next you’ll be able to select from one of five options, these are:

  1. Buyer has made unreasonable demands
  2. Buyer has left inappropriate feedback
  3. Buyer abused the buyer protection program
  4. Buyer misused returns
  5. Other problems

And there is an appropriate link to solve unpaid items through the eBay resolution centre.

Report an eBay Buyer Step 2

Step #3 – Submit Report

After making your selection, you then submit the report, noting the text in the confirmation notice “Bad Buyer”.

eBay Confirm Bad Buyer

Surely you agree that it has to be a positive system to introduce? I know I have missed a feedback process like this for some time now. What do you think? Let me know in the comments at the bottom.

eBay Buyer Communication Updates

Buyers are now going to be required to contact you through eBay first before they are allowed to start the resolution process for an order and state that it was not received or significantly not as described.

eBay Resolution Centre - Contact Seller First

eBay’s allowed a hefty time frame of 8 days for you to respond to such a request before being allowed to escalate it to eBay. 8 days does seem a lot, but remember we are dealing with a a very broad range of business types and tracking for some goods may not be possible immediately and also this does account for the time to resolve the issue between the buyer and seller.

There are also two important parts to this section of the eBay updates, these are:

  1. Only queries referred to eBay and found in favour of the buyer will be included in your seller performance evaluation
  2. If a buyer asks ‘When am I likely to receive my item?’ before the delivery date has passed, we’ll display a message reminding them of the date.

Both of those are very welcomed, saving both time in customer services demand and making it fairer for you for when you’ve been playing ball.

I was sold on the first line where the buyers are forced to contact the seller, the two extra parts of this update for the validated feedback and better communication of delivery times sealed it for me. What do you think? Let me know in the comments at the bottom.

eBay Gallery View Redesigned Including Colour Swatches!

Images speak a million words, we know that and they are second in the importance list of attributes that effective eBay businesses need to get right on eBay, right after the listing title to allow the potential buyer to find the listing that is.

eBay are known for their split testing across the site, it’s why you see one thing when signed in as one account and something different when signed in as another account when it comes to different parts of the structure of eBay when they’re testing.

eBay UK says: 
“Our trials have shown that previous increases in item image size, have resulted in a significant* increase in sales. And we’re anticipating a similar response to this update.”

No eBay USA Gallery Requirements!
Before we dig into those changes, I know for many of you that you have been concerned that we might have been seeing the same gallery requirements update that the eBay USA site had.

eBay US Gallery Image requirements

eBay USA banned extra text, forced image minimum sizes, disallowed borders in gallery images, gave suggestions on watermarks and generally floored a very useful selling strategy for gallery images (it was quite horrific). The good news is that it is NOT in this update!

The eBay UK Changes
We’re going to be seeing much larger thumbnail images on listings in the gallery view and also a neat little feature where the title will expand to the full title once the title/image area is activated.

This is much better than relying upon the “Alternative text” message that the web-browser gives you and there is more!

eBay Extended Gallery View

We’re going to be seeing the introduction of swatch images for multi variation listings.

This is… sick!

If you’ve not heard of swatches before, these are generally the little colour images that you see on product pages, that help the buyers make the decision on product attribute like colour through instant image recognition because its an image, rather than having to read text from a list of options.

Swatch Examples
To explain this as clearly as possible, let’s use two examples of the extremes from (who have had this feature for years *coff*).

The first example in the image below shows us a dress on Amazon (click to view) where the swatches only have text labels. This means that you have to read the options to make a selection and we know how disastrous that can be when we need buyers to read :D

Amazon Swatch Example - No Swatches

This second example (click to view) has actual colour images for the different variations that the dress is available in. So if you want the red dress, locating it is so much faster for the buyer.

Amazon Swatch Example - With Swatches

eBay variations and Pricing UpdatedIn eBay multi-variation listings buyers are now going to be able to clearly see that there are variations in your listing. You’ve got to agree that the “More Options” that we have currently is not clear to buyers and I know from personal experience, most people do not know what that link does when in the gallery view.

The price range annoyance is being fixed. It’s a feature that has been in dire need of for ages, as before the update if you have a product in a variation listing that ranges from £9.99 to £129.99 the highest price is being shown to buyers.

In this update we’ll be seeing “£9.99 – £129.99” instead, much better, yay.

Gallery Image Swap based Upon Search Terms
And it gets better too! If the variation option is a colour and matches the search criteria the buyer has made, then the image attached to the colour variation in the listing will be shown instead of the main gallery image.

Intelligent searches will show the corresponding variation images

So if you search for a “Pink Shirt” and there is a “Pink” variation for colour, in an eBay listing that has a “pink image” attached, eBay will show this image instead of the main gallery image.

eBay Variation Options With Set Images

Important Notes On This Update
While this is a super cool feature, it does now mean that instead of just working manually on the main listing image that is used in the gallery, the first sub image for each colour variant is going to be just as important, as this image could be your gallery image instead.

The first variation image is going to be as important as the main gallery picture

Also if you look closely in the image above and in the image below, notice the “Colors” attribute. This is being shown as a shade of a colour, just like how Amazon use shades for their colour mapping, so expect some data work to match your items to pending new item specifics and attribute sets.

eBay Variation Colour Shades

Note: Amazon uses colour mapping to group together colours so that it they are able to make better filters on the site, for example you may have a garment that is “burgundy-red”, so the nearest mapping for colour is red. This is very similar to what you can see above.

eBay Checkout Comments Toggle

eBay Checkout Add Message to SellerAt the beginning of this article we had a little story from the CA Catalyst event, in that meeting it was revealed that sellers will now be able to turn off the buyer’s comment box during the checkout process.

I can see how for some businesses (like the ones that use CA who do not support it) would find it most useful, however it would have been better to have the reverse of this option, which is to force the buyer comments box on, so that for customised goods, buyers have to fill the box out.

Not an exciting update for what it could have been, I’m sure some businesses will find it useful and there will be a new toggle option to show/hide this, probably in site preferences.

eBay Fast

eBay Fast and Free ExampleA really sweet edition, that we’re already seeing variations of on eCommerce websites is coming to eBay in October, ready for Christmas we’ll be seeing a new logo under our items called “Fast ‘n’ Free”.

This will appear on listings that have an estimated delivery of 3 days or less. So that means if you have a handling time of 1 day and first class or a courier of 24hrs or 48hrs with the same handling time.

Google Base Requirement Updates

Google Product Identifiers ExampleIt’s been a requirement for sometime now for items to be included in Google Base to include unique identifiers. For those without a clue of what these are, it’s easy, it’s the barcode of the product.

That means you’ll need to be adding an EAN, UPC, JAB, ISBN or GTIN as customer item specific to your listings (if you have no idea on what those are, see this article that explains them all in a handy 5 minute video).

Huge Tip: Remember to use the custom items specific called MPN for the “Manufacturer Part Number”. An excellent example of this in action on Google Product Search is here as shown in the image above.

Duplicate Listing Policy Extended

Prior to this update coming into effect we are able to run 1 fixed price listing and up to 14 auctions that may or may not have a BIN price on them.

eBay UK says:
“In 2011 we reduced duplicate fixed price listings and saw a sales increase across European eBay sites. Fewer duplicates mean more sales for more sellers.”

Post this update we are only going to be able to have one fixed price listing, like before and up to 14 auctions running at the same time, but none of the auctions are allowed to have a “Buy It Now” price on them as eBay are to be considering these as duplicates.

I don’t believe this to be a bad update per-say, rather that if it is viable for your business to lay-down 14 sub auctions, you’ll have to do it without BIN being offered.

Unit Prices Introduced

I’m sure you have seen this before, this has been in the supermarket shelves for some time now. If you add a weight as grams or kilograms to a listing as an item specific, it eBay will soon display and price per weight unit below the item price.

eBay UK says:
“This will help you to better comply with European laws on how the price of certain goods should be displayed”

eBay Unit Prices Shown in Update

A nice update, gotta love the EU at times, but this is not yet supported by the one place you’re likely to see a weight difference, multi-variation listings.

eBay My Messages Enhancements

eBay My Messages Being UpdatedRight this one caused some confusion across the pond, so let’s be super clear here.

eBay are not going to be reading your personal email

Instead, if you are using the reply button in you email application, say Gmail or Outlook rather than using “eBay My Messages” to make replies to queries, then when you hit reply and send a message, your “eBay My Messages” will update so that you know that the message you just replied to in say Gmail, has been replied to in eBay My Messages.

It’s as simple as that, handy eh?

Manufacturer Warranties For New Products

eBay UK says:eBay requires Manufacturer Warranty period to be added
“An increasing number of buyers look for the manufacturer warranty in a listing for extra confidence and reassurance in their purchase. Including these details in your listings can help lead to an increase in sales, especially for higher value items”


Is this really a bad thing?  Hardly, this is a super update for buyers.

They’ll know clearly what a warranty is included with their purchase and how long for.

It’ll be a requirement for all business sellers  in late September to fill in the “Manufacturer warranty” eBay item specific.

If you’re using a third party tool, make sure you add this ASAP and update your products before the requirement time is enforced.

Category, item specifics changes & eBay Catalogues Extended

At the time of writing this article, I am not 100% sure which categories are being updated for structure and item specifics, but as soon as I am fully aware I’ll add them here.

Generally all category and item specific updates are a nightmare, especially when it comes to moving data round. This time there will be a few fee increases and odd decrease as categories move entire trees, one of the downsides for having category based fee structures I guess.

Update: The categories that are changing are vast, these are as follows:

  • Art
  • Business, Office & Industrial
  • Cameras & Photography
  • Clothes, Shoes & Accessories
  • Computer/Tablets & Networking
  • DVDs, Films & TV
  • Home & Garden
  • Jewellery & Beauty
  • Music
  • Musical Instruments
  • Vehicle Parts & Accessories
  • Video Games & Consoles
  • Wholesale & Job Lots
  • Everything Else

You can download all the category changes for September 2012 as a PDF and what the new category structure will look like after the structure also as a PDF.

The eBay Catalogue is being extended, but not as widely as it was in the previous update in May, into four categories, these being:

  • CPUs/Processors (category id 164)
  • Server CPUs/Processors (category id 56088)
  • Motherboards (category id 1244)
  • PC Desktops & All-in-Ones (category id 179)

We’ve seen this path developing as the eBay catalogue becomes bigger and as a reality check, it has always been around in the media category with Muse. It’s pretty obvious that given enough time, eBay is migrating to a catalogue structure that we know and love (*coff* hate at times too) similar to Amazon’s, how much impact seller data is going to play in this, is not entirely sure just yet.

Is it a bad update at present? Nope, as long as sellers can retain their uniqueness, rather than just being on a race-to-the-bottom Amazon styled listing format.

Motors Tyre Label for EU Requirement

If you’re listing tyres on eBay UK, you’ll be required to display tyre performance information in lists for tyres manufactured on or after the 1st of July 2012.

Later this season we’ll be seeing eBay enforcing these requirements by making the item specifics compulsory when listing these products on eBay.

eBay Tyre Label Requirements

Customised Item Condition for Non New Items

This is a sweet update if you sell used or refurbished goods, as you’ll be able to add and explain any extra details about the condition of non-new items listed on eBay with a text area, which is going to support around a whopping 1000 characters.

eBay item Condition Note for Non New Items

As eBay are going to be making this custom message more apparent to buyers, they’re suggesting to remove any notes you have on the condition of a product to this field, however we all know what buyers are like and I strongly suggest you put the items condition description in the new field AND in the description area.

Featured First is GONE!

The two stunners in this update, I have saved for last. You better hold on as I was shell-shocked when I found out about this.

eBay’s highest ticket feature upgrade is going in September 2012.

For those who have not heard or used “Featured First”, for £44.95 a week or £134.95 a month, you were (were almost being the right tense) able to promote your items are the very top of the eBay search for matching keywords and thus items with featured first on them would generally make a lot more transactions than a listing without this feature upgrade.

The ability to add such a feature has pretty much always been on the eBay I have known from the days when there was such a thing as homepage featured, to today where featured first is still available.

The playing field is going to be levelled.

I know a large number of businesses that use eBay’s featured first to accelerate the performance of newly listed products. Products that are both new to eBay and new to the sellers and without this boost of activity, the length of time needed for such products to gain traction is going to be significant.

But it’s retired and that is going to be putting a hell of a lot of weight on to getting eBay’s best match working for your eBay listings and while I can see why I can see this as being a good update for buyers, like many of the updates we’ve been through above, this update is scary for sellers as you’re unable to essentially pay to be featured and now the playing field is going to be levelled.

What do you think about Feature First going? Let me know in the comments box at the bottom of the page.

Upgraded eBay International Selling

This isn’t just one update, this is a combination of updates that are going to make selling internationally more easier & more cost effective and there is an epic feature being lined up for 2013.

Postage Prices Per Country
The first part is to allow eBay UK businesses to specify postage costs per country, this feature alone I know many businesses to have been crying out for.

There is always the odd little island like Malta that breaks all the rules for despatch costs and grouping Europe up into one option hasn’t helped with the price differences for couriers across Europe, this part of the update solves this pain and as you can see in the image below, you can now add postage rates per country!

eBay Postage Prices Per Country

Listing Exposure & Translations
The second part of the international selling updates is the change for international buyers to only see listings from,, and that will post to their country.

Also to help buyers with translations of product descriptions, eBay will also be including translate button using “Translate” to swap languages to the buyers native language.

New Single Monthly XXL Subscription
The third part of the update for international selling is that eBay are releasing a new single monthly store subscription to allow a single eBay trading ID to listing internationally for one monthly fee.

eBay goes XXL, fries with that sir?

You will be able to list to all the eBay European sites and at no extra cost for the same price of an anchor eBay UK store subscription at £349.99.

By my reckoning, this is the following EU sites for free:

  • eBay Australia
  • eBay Austria
  • eBay Belgium (French & Dutch)
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • And of course the UK

Note: See the global list of eBay sites here.

The XXL subscription will give you the following:

  • Zero insertion fees for 30-day and Good ‘Til Cancelled fixed price listings on domestic, European and Australian sites
  • $0.03 insertion fee for 30-day and Good ‘Til Cancelled fixed price listings on
  • Final value fees charged according to the site that you list the item on. (You’ll also be charged relevant feature fees.)

And get this, this is in preparation for 2013, eBay are going to be allowing you to create eBay Shop for each site you list on.

I can see some third party software tools falling over with ability to support so many sites, both technically (as that is one complicated inventory structure when you account for ~14 eBay sites) and also instructing how users can leverage so many sites at the same time through a single eBay account and software backend.

I’m also not sure how eBay’s own tools are going to cope with this either, does that really mean you would need to log into ~14 sites to collect sales off each of them or is the backend of eBay going to change to facilitate this somehow.

An eBay account manager had given them an anchor store to help with their “international visibility”.

About 2 months ago, a Bristol based company I spotted had a anchor eBay store. It didn’t make sense as that’s £350 and they had around 200 listings. The threshold is exactly 6,000 listings to warrant am anchor store.

After an email or two, it was revealed that an eBay account manager had given them an anchor store to help with their international visibility. As I had pointed out at the time, that was pointless as it made no difference. Now the logic makes sense, it did not then and the account manager was a little eager maybe? After this update, it will do.

There are a lot of questions unanswered on this topic for the next update in 2013. but £349.99 for listing to so many sites, if you can get around the data requirements, then this could be lethal for the larger businesses on eBay right now.

Autumn 2012 Updates Summary

The Autumn updates are jam-packed with some super updates for both buyers and sellers alike, but I cannot believe “Featured First” is going from eBay UK.

The importance of having “quality” listings has and will never have been so great.

This is going to make it soooo hard for some businesses that use this to expedite sales of products that are new to them, new to eBay or need the competitive advantage against long standing listings that have become welded to the top of search.

The importance of having “quality” listings has and will never have been so great when this update goes live, we have new gallery image sizes, variation listing updates that will need you to work hard to make them become sticky in the search results.

We can work as a community to tackle the scum

Finally we can work as a community to tackle the scum that have been causing us so much trouble with fake loses and abusing the feedback system to their advantage. Even in eBay terms they’re calling them “Bad Buyers”, “problem buyers” might have been less harsh, but either way I as you don’t mind, that is IF eBay deliver on this one and carry through the reports we make as a community.

What do you make of the ability to report buyers, is it enough, do you see it working in the long term? The comments box is below, let me know.

Also where buyers are concerned, they’re being stopped from creating cases where they have not contacted the seller previously and then the seller is given 8 days to respond and deal with the query effectively before they can escalate the case to eBay, that is certainly another welcomed change.

eBay variations and Pricing Updated

The annoying bug with variations is being fixed, so we can see the range of prices and we’re seeing the long awaited introduction of swatch images to variations and the gallery images as a whole will be increased too.

The entire shopping experience for buyers will be better on eBay this Christmas with a easier list of items to view and also clearer messaging for businesses that use expedited delivery options with the inclusion of the “Fast’n’Free” logo appearing on listings that meet the 3 days or less delivery window.

Getting your products into Google Shopping results by including the EAN or identifier is now a requirement and also don’t forget the tip earlier about using MPN to include the manufacturers part number to also help in Google searches.

Did I mention that I cannot believe Featured First is going? Still not over that one, are you?

The link between external email applications so that your My Messages section is now updated when you reply to messages outside of eBay using the respond button is going to help you if you’re using a mixture of the my messages section and email, before you could only really use one without shouting across the office to see which ones were answered.

Besides the above and featured first going, the next largest part of this update is around international selling. No surprise really as it’s been pushed hard over the past few months and finally now we have some tools at our disposal that we can leverage to take advantage of the changes.

A Single fee for all the eBay EU sites AND eBay Australia

I did not expect to seeing that the eBay stores are going to be unified, this was a suggestion we made over a year or more ago, I guess they listen after all. I also did not expect that we would be seeing a one fee to list everywhere and in the detail above, that’s 14 eBay sites by my maths, but the devil will be in the detail and we’ll know fully as more communications from eBay surface on this.

With a single fee for all the eBay EU sites and eBay Australia, the Australian’s are going to be well pissed off with this update. As far as I can see, if you want to expand your UK business, why bother with translation’s, just open up, its far more easier.

We must not forget that this update also includes $0.03 listing fees for the core site as well and I am very curious what is going to happen with the unified eBay shops, even with sub shops as well when it comes to the eBay USA site and listing insertions.

“All in All” an excellent update, no fee increases are always welcomed.

“All in All” an excellent update, no fee increases are always welcomed and we’ve also scored with value back from eBay with the single store subscription fee. For those of you with anchor store subscriptions, it was am exact threshold of 6,000 listings over the period of a month to warrant having an eBay shop.

Now over to you, what do you make of the updates and how do you feel they are going to impact your business over Christmas?

Let me know in the comments box below.



If the above was the most comprehensive guide you have ever seen to an update by eBay ever, I believe you need consider registering for access to the free forums where we work together with any questions you may have about this or any other eCommerce related subject.

Social Sharing Buttons for eBay Listings – Copy & Paste Code!

Social Sharing Icons for eBay ListingsWould you like to be sporting the social icons that you at the top of every eBay listing, in your listings?

You know the ones the links that take your products to the sites below and are in the screen shot to the right?

  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
  • The button to email a friend
  • And for good measure, the “Add to Watchlist” link too.

You do? Sweet, I’ve got some sick copy & paste code for you below :)

They do come with a warning though…. Even though they are a direct replication of what eBay has on the top of each listing and the code provided in this article is based of what eBay use’s (it even uses their image for the icons and part of their CSS), this still can be classed as a links policy violation and it’s to be used at your own discretion.

How To Use

In the next part of this article I’m going to be referring to “keywords”, you may also know these as tags or macros and are used by third-party tools to list to eBay with.

If you have no idea what these are then either you’re not using a 3rd party eBay listing tool or you’ll find these two articles super useful Part 1 & Part 2.

If you are not using any of these or a tool that does support keywords, for example if you are manually listing items on eBay or using TurboLister, but still want the icons, then follow the steps for “WITHOUT” a 3rd party tool below.

For Users WITH 3rd Party eBay Listing Software

If you have 3rd party software that supports keywords, it’s going to be two edits for you and I’ve included the keywords for:

If you tool have different keywords, then just change them over by following the instructions below.

If you’re using any of the tools above or a similar product that has keywords (tags, macros or whatever you’d like to call them), then it’s a simple case of copying the code later on in this article  and swapping over the keywords for s_ItemTitle and s_ItemImage at line 59 and 60.

For ChannelAdvisor your keywords are: {{ITEMTITLE}} and {{IMAGE(ITEMIMAGEURL1)}}

For eSellerPro your keywords are: {{Title}} and  {{Image(ItemImageURL1)}}

For ChannelGrabber your keywords are: {{title}} and {{image1}}

Swap these keywords over as appropriate for text between the quotes in  var s_ItemTitle = “{{Title}}“; and var s_ItemImage = “{{Image(ItemImageURL1)}}“; and then paste the code into your listing template section and press save.

Tip: If you’re a little lost, see the next section for users without 3rd party tools for a colour coded guide.

For Users WITHOUT 3rd Party eBay Listing Software

This isn’t a biggy, you can still use this script. However it requires you to edit a little bit of HTML, but it’s really easy and if you get stuck, let me know in the forums, I’d be happy to help you (registration is of course free).

Copy and paste the code in the section below into your listing, where you would like the buttons to show, in the code there two variables that you need to set, these are:

var s_ItemTitle = “{{Title}}“;

This is at line 59 below and

var s_ItemImage = “{{Image(ItemImageURL1)}}“;

Which is at line 60.

In between the quotes for each line you need firstly change the text {{Title}} (as shown above in red) to your eBay listing  title. For example, if you’re listing with an title called “LOVELY TOWN & COUNTRY ** WELLINGTONS”you’d pop this between the quotes so it now reads like this:


If you know how to find the URL (link) for an image then you can also update the text between the quotes for the s_ItemImage setting too, if you don’t then just set this to:

var s_ItemTitle = “”;

But if you do, pop the image URL between the quotes and Pinterest will work for you :)

Now copy and paste the entire code into your listing, on the HTML tab where you would like the buttons to appear and remember if you get stuck, let me know in the forums, I’d be happy to help you.

The Social Buttons Code for eBay Listings

Below is the code you’ll need to copy and paste for your social buttons to appear, remember to set your keywords to the title and image links as appropriate. Then revise or list an eBay to ensure it’s working, noting that it has to be live on eBay to work, in a preview screen the icons will not show.

Customised, Automatic Integrated Version

On a side note: If you are not using a third party tool or have to/get fed up of manually adding the title and image URL’s each time, it would take about ~1.5 hours for me to write a PHP version that connects to the eBay API and finds the listing title and main image so that this can be automated.

This would remove the need for you to manually add the title and images each time. Plus I’m pretty sure this could be setup to “auto add” to the top or bottom of eBay listings as well. But I don’t have those 1.5 hours right now at the time of posting to do so (and they would need to be paid for hours), so for now, use the above :) If you would an automated method, it can be done see the contact Matt page if this of interest to you.

Your Feedback

If you run into problems, let me know in the forums.

Once you’ve got it working, let me know by either leaving a comment below or a post in the forums, as you’ll agree the above code is pretty darn cool, enjoy and maybe you’d like to press the tweet or like button at the top of this page share it with your friends too?

Page Length 33% Shorter, 66% Better? – That Can’t Be Right?

You may have missed it, last Friday the homepage took a hefty re-design and was clipped by a third, but that’s worse right?


Wrong, Shorter is Better.

Shorter is BetterIf we compare the old landing page to the new landing page, size really does matter as the importance of what is being shown is increased as the number of items has decreased.

Before there were 7 core articles with longer descriptions and 6 sub articles, all arranged by date order, but not by importance to you, the user.

Now we have 3 core articles which are organised by date with larger descriptions, 7 of the most popular articles on the site to the right and one featured article of my choosing.

While this is only 3 articles less compared to the longer version, the amount of space that they take up & the ease of entry into them has increased N fold, because they’re right in front of you now.

And that’s my point, shorter is better because in this case the information that you need from the homepage is only a click away.

Your Layouts

This ports, really well to what you’re doing with your website and eBay listings. Get the critical information in front of the user ASAP and if you must have fluffy stuff (like me and my logo’s at the bottom), put them at the bottom out of the way of the main listing area, so users don’t have to scroll.

This is known as “above the fold” and “below the fold”. Everything “above the fold” is the part of the website, listing or website that the user see’s without scrolling and “below the fold” is everything below the first part of the page that the user sees.

The first part of the page AKA “above the fold” is ultra important, as that is the first part the customer sees when the page loads and is the reference point that the user comes back to, hence the action points should always be near the top and definitely in the the top 10-15% of the page.

eBay Amazon comparison

Each component of the header and top % of the page is really important, it’s like a map for a user to follow, looking at the image below for eBay & Amazon, you’ll notice that the placements are actually not that dissimilar for the home icon, breadcrumb, search, basket, product image, buy button, product options, prices, help and product sub images.

The only major difference is the layout and placement of the buying option, eBay is the middle and Amazon is to the right. Which makes me wonder, if eBay will ever try swapping these around?

The information the customer needs to know is right in front of them and the desired exit point.

In eBay & Amazon’s case it’s the buy option. Look how big both those objects are in the image above, the eBay buy button is a huge blue block and the Amazon buy box is also a huge blue box, that is no accident.

In my case on this site, it’s the register button, the registration area also being red helps, (which reminds me have you registered yet?), but I am ow wondering if I have made a mistake and I need to swap it to blue?

The New Forums – Have Your Say!

Recent Forum Posts WidgetWhile we’re on the topic of changes, you’ll see that the lower part of the homepage has been focused away from the content that I directly product in the form of articles & guides and instead focusing more heavily on  user driven content?

The forums went live last week and the messages left in the new forums  are shown on the left and the comments left on articles on the right.

I’m also developing a new widget area to show the latest forum threads, not just the replies so you we can get to the latest threads as quickly as possible.

It’s time that you have your say and while I do my best to cover as many topics as I can, together we are stronger and that’s why I need your help!

If you haven’t registered yet, the forums are now open and waiting your input. You can register here for free and a password will be emailed to you in seconds. I’m look forward to hearing from you.

And Finally….

Now you know about shorter page lengths and that “above the fold” is really important, because that is what the suer see’s first when they come to your product pages. Are your buy buttons on your website over to the right, clearly shown and easily accessible?

What is an eBay Second Chance Offer & Why are they Important to a Business?

Not such a daft question as you first think and in this article I’ll do my best to exceed what is most commonly known about eBay second chance offers and put them into context for you.

To explain this as clearly as possible lets start this with a quick story.

For the past few week’s I’ve been coaching the mother-in-law to sell a collection of items on eBay that she’s been getting ready to clear out, the first batch of 19 items went through and while only 15 of them sold, several did really, really well.

While being left to pack the items, a message pops up on Skype from mum, “What’s a second chance offer? Do I want one of those?“. So not a daft question if you were wondering what one was.


So what is an eBay Second Chance Offer anyway?

eBay Second Chance Offer

Every time you sell an auction on eBay where you have had two or more bidders on the auction, once the listing ends, you will be able to make a second chance offer to an under-bidder if you want to.

Now the latter part “if you want to” is the important part and the bit that confused granny. In Grannies case, she only had a single item for each listing and thus absolutely no need or desire to offer a second chance offer on the successful listings.

If you’re a private seller on eBay, this is very much likely to be the case for you too, so you can ignore it.

There is a but to that statement, which is… but if you have exactly the same item to sell again and you like the price(s) the under-bidders made you can offer it to them, the same is true if your original winner backs out for some reason and you can offer it to an under-bidder at their highest bid price.

Why are Second Chance Offers Important for Businesses?

In the example above, Granny really did not care about the second chance offers option, however if you are a business seller, there are circumstances where you definitely want to be using second chance offers as part of your business model.

If you have many items for sale, some or all of which are repeatable and you’re using “bid auctions” to sell your item through, then as long as you are happy with lower bid prices when then listing ends, then you can make “second chance offers” to the under-bidders and scoop some easy extra sales.

How Do You Make a Second Chance Offer?

Making a second chance offer is dead easy to do.

Regardless if you have Selling Manager, Selling Manager Pro or just plain old “My eBay”, on the left hand side of “My eBay” click on “sold” and next to listings where you can make a second chance offer to a buyer, it says “Second Chance Offer”, if you’d like to make one, then click on the link.

A screen will appear something similar to the one below:

Making an eBay Second Chance Offer

  • Select the number of available items that are exactly like the one that sold
    Note:  This is capped to 6 items
  • Select the duration you would like the offer to the buyer to last for.
    Tip: Normally I would suggest 1 day for this as it adds a real sense of urgency to the offer
  • The select one or more bidders, noting that their highest bid price is to the right
    Tip: If you lost of the item that sold and the prices are good, tick them all if would like! Also, another tip is to just be sure that you have no already sold the item in another auction to the same buyer (awkward!).
  • Hit continue at the bottom & confirm

The second chance offer or offers that you just made, will now appear in your “My eBay” section.

But unlike a normal auction where lots of people can see the item, only yourself and the potential buyer account you made that offer to can see it. Also the auction is now a “fixed price” listing which means the buyer cannot bid on the item, they only have the option just buy it at the price that was set (if they want to of course).

The person you made the offer to will either accept it or if they do not within the listing time you specified, the listing will end and cannot be repeated.

How Long do Second Chance Offer Last For?

As a seller, you can specify the duration of the second chance offer as either 1 day, 3 days, 5 days or 7 days.

One of the tips above was that if you have lots of an item that you have been listing in auctions and the under-bidder prices are acceptable, I’d personally suggest you work with 1 day listings for the second chance offers as these add urgency to the bidder and can help them convert into a buyer (yay).

It’s also worth noting that buyers can turn off second chance offer notices in their communication preferences on eBay (bummer eh?).

Can You Cancel a Second Chance Offer?

Yes, just like a normal auction/listing you can do so using the end an item early form here on eBay (you’ll need the eBay item number).

Can Second Chance Offers be Automated?

Oh yes! But it does mean you need 3rd party software.

Believe it not while the statistics may be showing that the number of auctions may be decreasing (and the number of fixed price listings increasing heavily), that does not mean that you cannot still leverage auctions on eBay to gain buyers.

As far as automating second chance offers, you of course, need to be using the auction format and have a listing that ends with more than one bidder, whose price you like and of course at a price you’re happy selling at.

You used to be able to do this in eBay’s own “Selling Manager Pro”, but they removed it from the automation preferences quite some time ago, so instead the only option to user a third party tool that allows you to set rules and send second chance offers automatically for you.

They all vary in features and functionality, here is a short list of software products that I know support the automation of second chance offers on eBay:

  • Inkfrog
  • Auctiva
  • ChannelGrabber
  • Linnworks
  • eSellerPro
  • ChannelAdvisor

There are probably far more software tools that offer the ability to make second chance offers, while this may be important to you, this is just one of many options you should consider when looking for & using 3rd party software.

Tip: You may find a video I made in an earlier article called “What is Order Aggregation & How Can it Help Your Business?” useful to give you a deeper understanding on what such software can help you with.

In Conclusion

eBay second chance offers are really straight forwards, if you’ve got more than one item in exactly the same condition, have an under-bidder on an eBay listing with a price you like you can make them an offer second to the main bidder for the listing they were bidding on, you can do when the listing ends.

You can also automate the sending of second chance offers using rules in third party tools, in combination with these, they can be an absolutely lethal strategy to gain extra sales using the eBay auction format, which is certainly far from dead.

Did you like this article, have a question or a comment or what has been your experiences with second chance offers on eBay? Let me know in the comments box below!

So How Many Orders Are “Lost” on eBay Compared to Amazon?

Item Not Received” how I bet you love that message appearing in your inbox, but how much more common is it for eBay purchases compared to Amazon purchases to go AWOL?

It’s a curious question raised numerous times now in conversation and this time around I’m going to share parts of an ongoing email conversation with a chap called Mr B.

So that they remain anonymous, Mr B obviously isn’t their real name, the quotes are though.

We’d both love to hear your experiences by leaving us a comment in the comments box at the bottom of this page.

So let’s dive in…

Mr B Says: On my Amazon store I have just passed the 2,000 orders sent mark and so I feel a reasonable figure to start drawing comparisons Item not received: on Amazon I have had exactly 2 from 2,000app. and both were for less than £5 sale price and so I’m absolutely sure genuine losses

It’s never nice to have a disappointed customer because of the delivery part of the order, but it happens. That to me seems about right, yea we all get losses, but it’s never really that high and 0.1% is tolerable and to be expected, stuff just gets lost, regardless of the carrier being used.


Mr B Says: If I was to compare this like for like with my eBay UK only sales I can often expect maybe as high as 2% I am no mathematician but I think this can be as much as 15% of my bottom line after all expenses involved in resolving.

So that’s about 20 orders per 1000 orders despatched, as the point is made above, when you factor in the extra legwork needed to solve these issues, 15% is probably quite generous, especially in a small business where there maybe only one or two members of staff. Those kind of numbers hurt.

Mr B Says: To be fare on eBay I think perhaps dishonest customers are a legacy of the old eBay the dodgy professional sellers have by and large been weeded out but the scam buyers remain and in my opinion are rather cynically protected by eBay/paypal policies as of course they still generate fees all be they completely at sellers expense.

I do mostly agree with ebay and paypal policies ultimately no customers = no sellers but ebays policy in pushing for these cases to be resolved with ought opening disputes does sadly keep the minority of dishonest customers hidden (I am sure you have also noticed item not received customers very very rarely leave feedback even after issue resolved) something I have noticed is that it is most likely the genuine lost in post customers that do leave glowing feedback on how issue was resolved.

On a side topic here, notice how Mr B refers to an “Old eBay”, this is now becoming quite common in discussions and hats off to eBay, their plodding to transform the site from its beginnings are starting to pay off in it’s sellers community.

Mr B also makes another very interesting point, if your order had been lost and the seller had been super helpful in resolving the issue for you, then why the hell would not leave them glowing feedback? His suggestion that the people who do not, probably have something to hide, while may taint the odd genuine loss, but for the best part is probably very true.


A Possible Solution?

Normally sellers have solutions to such problems already worked out and ideas on how they would tackle them if they could change the system to do so. Mr B not surprisingly, has his own ideas and it’s not bad:

Mr B Says: I feel a very simple solution would be to implement a system allowing sellers to atleast report customer has not received an item the chronic cases will be high lighted very quickly and a few prosecutions I’m sure will benefit all.

Failing that if a customer has a history of items not received perhaps a personal warning to seller that secure postage advised on an individual rather than global basis would atleast allow seller to make an informed decision before posting would be welcomed.

While we have settings in the Site Preferences under “Buyer Requirements“section of My eBay that covers some basic options:

  • Buyers without a PayPal account
  • Buyers with unpaid items recorded
  • Buyers in locations to which I don’t post
  • Buyers with policy breach reports
  • Buyers with a negative Feedback score
  • Buyers who may bid on several of my items and not pay for them
  • Buyers with no credit card on file

The only one option of these that could possibly help Mr B and you is the “Buyers with a negative Feedback score”, but since sellers are not unable to leave negative feedback on buyer accounts, the last line of defence is now gone.

With the feedback out of the loop and let’s face it the unlikely chances that eBay will tell you that a specific buyer is suspicious or has a risky address (more on this in a moment), then taking Mr B’s suggestion and adding a claims/ item not received option to the buyer requirements would be a very good addition.

Amazon LogoQuickly flipping over to Amazon for a few moments, for purchases made directly from Amazon, it’s always bemused me that why exactly the same product at very similar prices would be delivered by two different methods to two addresses within a few minutes walk of each other.

Even when queried in the past, Amazon staff are not entirely sure what causes one order to be sent via one method and another via another method, especially when you factor in a slight change of postcodes for exactly the same product.

Makes you wonder what extra processing of risk assessment Amazon has at their disposal, but that’s a topic for a different day…. So going back to Mr B.

Mr B Says: I don’t know if you have any contacts within Royal Mail? Personally I rarely make lost parcel claims at present due to time and effort involved lol but I am sure lost parcel claims specifically ebay related must be a big chunk from RM’s bottom line and so they would probably welcome and perhaps atleast partially fund needed changes at eBay

Just after receiving the OK from Mr B to use parts of our conversion, I contacted Royal Mail and they have not been back before the publishing of this article.

Pity, but what I would add is that part of the business contracts with RM, is that as part of the discount you get, is that you forfeit the ability to claim for losses. Ironically so if an order does get lost in transit, that you are actually paying RM to do that for you. Something that has driven me personally nuts in the past.

Your Feedback

Myself & Mr B would love to know what your experiences are when comparing Amazon to eBay for ‘lost’ items.

  • Do you see a difference in order losses between eBay & Amazon?
  • How much they impact you and your staff?
  • What would you change?

You can let us know in the comments box below.

Free Dynamic eBay Store Categories For eBay Listings

Important: This tool has moved to a new home at and is no longer available. If you’re looking for a self-hosted version with more control, see here.

If have been using this, then it will continue to be supported for you as I understand that it may not be possible for you to remove it from your listings easily. It’s been moved so it’s performance can be improved & extra features added in a more user-friendly way.

This is a cool little app that will show your eBay store categories easily and simply in your eBay listings without you needing to update them each time you change them.

What are Dynamic eBay Store Categories?

This really simple to use application will allow you to show your eBay store categories in your eBay listing template and style them as you desire.

This is normally paid addon to custom eBay listing template and eBay shop designs and can cost £99 or more to have it included in you custom design work.

As I found out recently, this could be the only reason why you would want to stop paying a monthly fee to a 3rd party design company just because you can’t carry your shop categories over when you leave and now you can!

The code that powers this application has been coded from scratch and directly integrated into the eBay API. The first time its run, it will take a few moments to process your eBay Store categories and then each view after, your eBay store categories load exceptionally quickly.

An Example

I’ve put an example together for you to see this in action in the link below. The example category tree is quite long, I chose this eBay ID on purpose so that you can see what it looks like over multiple levels and I will be adding the ability to just pick your top categories, level 2 categories or as in this example, all of them if you wish.

The eBay Shop categories widget will update every 24 hours automatically, if you add or remove categories from your eBay Shop then your live listings will reflect those changes within a day and you’ll never need to worry about “hard-coding” your eBay shop categories into your listing templates, to only then a few days or weeks later when you change your store categories again.

How to Create Your Dynamic eBay Store Categories

Creating your dynamic eBay store categories is dead easy to do.

Using the form below you can create a simple copy & paste line of code that you can use to show your eBay Store categories in your eBay listings and they dynamically update ever 24 hours. It’s really that simple.

If you’d like to style them to make them look pretty, I have included some custom styles lower down this page so that even if you know nothing about CSS, the sample styles will help you and it’s as easy as copy and paste and if you’re comfortable with CSS or maybe a web-designer then you’ll find the level of CSS class tags that have been included exceptionally versatile.

Steps to make your dynamic eBay categories:

  1. Enter your eBay ID into the form below
  2. Select your default eBay site
  3. Press “Create Categories”
  4. Copy and paste the HTML code into your eBay listing template
  5. Use your own CSS or one of the sample CSS styles below to make your categories look great

This Tool has Moved

This tool has moved to a new home at

Customising Your Dynamic eBay Shop Categories

This is a really simple job if you know CSS and don’t worry if you have no idea what CSS is, because I have included some copy and paste examples for you to use straight away.


If you have any custom colour requirements beyond these examples, please see this thread and I’ll update the style library for you.

Advanced Dynamic eBay Shop Categories CSS

This tool was built with designers in mind and each element that this app creates is completely controllable using standard CSS. I also elected to follow the DIV route rather than using unordered lists because they’re far easier to work with when we take multiple browsers into consideration.

If you’re new to designing templates for eBay Shops then the important tit-bit of information you need to know is that each shop category has its own ID number which looks like “2285466014”. The eBay shop categories are created in the users account here and while the users can change the sort ordering in eBay, in the public version of the dynamic eBay categories tool, the categories are sorted alphabetically.

CSS Tags

  • ID: eBayCategories
    This is the main container DIV for the dynamic eBay store categories
  • CLASS: MenuItem
    These are the top-level categories for the eBay store
  • CLASS: MenuSub1Item
  • CLASS: MenuSub2Item
    Each eBay store category has its own number/ID. Use this class to style specific eBay shop categories according to your design requirements

This tool is provided free of charge and all I ask for you to do in return is to press one of the social buttons above and/or let me know of your comments, suggestions or feedback you may have in the forums here.

Stand Alone PHP Version

Due to the feedback already received from the free version, there is now a premium standalone version available that you can host in your own web hosting and comes with more extensive controls, see here for the latest version.

Your Feedback!

This app has been coded from scratch, if you have any comments, suggestions or questions, I’d love to hear from you.

Please use the forums and I’ve created a forum thread especially for this application.

I Need Your Help – eBay Feedback Research


I need your help with a curious project I am working on.

I’m going to mine 250,000 eBay feedback comments and look for some common themes among them and see what can we learn from what’s been left so that we can make our businesses better.


Mining the Data

We take positive feedback as granted and tend to focus on only the bad side, well we would they are the ones that stick in our immediate memories.

But… what really makes buyers leave positive feedback? and crucially what can we learn by looking at a large number of feedback comments that have been left over a variety of businesses? Are there common themes, is one business excelling where another is not?

I’ve already worked out that I need to split them across users that have 3rd party software tools and ones that don’t and a good mix across different eBay categories to obtain a wide set of sample data and also no older than 6 months.

The reason why I’m curious about this project is because I’m really interested in what are the common comments left and from the sample set of data, is there such a thing as a “Perfect eBay Feedback Comment” using the top 10 or so words and if it has left in the sample set?

I’m also really curious how as a nation how polite we are using words such as “thank you” and “thanks” and what makes a buyer use emotional words like “love” and “excited”. How important delivery time is and what percentage references to “fast delivery”, “next day” and to try and apply some numbers to the words used such as “comms”, “communications” and what relationship there is between feedback comments left that use these terms for sellers that use and do not use advanced tools like CA or ESP and then to spin them against the keyword “service”.

What impact does free shipping have on feedback comments that are left, does item value change the tone of the feedback comments left and what, if any difference eTRS has between the common keywords for praise for sellers that have eTRS and sellers that do not.

Your Help

I’ve never seen this done publicly before and I’m going to build out a few theories beforehand and then test to see if they are true or not, but that’s where I need your help:

  • Is there a theme or comparison that I have not thought of above yet?
  • Is there a way of comparing the comment or the contents of the comment to another attribute like eTRS or similar that I have not thought of?
  • What do you think I’ll find?

Let me know in the comments box below:

Looking for BETA Testers – A Couple of eBay Related Widgets


I’ve been working on a couple of widgets for eBay and I’m wondering if you would be interested in using them to help me make them better before they’re released publicly.

There are a few of them as listed below and I’ll cover them in more detail:

  • Dynamic eBay Store Categories for eBay Listings
    (Now live here)
  • Dynamic Related Items Gallery
  • Terapeak Value Summaries
  • Single & Multi-variation data extraction for sales

If any of these grab your attention, the contact details are at the bottom of this article.


Dynamic eBay Store Categories

Update: This is now live see this article.

Having the eBay shop categories in your listings can be exceptionally important as part of an exit strategy to your listings. So I’ve build a dynamic categories widget that anyone can use.

What does this widget do?

This widget brings in your eBay shop categories into your eBay listing and updates every 24 hours.

A little background

eBay Shop Listing Frame

This widget has been bugging me for months and a few days ago I finally worked how it was done and wrote the code to create them for any account with an eBay Shop.

It’s fine if you have eSellerPro, a special keyword was added called “{{MenuCategoryList}}” that will bring through the eBay shop categories in your eBay listings from the template and allow you to format them (you also need to set some static information in maintenance > accounts for this to work properly).

But even that’s not the ideal solution as if you add or remove categories from your eBay Shop then you have to revise your live listings, which when you have thousands of listings can take hours to complete.

You could of course turn on the listing frame that eBay provides. This will do the same job, but it’s missing one key ability. The ability to style it as it’s outside the iframe that the listing description sits in. So that’s really only a temporary measure at best.

The part that has been bugging me is that not everyone has eSellerPro, even the keyword that they use is not ideal, plus as mentioned above the eBay listing frame is a viable alternative, but you just can’t style it using CSS and to have this as part of your eBay listing template can cost the best part of £100 from a couple of eBay design companies. Nice, but not worth £100 for that alone IMHO.

So now I’ve written a block of code that will give you the eBay shop categories dynamically, just add your eBay ID, paste into your eBay listing and it just works.

For advanced users, I’ve added ID and CLASS tags to the right sections of the category tree, you can style them however you like too. They’re cached overnight and if you add or remove categories, then they’ll be reflected the next day.

Dynamic Related Items Gallery

This also stems from a me seeing a piece of functionality a few weeks ago and putting it on my to-do list and actually getting around to coding this.

What does this do?

This will give you a scrolling related items widget that you can use in either your eBay shop or in your eBay listings and also control what is or what is not shown by shop category or keywords.

If you take a look at this eBay shop you’ll see that there are two pretty cool rotating widgets for “Best Sellers” and “New Arrivals”. A screen shot of this is below:

Related Items Widget

While best sellers and new arrivals are nice for an eBay shop, what would be much better is that such a widget would be better off in the eBay listing and that’s exactly the route I took.

I now have a dynamic related items widget that will accept:

  • No input for all the items in the shop,
  • Items from a specific eBay shop category
  • A specific keyword or set of keywords
  • Or a combination of both a shop category and keywords

Oh and they can be fully customised to your eBay shop/listing template design as shown by the live listing here and in the screen shot below:

Related Items eBay Widget

Terapeak Value Summaries

Terapeak is fab for mining one part of eBay which is sales related. But it has bugged me for months as I just can’t do the maths on the search results quick enough.

This is the first of two scripts that bend rules, hence you’ll need to read the disclaimer section further down when it comes to this and the eBay variations one below.

What does this do?

This will summarise the results page in less than a second for you and add it as summary line on the page. Thus saving you from trying to guestimate the results and give you accurate figures instantly.

I showed this to someone on Friday and they came back with an excellent suggestion (which I’ll add), which is that showing the totals and average sale price was fantastic, but they’d also like to know the market share of that keyword for each seller ID.

So next to eBay Seller ID, I’ll be adding percentage share that each Seller ID has for that specific search term. That’s exactly the reason why I’m sharing these to make them better!

A screenshot of this in action is below. Imagine you wanted to know what the total value of a specific search term(s) , the number of listings, bids, sold quantity as a total and a better idea of a ASP, you can now easily find out:

Terapeak Example

Single & Multi-Variation Data Extraction For Sales History

While we’re on the topic of Terapeak, Terapeak is excellent for working out relatively accurate sales figures for eBay listings, but the part where it falls down is that it does not report on the actual variations of a single or multi-variation listing.

That information is absolutely critical to making a buying decision based on sales history data.

Let me explain this to you with an example. I’ve made a search for “Maxi Dress” on eBay and found this item number now let’s assume that we are able to source this or a similar product.

eBay Sales History Example

eBay tells us that +1,000 of these have sold and that’s great. Terapeak will give us a total sales value for that listing, but what it does not tell us is what combinations they sell and in what velocity.

So to make an informed buying decision on the same or similar product, we need to know what has sold, in which variations, at what price and when. That kind of information can make the difference between potentially buying the wrong sizes, the wrong colours and making profit.

This will extract this for you to a CSV file, with each variation on a separate line and able to handle up to 4 variations and for a total of 100 sales. The limit of 100 sales is what is imposed by eBay from the sales history page. Buyer details are not extracted as they’re irrelevant.


The Terapeak script and the eBay extraction script both come with warnings as they both bend terms of service agreements and I’m writing this with two specific people in mind.

In both these instances a user can obtain this data by a basic copy/paste from the page and sorting it out in excel. Neither of these scripts make subsequent calls to other pages (ie: no extra page load because of their usage) and are either manipulating live data on a page or saving it in a well formatted manner for the purposes of bettering the users research activities. Also in both instances, neither are detectable as they are run client side :P

Your Feedback!

If any of these tickle your fancy, please contact me directly here and if you have any comments or suggestions on what I’ve covered above, I’d love to hear from you in the comments box below.

Two Week Update & eSellerPro to BigCommerce Integration

This post is a mainly about what I’ve been up to for the past two weeks,  but you’ll soon work out its mostly just for you :)

BigCommerceI’ve now completed the full integration of eSellerPro to the Big Commerce website platform and are on the home run of the bug finding & eyeing up further customisation to the account it’s running from.

If you’ve not heard of BigCommerce before it’s a fully hosted website solution which isn’t expensive (especially as its in USD). The more I’ve played with it, the more I like it, its straight forwards, can be designed with bespoke designs and guess what… it just works :)

Give it a whirl, here is a demo account I created which is open for the next 15 days.

With the error trapping I’ve added in the 6 hour coding bender on Saturday, if it does go tilt (which it will do sooner or later[you won’t hear that from normal developers]) it’ll be obvious where it has gone Pete-Tong and as much as I’d love to boast about a few of the ways I’ve tackled some interesting features, I’m not going to and I’m just saying its “slick”.

This is the first time I’m publicly eluding to the fact that I’ve written API connectors from eSellerPro to 3rd parties and it’s not the first, more like the 4th now. I have CubeCartOpenCart & a web based EPOS solution next on my agenda for integration projects, oh and I have a sickly fast Magento integration.

Remember I’m aware the way and what data needs to flow between such tools and as I’m a perfectly capable coder in multiple languages, this is handy as I’m not BS’d by 3rd parties and also I’m realistic with timescales and what can and cannot be done.

If you’ve got a 3rd party integration requirement to eSellerPro/another provider or alternatively you’re interested in the eSellerPro to BigCommerce integration you can contact me here.

Internet Retailing Expo 2012

This year’s event was a weird one for me, I didn’t go to visit any stands, instead I attended to meet people and frankly if they didn’t know me already I didn’t pay them any attention. Instead, I got to speak to the cool people.

I did see one presentation though, it was the team from My1stWish & eSellerPro’s Eamonn, the recording is supposed to be released this week, I’ll pop it up as a post once it’s been made public.

After refusing to pay £34 to get home 2 hours earlier late on Thursday night, I grabbed a Sub & stacked up on more caffeine and there it hit me, the sickest idea I have had in years was conceived. I cannot believe it’s never been done before and you’ll facepalm when they see the finished product. I will be pushing for it to be released with a global free option for smaller businesses, more on this in the next few months.

Advanced eBay Listing Creation Tool Pending Upgrade

This one has been a programming nightmare for me, I didn’t know what was involved in getting this working until now & if I did I wouldn’t have started it.

The IF & IFNOT logic that powers the largest multichannel businesses is about to go mainstream and I’m only a few days away from adding it to the processing core of the advanced eBay listing builder.

If the IF & IFNOT logic testing is new to you, it’s a method to programmatically work with data to make the data you input such as images and bullet points show and hide if or if not they’re entered, which means you can break the listing data away from the template design that makes the listing look “pretty”.

An example is below, so that if {{Image1}} is blank it won’t bring through the image into the template.

[[IFNOT/{{Image1}}// <img src=”{{Image1}}” /> ]]

This is a basic example, as it’s normally better to load image URL’s into a JavaScript array, however, this will be available for ALL the data entry fields and I will be providing use-case examples shortly & support in the forums.

We’re due for some tutorials as well for the tool, the more people I talk to who cannot whose business does not warrant even the first stage tools, they need a tool like this to put the efficiency in their business for both data input and presentation.

I’ve not forgotten the integration into WordPress which will allow me to offer you some heavily customised features per user including customised listing templates, account defaults and… I now have the code finished for the killer feature that is missing from nearly ALL eBay listings which isn’t even a paid for addon by design companies and guess what it’s going to be… free. More on this as soon as the artwork is completed which will be under 2 weeks.


So a quiet two weeks for blogging, but I’m doing battle with a spoon, I can’t wait to explain what that means, maybe a video this week?

I’d like to thank those who have registered for the forums, if you haven’t yet, its free and you can register here and as you’ll see by the couple of recent threads, you’ll get quality replies back (amongst my gibberish :) ), see you there?